“We like partners that drive that end-to-end connectivity solution, and that’s what Carousel brings to the table,” John Brams, director, sports and entertainment at Extreme, told us.
And that’s why when executives at Gillette Stadium, home to the NFL’s New England Patriots, discussed an upgrade to the initial Extreme network that the vendor installed by itself in 2012, Extreme asked to bring in a partner (Carousel) that could deliver the end-to-end solution set, including the services and technology. Carousel served as integrator, delivered professional services, setup, procurement and project management, overseeing the numerous subcontractors.
You don’t have to be a Patriots fan – or a football fan at all – to enjoy learning about the technological advancements that these companies have made on a very large scale. Click through our gallery for some cool pictures from Tom Brady’s workplace.
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The almost 70,000 seat NFL Gillette Stadium, home to the 5-time Super Bowl champions, the New England Patriots, got a recent Wi-Fi and stadium customer experience upgrade with the help of Extreme Network and partner Carousel Industries.
In 2012, the first WIFI network was installed at Gillette Stadium by Enterasys Networks (acquired for $180 million by Extreme in 2013) and in 2016 an ExtremeWireless upgrade got underway - the first in-stadium Wave 2, wireless implementation - that tripled the number of access points (APs) from about 350 to more than 1,100, installed both under the seats as well as overhead with over 30 miles of copper cabling.
Today, Extreme is in about one-third of all NFL stadiums. The facilities also use Extreme Analytics to capture network data for analysis and reporting. Carousel also built a practice around stadiums a few years ago.
The AFC Championship Game last year ranked as one of the top five events, worldwide, for bandwidth utilization, passing more than 5 TB of data on a marginal weather day. There were 30,000 concurrent users, out of a total 70,000 attendees. For fans, Wi-Fi is like running water — it’s a utility that they expect to have.Gillette has about 16 Extreme Networks Wi-Fi coaches working the stadium during events to help fans with the app and with the Wi-Fi, taking digital access to the next level for the gameday experience. The Wi-Fi coach concept began in 2012.
Extreme and Carousel also worked together on Wi-Fi projects at New Era Field (home to the Buffalo Bills) and KeyBank Center, where the Buffalo Sabres play.
"We both view these projects the same way. We look at it as a proof point ... if we can solve connectivity here and do projects at this scale, we feel very comfortable if we go into a hospital or go into higher-education customers. We can apply technology and best practices that we’ve learned along the way,” said John Brams, director, sports and entertainment, at Extreme.
The two partners recently worked on the New York Giants' and New York Jets' practice facilities. Carousel also does work with college Division I sports facilities, trying to offer a similar fan experience.
If you're a Falcons fan, this is probably time to turn away. Extreme Networks was in Houston with the Patriots at Super Bowl LI. Providing both Wi-Fi and analytics at the big game, the vendor observed what was going on with social media during the last two minutes, prior to the Patriots tying things up. The graph laid over the screen represents Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter usage and bandwidth.As a note of interest, the busiest use of social media during the entire game was at kickoff of overtime, with a sustained 6GB of outbound Internet traffic — halftime is traditionally busiest network time for the NFL. Additionally, Super Bowl LI was the most connected event ever, with close to 11TB of data exchanged on the network.
About 100 CIOs and CMOs were invited to join Extreme Networks and Carousel Industries to hear about network mobility across industries and to listen to Crawford Del Prete, chief research officer at IDC, talk about the evolution of information technology.
Del Prete pointed out three chapters of the "Third Platform."
On top of the Third Platform are six technologies that will flourish: the Internet of Things (IoT); robotics; next-generation security; cognitive systems; augmented and virtual reality; and 3D printing. The Third Platform is enabling these technologies, and these six will ultimately transform industries, IDC says.
“For our entire lives technology was used to take cost out of organizations, addressing horizontal problems across industries. Now you’re living in an amazing time, because now technology can be used to create a different experience in retail than what you get in health care, etc," Del Prete told the audience. Vertical industries are being redefined.
A panel of CIOs discussed the topic, "Digital Business Disruption is No Longer a Nicety, It’s a Necessity." Panelists included: Bob Hartland, director, IT and networking services at Baylor University; Fred Kirsch, publisher and vice president of content for the New England Patriots; and Joe Marinello, CIO at Kean University. Del Prete was the panel moderator.For Pats fans, Kirsch talked about which technologies are interesting and coming down the pike to change the customer experience.