Zeetta: The networking specialists for stadiums

As Australia and the rest of the world are hoping to allow more fans to regularly games in the future, network partners like Zeetta can shoulder the load that comes with managing 5G/WiFi connections.

Zeetta Networks offer high-quality software so that organisations can monitor, control and operate their networks in a flexible and cost-effective manner. In essence, this optimises their communication potential to fans (the customer), delivering a better experience for all.

Zeetta are a leading provider of network solutions, capable of deploying the right technology for any stadiums looking to harness the potential of mobile usage in particular, where communications from a club can be sent direct to a person’s smartphone.

Their products centre around three key pillars:

Visualise: Paints the picture of a network, giving a better indication of the condition of the network with Zeetta’s multi-vendor, multi-technology, multi-site monitoring.

Optimise: Simplifies network operations, eliminates human error and reduces time spend to create and manage network services by up to 90%, ensuring that data is not only quick but accurate.

Automate: Gives businesses the power to make network configurations in a timely manner, with fast on-demand responses able to make sure that all objectives are met.

Backed by a “service-centric” network design approach, Zeetta is versatile in their capabilities – orchestrating their service across mixed LAN, Wireless LAN and cellular LTE/5G technologies with proven distribution in stadia, multi-purpose venues, events, ports and factories.

One of the highlights among Zeetta’s case studies is the creation of a programmable stadium. Ashton Gate Stadium (AGS) – home to Bristol City FC and Bristol Bears RFC.

Regarded as the largest stadium in South-West England with a capacity of 27,000, AGS features state-of-the-art conference facilities and is a major exhibition and hospitality venue for the area.

The stadium offers more than just hosting football matches during England’s winter months, with AGS regularly holding summer concerts for major artists which allows several hundreds of thousands more fans to attend, boosting the stadium capacity to more than 34,000.

For a 24/7 multi-purpose venue that needs to cater for a variety of people, it comes with a complex network and service environment supporting sports, hospitality, conferences and large-scale events.

Upon linking up with AGS, Zeetta identified that it is a complex enterprise environment. The stadium’s public Wi-Fi network on its own is a multi-vendor network with more than 300 network elements and is designed to support crowds of high densities.

There have been a couple of access points added from two vendors located in different areas. A high-density Wi-Fi installation from Ruckus is found in the bowl, while Edgecore access points have been installed in hospitality areas and the concourse. By placing these vendors in specific areas that are easily identified, this creates a better efficiency and up to a 30% reduction in CAPEX (the costs associated with setting these connections up).

With the ability of the network to support a range of services, it can extend to electronic point-of-sale (ePOS) terminals in bars and concessions to CCTV surveillance to electronic turnstiles and IPTV distribution systems.

As mentioned before, the quantity of events on a yearly basis at AGS means that a strong and stable network like Zeetta can match the demands that come with a large number of users.

In 2018, Zeetta launched their NetOS® technology to AGS. NetOS is a software defined networking (SDN) orchestrator, based on the industry-standard OpenDaylight controller based on the Linux Foundation®. By using the SDN technology, IT teams have ultimate control of their network operations and lets them concentrate on constructing services according to what the user wants, rather than how the network presents its capabilities.

For a complex network infrastructure that AGS contains, Zeetta proved that in a large-scale demonstration of the capability and scalability of their technology, they could manage this network in a vendor-agnostic way that reduces CAPEX and OPEX, to provide a single-pane-of-glass visibility and control. Found within AGS’ network is the two populations of Wi-Fi systems, CCTV, IPTV displays and other IoT devices and sub-systems.

Zeetta’s execution of its NetOS technology to AGS delivered an intelligent network automation for a complex enterprise network to support multiple mission-critical and business-critical services running in areas of high crowd density and the applicable demand for digital connectivity, dependant on the number of visitors.

Sports stadia across the globe struggle with connectivity and real-time evaluation of data. I believe we are just scratching the surface of what this NetOS platform can deliver,” AGS chairman Martin Griffiths said.

For more information on Zeetta’s products, technologies, solutions and case studies, you can find it here.

Liam Watson is the Managing Editor at Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy, industry matters and technology.

Los Angeles FC teams up with Foundation Fighting Blindness to host vision impaired fans

Major League Soccer club Los Angeles FC is teaming up with the Foundation Fighting Blindness to host blind and low vision fans at LAFC matches at Banc of California Stadium this season.

Leveraging the team’s partnership with audio technology Mixhalo, fans will have access to crystal-clear, real-time play-by-play in English, featuring the call of ESPN LA’s Dave Denholm and the Spanish audio featuring Armando Aguayo on 980 AM La Mera Mera.

All fans at Banc of California can now use their phone, headphones and the free mobile Mixhalo app to listen to Mixhalo’s high-quality live audio for an immersive experience while watching at the stadium.

As the first-ever MLS team to adopt the technology, LAFC announced its collaboration with Mixhalo in December 2020. With fans now returning to Banc of California Stadium at full capacity, Mixhalo audio will be available to all fans at every LAFC home game throughout the remainder of the 2022 season.

“LAFC matches are for everyone,” LAFC Co-President and CBO Larry Freedman told lafc.com.

“We are constantly focusing on improving our fan experience and making our games more accessible to all. We are proud to welcome fans from the Foundation Fighting Blindness community this season to experience LAFC matches in person through Mixhalo’s incredible technology.”

Guests from the Foundation Fighting Blindness community will attend select LAFC home games and have the opportunity to meet with Denholm and Aguayo before the game.

“We are honoured to be partnering with LAFC in making the games more accessible for our blind and low vision community,” Jason Menzo said to lafc.com, President and Chief Operating Officer of the Foundation Fighting Blindness.

“We look forward to the technology rolling out into other stadiums, not only in the United States, but globally.

Mixhalo Head of Sports Doug Holtzman added:

“Mixhalo elevates the live sports experience for everyone, and we’re thrilled that vision impaired LAFC fans can enjoy a better experience at matches this season.”

“With live calls from Dave Denholm directly in your ear – it really doesn’t get much better than that.”

FIFA and EA Sports end 30-year deal

As reported by the New York Times on Wednesday, gaming giant EA Sports and world football governing body FIFA have parted ways.

The partnership dated back to 1993, when FIFA International Soccer was launched for the SEGA Genesis.

Their current partnership was set to expire at the conclusion of the Qatar World Cup, with a new deal aiming to branch out into new areas – including NFTs.

It was reported that EA made a ‘significant offer’ for an eight-year exclusivity deal with FIFA for all of its Esports and gaming rights. However, the deal was knocked back, according to Reuters, as FIFA did not want the rights all with one company.

FIFA 23 will be the last game made in collaboration between the two organisations, set to release in late September this year, worldwide.

The FIFA series was estimated at the start of 2021 to have sold over 325 million units, according to ForbesFIFA 18 is the equal 40th highest selling video game of all time, estimated at 24 million units across all platforms.

FIFA confirmed it would still produce video games with third party developers, while EA will rebrand the FIFA series under the title EA Sports FC. The new series would include licensees such as the Premier League and LaLiga, which at this stage has authentic coverage, as all players are face scanned and the full broadcast packages akin to real life are featured in the game.

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