Westpac Stadium gets tech overhaul

Published on the 20/04/2017 | Written by Newsdesk

westpac stadium tech

Will also need name overhaul if SBW is to play there…

The march of digitisation (or as we have taken to calling it, information technology) continues, as Wellington’s Westpac Stadium receives a tech infrastructure overhaul which should help fans spend more time Tweeting, Facebooking and Instagramming that they do on watching the match taking place right in front of them.

In a statement, Spark said it has joined Westpac Stadium as official technology partner, kicking off its association by winning the initial groundwork of a stadium-wide technology upgrade.

The upgrade, said Spark, is part of the stadium’s revamp, in which it is redesigning not only the spaces visitors enter but also the broader experiences they have before, during and after attending an event.

Stadium Chief Executive Shane Harmon said connectivity is important for fans. “Their phone is part of any game day experience, whether sharing a moment via social media or looking up information related to the event, and this project will take that to a whole new level.”

Spark will be using Huawei gear to install high density WiFi through all areas of the stadium. Huawei has delivered similar upgrades for Borussia Dortmund in Germany and has handled the infrastructure ahead of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

The Westpac Stadium upgrade will see 24km of new cabling laid, along with the installation of around 300 access points. The entire seating area is being covered by 350 directional antennas, allowing up to 20,000 people to connect to the WiFi concurrently, supported by a 20 Gb/second fibre backbone running around the stadium. The rollout is expected to be completed in July.

With partner Eyemagnet, Spark will also be delivering internet protocol television (IPTV) and content management to the WiFi services. The company said the upgrades will ‘provide the foundation for a more fully-fledged fan experience, which Westpac Stadium plans to deliver over the next year’.

Spark’s enterprise commercial GM Vanessa Sorenson said it went up against global companies to be Westpac Stadium’s official technology partner. “For us the biggest driver was the opportunity to help craft awesome experiences for stadium-goers. We’ve seen connected technologies used in amazing ways to enhance stadium experiences overseas, so we’re thrilled now to be involved in bringing this to Wellington.”

Call us old fashioned, but being glued to a smartphone isn’t the best way to enjoy a live game of rugby, cricket or soccer. But being able to make a call in a packed stadium surely has its merits.

And with his recent principled stance against the interest charges of his banking sponsors, we’re just going to venture that it’s going to take more than a tech upgrade to get Sonny Bill Williams to kick the pig’s bladder around in Westpac Stadium (although fortunately, the traditional pig’s bladder is omitted from modern rugby balls).

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