Orchestrating the Super Bowl

Technology is being turned on its head to enhance the full Super Bowl in stadium experience.

toned low angle view of a football player catching the ball stk17248spo
Credit: Thinkstock

Since we are right on the heels of the Super Bowl, it's a great time to share how NFL is orchestrating technology specifically for the biggest game of the season.

I’ve been to two NFL stadiums since Extreme Networks has become the official Wi-Fi provider of the NFL and let me tell you ---that orchestration isn’t easy.

The highlight and orchestration of sports and technology is intriguing to me. Why–you ask? Many times we are so focused on one area (in my case government) that it is good to step outside of your circle and listen to what others are doing. It is the idea that being a true technologist means transcending your certain title or industry, and being able to look across for ideas that relate.

Last year, I had the joy of attending a Mobility Summit with the Philadelphia Eagles and at the beginning of this year I attended the CIO Summit with the Seattle Seahawks. The Eagles and Seahawks are doing amazing things with technology in their stadium. In fact, the NFL as a whole is doing a lot in terms of customer engagement from a technology perspective. I am hearing lots of buzz about the ability to order food from your seat using your device and even the possibility of checking wait times for the bathroom!

They are expanding service delivery and raising the bar that may potentially make it quite difficult for those outside of sports and entertainment to keep up.

So … how are they orchestrating the Super Bowl? Here is what I know --

Wi-Fi Coaches will be on hand at the stadium to help users connect and enjoy the benefits of the Super Bowl XLIX Game Day App. These coaches will interact with the fans in the stadium (on the concourse and plaza) to ensure they are able to enjoy the full experience.

They will be monitoring social media and utilizing collaboration tools to help fans connect to the Live Super Bowl Application. The connection allows for full access to featured game related content as well as replays. Last year's Super Bowl saw 13,500 of the 82,529 fans connecting their devices to the in-stadium Wi-Fi network. I expect to see this percentage elevate as awareness this year may have increased. More than 90,000 photos were uploaded last year to Instagram using that W-Fi connection during the game.  That averages to more than five photos per second.  

Here is the kicker. The key to orchestrating the Super Bowl is that it is not just about the device and making sure those users can access Wi-Fi. Further than that, it is about the analytics and big data that they are using to continuously enhance the user experience. They monitor and measure fan experience during the game. Just two weeks ago, during the Seahawks versus Packers game, 2.7 terabytes of data was processed using the in-stadium Wi-Fi network.

In a comment to Extreme NetworksMichelle McKenna-Doyle, CIO, NFL said: "We strive to deliver the best connected experience for fans at games. With advanced analytics capabilities, we can analyze how fans are interacting with the network and leverage those insights to enhance the game day experience. The Wi-Fi Coach Program also adds an important layer of support for fans so they have high quality and seamless connectivity during the game."

For those technologists out there -- as you go into the stadium to enjoy the Super Bowl -- relish in the fan experience and then think, "What am I doing for my own fans?" Those fans can be your customers, your stakeholders, or those that you are helping on a help desk call. Technologically, how are you enhancing their experience?

On a side note: I’d love to see a commercial where a Wi-Fi Coach jumps into my living room to help me with my fan experience! HAHAHA! Wouldn’t that be fun?

Disclosure: I am not employed or in any way affiliated with Extreme Networks or the NFL.

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