EE has committed to transforming Wembley into the world’s most connected stadium, which includes installing the fastest commercial mobile data network in the world in the stadium by 2015, along with a whole range of other technological innovations.
The partnership between EE and Wembley Stadium was announced in February and the leading 4G network has already begun upgrading the network at the stadium. It has increased 3G and 4G capacity to provide consistently fast speeds even on event days and to ensure that visitors to the stadium can stream live from sports channels as well as uploading to social networks. This increased capacity will also make voice calls and texts more reliable so visitors can communicate within the stadium.
Next year EE’s goals are to continue its investment in Wi-Fi and 4G so that every smartphone in the stadium can get a connection, regardless of network provider. EE will be launching the 300Mbps ‘LTE-Advanced’ network at the venue as well as trialling speeds of up to 400Mbps in an attempt to make Wembley the world’s fastest stadium.
According to Fotis Karonis, CTO at EE, said: “Since we announced this historic partnership six months ago, customers using the network at Wembley have already uploaded the equivalent of 850,000 selfies, and streamed 400,000 goal replays. We’ve added enough capacity to connect every visitor that walks through the gates, and we’re continuing to invest – more 3G, more 4G, Superfast WiFi and the capability to launch a multi-operator 4G service, supporting all the networks, means everyone with a smartphone can be connected at Wembley.”
Wembley Stadium’s interactive arch
The iconic arch at Wembley Stadium is another feature in EE’s plans. A specialist interactive lighting system has been installed that consists of 228 large-scale LED floodlights. These can create an exhaustive range of colour combinations including EE’s signature aqua green. Fans at the stadium will be able to control the light show with social media sentiment via their mobile devices, and it will also respond to crowd noise and significant moments such as goals. This will make it the digital heartbeat of stadium events.
Other key aspects of the EE and Wembley Stadium partnership include:
- An official Wembley app which was updated and launched in time for England’s Euro qualifier against San Marino yesterday. As well as a live arch cam function to allow users to view the arch, the app features a dynamic news feed, an event-day playlist to help fans get in the mood for the event, the ability to message the big screen, and the potential to win a seat upgrade.
- Contactless payment which is being trialled at the stadium this year. EE and Wembley hope that 50% of all payments within the stadium will be contactless by 2017 – whether they are for tickets or drinks and snacks – and are currently installing technology to allow mobile payments from EE’s Cash on Tap service as well as other major device payment services.
According to Roger Maslin, Managing Director at Wembley National Stadium Ltd, “Technology is changing the way that people enjoy the events at Wembley Stadium – how they get here, how they get in, how they buy drinks and snacks, and how they share their experiences with friends and family. Wembley and EE have a shared ambition to use technology to make this stadium the best fan experience anywhere in the world – that’s about being the most connected stadium, and integrating mobile into everything people do here.”