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Today’s live sports experience is like no other

We’re down to the Final Four. And although the only team left in my bracket is Michigan, Louisville, Syracuse, Michigan and Wichita State are going to deliver incredible basketball on-court this weekend.  For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been glued to my TV, NCAA March Madness App and my iPad to stay on top of the latest action. This weekend I plan to do the same, but I only wish I was going there in person, because the live experience, today, is like no other.

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Georgia Dome (courtesy PBS)

Fans from around the country that will be at the Georgia Dome will forever remember the experience of being there, and the beauty, this time around, is that they will be able to connect with family, friends, and people around the world live as they share their experience with photos, video, and interactions through any social media channel. With Cisco’s innovative Connected Stadium Wi-Fi, which was designed carefully for this venue, and implemented by our partner CDW, we are making the next-generation fan experience possible during this year’s Final Four.

Fan expectations are greater than ever, mandating a mobile, immersive, personalized and social experience that is fueled by being connected in new ways, to more content, to more people, and to more things or devices.

Cisco’s mission is to continue to “Connect the Unconnected.”  Fans across the sports and entertainment world are now able to experience this in a stadium near them, not just at the Final Four. Our technology powers the NBA and MLB data centers, allowing fans to consume video instantaneously, whether they are at home or on-the-go. Around the world in venues such as Estadio Santiago Bernabeu (home of Real Madrid) fans can tap into the high-density Wi-Fi network, and at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, fans can use the latest mobile video solution ­Cisco StadiumVision Mobile, which shows different camera angles of the action on and off the court.  Many other creative apps are being discussed around the world with our team of experts.

And this is just the beginning. It’s all part of the Internet of Things.  As as we look ahead to a not too distant future, the possibilities that the Internet of Everything will bring for sports teams, leagues, venues and fans are endless. We are now working on the convergence of data ­- wearable clothing that informs coaches about a player’s fitness level during the game.  Another development in the industry we’ve been asked to look into is when ­players take a pill that allows for immediate analysis of injuries by team doctors.  And lastly, we are looking into connecting ‘things’, such as balls, bats, pucks, and more to deliver real-time stats to fans about how far a ball was hit, how hard a puck was shot, or how fast a player ran. All of these possibilities will continually drive the transformation of sport and Cisco is leading the way in the market.

Cisco will be at the center of these opportunities, because our intelligent networks will continue to connect the unconnected elements in sports and live events, and in turn, create more real-time experiences. We are doing it today, and we will be doing it in the future. Tomorrow Starts Here.

 

 

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NBA Gets a Slam Dunk with Cisco TelePresence

Telepresence is travelling outside of the boardroom and onto the basketball court—not only changing how the NBA conducts business, but also how its fans consume sports information.

Similar to the transformation happening in the workplace, the rise of mobile devices and online access is changing how we experience and interact with sporting events. Attuned to these changes, the NBA is committed to collaboration technologies--like Cisco TelePresence and WebEx--to enable new forms of effectiveness and innovation, while positively transforming the fan experience. And they are making an impact; NBA TV had its highest viewership ever during the 2011-12 season, and NBA.com and its team sites already have more than 140 million video streams this season.

How’d they do it? By providing fans with the best experience possible and creating compelling content. Each week, NBA TV communicates with sports analysts, journalists, experts, and players via telepresence, allowing them to bring fans the latest news and updates from around the league. These video interviews are then loaded to NBA.com for fans to view on demand. Read More »

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Connectivity Is Like Air – It Changes Everything

As I stood in London today in the O2, one of the 2012 London Olympic venues and one of the great arenas of the world, I was in the middle of the Cisco Sports & Entertainment Global Innovation Summit, the third annual gathering of hundreds of sports and entertainment executives from around the globe.

Executives from teams such as Real Madrid, venues like Eden Park (that have managed global events like the Rugby World Cup) and Wembley Stadium, arena/stadium management groups like AEG, and so many more were here to discuss, share and plan how technology will shape the future of sports, and most importantly how it will impact their interactions with their ecosystem: media, sponsors, advertisers, and at the heart of it all “the fans.”

A central aspect of those discussions was about live connectivity. It is the starting point, the origination, the alpha moment, also considered AIR for a fan. This animated video explains simplistically how connectivity changes everything.

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