Touchdown for Tech
The Nielsen Co. reported that an estimated 111 million people watched the Super Bowl XLV, topping the 106.5 million who tuned in last year. When it comes to food – Pizza Hut reported selling 2-million pizzas during the Super Bowl.
That’s a lot of people and a lot of pizza – and what are they all tuning in for? Not only the biggest sporting event of the year but one of the biggest technology events of the year. While the players and coaches are focused on the scoreboard, hundreds of others are focused on making sure the grand finale of football goes off without a hitch.
Here is a snapshot of the technology used during this year’s Super Bowl:
- 884 Cisco wireless access points (AP) scattered around, and more than 70 different wiring closets containing more than 40,000 wired ports.
- More than 8 million feet of Ethernet cabling, and 260 miles of fiber to support all the connections, and more than 100T-bytes of data storage too. Everything operates on a single network, including the point-of-sale terminals at the concession stands.
- 185 security cameras and access control doors, entrance ticketing stations, the scoreboards, and the public Wi-Fi network.
- Wi-Fi throughout, and enough cellular horsepower to support a hundred thousand individual phone conversations and video uploads concurrently.
A number of reporters (note there were 1,700 press passes) have stated that the most noticeable thing as people entered the stadium was the assembly of midfield multiple video screens, stretching between the 20-yard lines – making the largest high definition screen in the world (everything’s bigger in Texas, right?).
On Super Sunday, viewers also experienced new technology – the NFL developed several apps for Droid and iPad/iPhone to download and interact with during the game. Fans could access online real-time stats, and be able to vote for Most Valuable Player at the end of the game from their cell phones even before they left their seats.
The Cowboys IT department isn’t sitting still either – they are looking at other apps, such as the ability to order food from your seat and go to an express pickup line where your order will be automatically charged to your cell phone account. According to Pete Walsh, the head of technology for the Cowboys, “we have the infrastructure in place and probably will roll that out next year.”