Internet of Things and Entertainment - The Smart Arena

Charlie Key
Charlie Key | 3 minute read

We all love our live entertainment. From sporting events to music concerts to monster truck rallies, arenas and stadiums entertain of tens of thousands of visitors day in and day out in an industry that has expanded to over $5 billion in North America alone. Yet visitor safety and customer experience are set to improve dramatically as venues begin to adopt new technology that allows a more connected experience.

Music concert arena with a large crowd as an Internet of Things (IoT) Smart Arena example.The living room couch may no longer be the “best seat in the house.” Instead, the game or the concert could be best experienced with the wealth of information in the palm of your hand. Here's just a few of the ways entertainment venues are looking to wow visitors by embracing connected devices and the Internet of Things.

Enhancing the Fan Experience With Smart Sports

Sensors are already starting to be placed in players’ equipment to track location, speed, and impact in a way that avoids inhibiting the players' mobility and movement. The National Football League (NFL) is currently experimenting with this concept.

The sensors that are being tested send out wireless signals that are picked up by receivers located around the stadium. The receivers collect and aggregate the data for each player and store the big data in the cloud. From there, the fans can see detailed stats about players’ movements whenever they watch a replay of their favorite players. This could also theoretically be applied in the equipment of hockey players since they use similar padding. In sports where protection is more minimal like soccer and baseball, sensors can be placed in cleats.

With the broader stadium WiFi network, the stadium operators themselves could also better serve the fans in terms of convenience and security. Fans can keep track of wait times for cues at concessions and restrooms. This not only makes for a better experience, it also leads to higher concessions for the venue due to less time standing in line and more purchasing food and drinks.

Creating a Wow for Concert Goers

Chicago Music Fest with a large crowd as an Internet of Things (IoT) Smart Arena example.The same convenience and security services that can be used for sports events could also be used at concerts within stadiums and arenas. In addition to that, the Internet of Things can turn concerts into amazing experiences. For example, if you are far away from the main stage, tech company VideoStitch enables GoPro cameras to live stream a concert. A user could use the WiFi network of the stadium to access the stream and watch a close-up of their favorite artists on their mobile device.

The promise of the IoT has even caught the attention of Taylor Swift in a recent concert. The concert-goers received glow-in-the-dark wristbands upon entry. The wristbands used wireless technology to glow a certain color according to the song sung by Swift. Wristbands built by French company Lucie Labs change color and flicker in accordance with the user’s movement and the music. This wearable technology could be especially useful for electronic music concerts that are characterized by light shows and glow-in-the-dark clothing.

The Future is Limitless

While still in the beginning stages, the adoption of the Internet of Things in stadiums and arenas isn't far away. Sensors and devices are currently being tested, and the viability of the solutions is very promising. Most stadiums are not yet equipped to provide WiFi to tens of thousands of users at the same time. Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA has been recognized bringing the IoT to its fans.

Someday, the technology may become the key to encouraging sports and music fans alike to turn off their laptops, get off the couch, and spend an afternoon or a night out with friends and family.

Have ideas on how to change the future of entertainment? Let us know in the comments.