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Hi-Tech Communications Score at Super Bowl XLII

In light of the Patriots perfect season and the Giants string of playoff upsets, Sundays Super Bowl should be a particularly interesting one.

But for those not content occupying themselves by watching what looks to be a riveting game from their sofas while eating Doritos and five-layer dip, there are a variety of high-tech options to enhance their consumption of this special sporting event. At the same time, new communications technology will come into play behind the scenes on a number of fronts at Super Bowl XLII.

On the consumer side, a company called Jacked.com, which provides a Webtop publishing platform designed to operate with broadcast media, recently launched new features on its SportsTop product that will provide an interactive experience for millions of viewers tuned in to the big game.

The Jacked platform monitors the in-game broadcast, publishing relevant content to users in real time such as player profiles, stats, photos and history. During the game, consumers can log on to the Jacked.com dashboard and chose from a total of 16 widgets that they can personalize according to their tastes and interests. For example, the video widget uses Jacked’s Searchcasting technology to look for the latest and greatest team and player videos for the game that is currently being broadcast. And a search function allows users to search for specific videos within the widget.

And in Rochester, N.Y., Verizon Wireless has expanded its V CAST Mobile TV service to give local residents the ability to watch the Super Bowl, among other programming, live on select mobile TV-enabled handsets. 

As for the infrastructure at the Arizona Cardinals stadium in Glendale, Ariz., where the Super Bowl will take place, that includes an IP-based converged voice/data network allowing for wired or wireless (cellular and Wi-Fi) communications operated by Insight and powered by Cisco Systems gear. This is one of the first pure IP stadiums in sports, according to Insight. The network, which the company says will stretch from the Cardinals Tempe training complex to the Flagstaff training camp site to the stadium in Glendale, supports building management systems including access control, life safety, environmental control, point of sale, and traditional IP voice and data services.

More than 1,000 IP phones with advanced features such as videoconferencing are attached to the network as are more than 700 Sony high-def plasma TVs and Philips CRT TVs, which will present advertising and entertainment throughout the venue.

Also at the stadium, GPS/wireless tracking devices will be utilized to monitor, track, and manage security personnel in real-time via the Internet, which is expected to expedite up security incident response times. The devices are called the GuardTrax SFL (Security Force Locator) and are supplied by NovaTracker.

It gives security supervisors and managers a virtual window from which they can view the activities of their roaming security personnel inside and out the stadium in real-time all from the confines of the security operations center or anywhere in the world, for that matter, explained Mike Petty, senior vice president of sales, GuardTrax division, for  NovaTracker. Rather than try to talk over thousands of screaming fans, a security officer will punch in a simple three-digit incident code which will in seconds notify supervisors of an EMS emergency, fan altercation, or any one of 23 different incidents relating to security issues. In the case of a fan having a heart attack for example, saving minutes could save a life.

In addition to the officer-initiated or keyed incident reporting, the GuardTrax SFL is equipped with a motion sensor that will report if the device has had no motion for a predetermined amount of time. If something happens to security personnel holding a device, the security operations center will be alerted.

There certainly wont be any guards sleeping at this game, thats for sure, but not all assignments are as exciting as this one, Petty added.


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