Cloud powers fan experiences at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium

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Mercedes-Benz StadiumA sports stadium is a special place for a fan.

At one time, stadiums may have simply been considered a place to watch a game, but now, fans expect more. They want immersive, interactive experiences that make them feel like they’re part of the action. They want to be able to access the necessities such as parking, managing tickets, finding seats, buying concessions, all with just one click.

Arthur Blank, owner of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons team and Major League Soccer’s Atlanta United Football Club, wanted to create a new kind of stadium. So Arthur M. Blank Sports and Entertainment, the company that manages the stadium for both teams, worked with IBM to use design thinking to map out how to create the ultimate fan experience at every touchpoint.

The result is Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which opens later this month. The stadium will be the go-to place for technologically savvy fans, with a fully integrated IT system, Internet of Things (IoT) technology and a suite of three fan experience applications built by IBM Services and delivered and hosted on IBM Cloud.

The Falcons and United each have their own fan applications, and there’s another application for other Mercedes-Benz events.

The apps include Watson Content Automation to personalize notifications and alerts fans receive, and offer exclusive content such as articles, videos, photo galleries, player statistics, and more. They also include functionality to buy and sell tickets, pay in advance for parking in guaranteed spots, find one’s way around the stadium, rate and review points of interest, find transit options, and even learn about stadium policies and activities through a mobile concierge chatbot.

The Falcons and United are the first sports teams to use the IBM 360/365 platform. Each app is designed to be a constant companion for each team’s fan base.

In addition to hosting the new fan experience applications, the IBM Cloud is also hosting critical operational applications for the stadium to ensure fans have a consistent, high-quality game day experience. Local and offsite back-up to the IBM Cloud is provided by IBM Spectrum Protect Suite, which will store as much as 50 terabytes of data, primarily the enormous 4K video files that are used for the Halo Board.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium uses a single, high-speed, integrated network to deliver content to more than 70,000 fans and give them the ability to create their own via social media. The stadium has a network of more than 15,000 Ethernet ports and 1,700 Wi-Fi access points, which operate via nearly 4,000 miles of fiber optic cables. IoT plays a role in many of the stadium’s day-to-day operations, including cameras, sound, security, and even lighting in hallways and corridors.

While giving fans more enjoyable game experiences, the stadium’s integrated network also provides valuable data for Arthur M. Blank Sports and Entertainment, as well as the teams. By collecting and analyzing customer data, the organizations can further improve fan experiences.

When the clock runs out and the game is over, fans will leave their seats at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, but with the technology available to them year-round, they won’t have to be far from the action.

Learn more about cloud and IoT at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

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