Every baseball team needs a big bat in its lineup. And every stadium needs a big pipe to support the tens of thousands of fans who come to enjoy each game.
That's especially true for the Atlanta Braves, which this year moved into SunTrust Park, part of a 1.5-million square foot residential, business and entertainment development that uses continuous WiFi and ultra-broadband as a competitive differentiator.
Although baseball (literally) takes center field, the Braves wanted to enhance the fan experience beyond Major League Baseball's 81-game schedule, Greg Gatti, senior director of information technology, told UBB2020. With this green-field opportunity for a new stadium, the organization sought to deliver high-tech services to game attendees and expand into new potential revenue streams and customer engagement via Battery Atlanta.
"It really was meant to be a live/work/play environment year-round for our fans," Gatti said.
The Braves turned to long-time partner Comcast to help design, then implement and support the development's network. To ensure future-readiness and deliver complete redundancy, Comcast implemented two 100-gigabyte fiber optic cable pipes as part of its Xfinity solution, the backbone of the Braves' existing -- and future -- uses, such as augmented and virtual reality, said Eric McLoughlin, director of product management for Comcast, in an interview.
"If we have 41,000 fans in the stadium and they're all utilizing their devices at the same time, we wanted the network to be capable of supporting that activity," he said. "So that's where we came up with the 100-gig Internet transport, which is the backbone of what we're providing. We do that with two 144-count redundant fibers feeding the Battery; redundancy is, again, key so that we can provide a great solution that never has an issue if a fiber gets cut."
Fans stay connected via Comcast's ultra-broadband network throughout the Atlanta Braves' complex and SunTrust Stadium. (Source: Comcast)
Perhaps stadiums' biggest competition are fans' own large-screen, high-definition TVs, complete with commentators' analysis and sidebars, said McLoughlin. Artificial reality could allow game attendees to focus on a player, then see his stats and other data on their device, he said. And by creating an ecosystem beyond the ballpark, consumers are more likely to spend time at the complex's restaurants, stores and hotel, added Gatti.
But these are only a few of the many revenue-creating opportunities the Braves and Comcast predict. In fact, since the stadium's debut on the team's Major League Baseball opening day, the Braves have only just begun to see how they can monetize their network and development.
"[ROI] is still an evolving process. In the Battery, we have tenants. We're 50% owners of the hotel, we have the office space, so the lease revenue for the Braves -- for our office space, the hotel and all the residents in the Battery -- is a new revenue stream for us," said Gatti. "There are metrics around what's expected, around what we can achieve there. For Comcast, they're the exclusive last-mile provider for everything in SunTrust Park and the Battery and they're delivering all these connected services to residential so I'm sure they have high expectations of return on investment. What we're still wrapping our heads around is our business at Turner Field compared to what we have [now] is drastically different. I think it's going to be 18 months to a two-year process for us to get a handle on really understanding how much our business needs have changed."
More than a half-million Irish residents expected to have fiber broadband by 2020. But Ireland's National Broadband Plan has not even begun — and government officials today postponed any agreement again.
In a new report and searchable database, Broadband Now discovered fiber is the is the least expensive technology powering subscribers' connections. But the poorest, most rural residents pay the most for connectivity, regardless of underlying infrastructure.
As Vice President of Global Healthcare at AT&T, Maria Lensing oversees the telecommunications operator's technology and professional services offerings across the spectrum of medical providers, from solo practitioners and walk-in clinics to giant hospital chains, medical-device vendors and consulting firms. Lensing also sees more interest from traditional service providers -- cable and telecom operators looking to expand or build relationships with their own medical communities, perhaps as an adjunct to smart-home successes or standalone.
Lensing, who took on this role almost a year ago in May 2018, oversees both the sales and technical teams responsible for developing growth initiatives for AT&T's Global Healthcare business -- including products, services and industry-specific solutions. She also very actively promotes business minority inclusion, education and female empowerment programs and has been recognized both within and outside AT&T. Some awards she's received include "Top 40 Under 40" and "Super Woman in Business" from the Memphis Business Journal.
Join Maria Lensing, VP of Global Healthcare at AT&T, on Tuesday, April 23 at 12:00 p.m. ET / 9:00 p.m. PT, when she's the guest on BBWN Radio, hosted by Broadband World News Editor Alison Diana. Register now!
So far, the agenda includes a discussion of technologies such as fiber and 5G; defining the needs and solutions for a widely diverse range of customers; partnering for success in a typically slow-moving, budget-constrained market; learning and dispersing best practices from other verticals and within other business groups; promoting diversity and female empowerment when so many say they're doing so but so little has changed; and what she hopes to accomplish in another year in this role.
Register and post your questions for Maria on BBWN Radio's easy-to-use chat board. We will get to as many questions as possible. Please post questions before and during the broadcast. Once you've registered, you will be led to the chat board page. Talk to you on April 23!
Tune in to Broadband World News Radio on February 14 at 11 a.m. ET / 8 a.m. PT / 4 p.m. UK when John Isch, Practice Director of the Network and Voice Center of Excellence at Orange Business Services, discusses use cases, ROI and misconceptions of software-defined wide-area networks, virtualization and cloud.
Just when you thought the answer to your next technology direction question was clear, the noise around multiple new technology options fills the Internet and airwaves. Multiple 5Gs are being deployed; there's CableLabs' 10G initiative; the ITU and IEEE are toiling around 50G PON – and we haven’t even talked about Wi-Fi6 yet! Is any of this real, do you have to pay attention or can you just let the dust settle and then decide?
Since waiting is often not the best option, let’s demystify technology options, their impact on your business, and how to prepare for whatever the future brings.
In this webinar, Service Providers will learn:
Current state of 5G and how it affects everyone, not only mobile network providers.
Latest technologies being developed and how they will benefit their networks and subscribers.
How to prepare their networks for the future – whatever it may hold.