Connecting people is one of the smartest aspects of a Smart City, especially when it comes to providing Wi-Fi connectivity to tens of thousands of people at public gatherings such as football matches. This high-density wireless connectivity was not possible a few years ago, and now football venues across Europe are connecting up. Connecting people around a shared event showcases the benefits of Smart City connectivity — for both the people attending the event and the event’s organizers.
Among the first connected venues is Amsterdam Arena (ArenA), home of the famous Ajax football club. Huawei set up this Wi-Fi system as one of many Smart City projects in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam Smart City (ASC) is a collaboration platform involving companies, governments, stadiums, educational institutions, and the people of Amsterdam. It is a European front-runner in implementing Smart City capabilities. Other Smart Cities such as Berlin, London, Vienna, and Barcelona have created their own Smart City ecosystems to support projects that benefit their citizens and local businesses, as well as improving the efficiency of city services.
In six years ASC has grown to include more than 100 partner enterprises, which are involved in more than 75 innovative projects. Huawei is an official technology partner of Ajax Amsterdam and, more broadly, with the city of Amsterdam.
Starting in 2015, Ajax supporters in ArenA can use the stadium’s high-density Wi-Fi network free-of-charge. Edwin van der Sar, Ajax Chief Marketing Officer and legendary Dutch goalkeeper, observed that “Huawei is an innovative company, and their technology solution will enable us to deliver free Wi-Fi to all our fans so they can have the best football experience, for instance, by directly sharing special moments during the match with friends.”
Bundesliga football club FC Schalke 04 also has a high-density Wi-Fi solution from Huawei in the club’s Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Alexander Jobst, member of the Executive Board of Schalke 04, believes that this Wi-Fi network takes the comfort level of their supporters to the next level as well as furthering the club’s business goals. “Nowadays fans want exclusive information,” says Jobst. “Think about getting the lineup of the team via Wi-Fi just minutes prior to the match. Or ordering in the arena a signed T-shirt of your favourite player just after he scored the winning goal.”
Earlier this year Sport Lisboa e Benfica signed on to an official technological partnership with Huawei for the next two years. Huawei will be working with Benfica to enhance the fans’ experience and explore innovation opportunities. Domingos Soares de Oliveira, CEO of SL Benfica, said, “The fan experience is one of our top priorities. We are very pleased to be able to provide our members and fans with high-speed Wi-Fi in the near future. We will do that without moving the focus from the most important thing: the match on the pitch. Moreover, I am sure that we are starting a long and fruitful relationship with Huawei, one of the leading technological companies in the world.”
A wide variety of intelligent solutions will be featured at the Smart City Conference, starting on June 2, 2015 in Amsterdam. Mayor Eberhard van der Laan, one of the speakers at this event, said, “I believe Amsterdam is a good partner for the technology solutions of Huawei.” He believes that using the Smart City strategy and Huawei technology in particular “is an important step to make the city safer, more energy efficient, and more accessible.”