The 2012 London Olympic Games provided one of the most connected global experiences ever. Myriad streams of content were available on TV and online, not to mention on multiple devices, including smartphones and tablets. I am in awe of the incredible performances by athletes, how smoothly everything went for operators, and of course how dynamic all the venues were for sport.
As the official network infrastructure provider for the London Olympics and Paralympic Games, it was a monumental accomplishment for Cisco to aid in making this the most connected Games in history.
But Cisco isn’t finished innovating and creating new ways to enhance the viewing experience for future local and large-scale sporting events, such as the Olympics and the World Cup. Just weeks before the Olympic Games, the Cisco Sports & Entertainment Solutions group hosted its Global Innovation Summit with industry leader AEG, the third annual gathering of hundreds of sports and entertainment executives from around the globe.
The latest trends are outlined in the video below that opened the Summit, where two of the leading CIO’s in football, and sport in general, Enrique Uriel (Real Madrid) and Asim Pasha (Sporting Kansas City) share how they are using Cisco’s Connected Stadium solutions, StadiumVision and Connected Stadium Wi-Fi, to bring connectivity to the palm of fans hands and allow them to interact.
As Nick Reynolds, Senior Principal and a Director of the London office of Populous, stated during his time at the Summit, “The desire to interact socially is inherent in all of us. There are aspects of that desire that are a “want” but mainly it is a true need.” While he was mainly talking about the desire to interact in person, it gets at the innate desire to interact online, and specifically through our mobile devices, which will exceed the world’s population by the end of 2012 (Cisco VNI Forecast).
Take a look at these photos below, which Glenn Lovett, Managing Director, Octagon Worldwide Sports and Entertainment, shared during his presentation at the Summit. The first is from when Pete Rose collected his 3,000 career hit in 1978.
The next is from when Derek Jeter achieved that milestone last year.
What is the most glaring difference? Look at the number of fans taking photos. A number of them are capturing that moment in time with their mobile device. Their natural next step would be share that photo with friends, family and others through some type of social media vehicle – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or others. We know this because research shows that scores of fans bring their phone to the event and desire to share via social media channels. Those numbers will almost surely rise in the future.
At the conclusion of the Summit, Tim Reddish, the Chairman of the British Paralympic Association and a board member of LOCOG, the organizing committee for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, delivered the final remarks. As a visually-impaired athlete he captured more than 22 gold medals at the Paralympics and other International competitions. His presentation was incredibly motivating, and one of his remarks really hit home for me – “sustaining is standing still.” I know this struck a nerve with numerous other executives at the Summit as well. All of them, every single one, recognize that they have an evolving fan base who is demanding to be more than just spectators.
Today more than ever sustaining is not good enough. At Cisco we are working with leading customers, like those mentioned above, and other organizations to constantly develop new technology for sports and entertainment venues that assist in driving new forms of revenue, systematically change their business model, and deliver solutions that impact fans now and in the future.