Tottenham Hotspur Football Club has selected Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) as its IT networking and wireless infrastructure partner for the club's new stadium, which is scheduled to open in 2018.
The stadium, set to be the largest in London with a capacity of 61,559, will be equipped with HPE Aruba's networking products, with support from HPE's Pointnext services organisation.
In a briefing with V3, Tottenham Hotspur FC's head of technology, Sanjeev Katwa explained that the football club chose HPE "because of its capabilities" after going through "a rigorous selection process with HPE and other businesses in which HPE came up trumps every time".
Another reason HPE was selected, according to Katwa, was because of its numerous partners - some of which Tottenham were already working with and others that it wanted to bring into its ecosystem. HPE partners that will be working with Tottenham Hotspure include the likes of Deloitte, Citrix and Splunk.
The technical lowdown
Katwa said that the club was focused on changing the customer experience and that meant that it needed a foundation of infrastructure that enabled the stadium to be scalable, resilient and secure.
"Scalability of what we want to do is very important because we're planning infrastructure here that isn't just for year one or day one, it's about how you scale upwards as time goes on," he explained.
Katwa said that HPE was involved in a number of different areas including the Wi-Fi solution, the operation of CCTV and control systems, as well as the IP-based network that TVs and sound systems are based on.
The club will kick off by installing what Eugene Berger, chief technologist, HPE Aruba, UK&I called the foundation.
"I'm talking about the physical access points, the controllers, and all of the services required to provide operational technology in the stadium - things like Point of Sale (PoS), CCTVs that we take for granted usually, we're taking very seriously," he said.
Berger explained that the network had a built in firewall, which enabled the club to securely look at who is accessing the network, what device they're using, what apps they're currently using and the location they're in. This data could be useful for third-party applications, which will be considered at a later date.
So how does Tottenham's new stadium match up to technology in other stadia?
According to Katwa, there were only one or two football clubs in the UK that have invested a meaningful amount into Wi-Fi within their stadiums - but even those "were not really any good".
He said that his team went to the US to look at what HPE Aruba had accomplished in some of the stadia there to get a better picture of what was possible, because unlike in Europe, US stadia are built with connectivity as a default.
Katwa's suggestion that Tottenham Hotspur's new stadium would be better than anything else in the UK or in Europe in regards to connectivity may have something to do with the fact that he, as head of technology, has accountability for the brand.
He explained that only a few football clubs have put technology executives at the top.
However, he said that he meets up with five or six IT leaders or CIOs from football clubs to discuss IT. They mainly talk about the difficulties in procuring solutions and share ideas about technology.
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