Published On: November 14, 2017Categories: BlogBy

Peder Berg, CEO and Founder of Accredit Solutions reflects on the need for smart stadiums to have smart accreditation

New technology is set to transform venues with the smart stadium market estimated to be worth US$17 billion by 2021

From smart phones to AR, venues are using data, apps, beacons and digital innovation to enhance the fan experience. A top priority is to bring fans to stadiums, put them in the centre of the action and create experiences that keeps them coming back.

As the biggest football stadium in the UK, Wembley is a worldwide sports icon and hosts many major football events, music concerts and other major sports events. To make the stadium even better they have partnered with EE, and aim to make Wembley the most connected stadium with mobile ticketing solutions, free WiFi and an app which includes a feed of the latest news, images, video and audio clips.

Twickenham, the home of English rugby has signed a partnership with Sports Revolution to make Twickenham stadium one of the most digitally advanced stadiums in Europe. An LED fan engagement and advertising system stretches around the stadium at pitch side and middle tier levels. The stadium has an app which allows fans to pre-order food, drinks and merchandise through their smart phones. Fans can than pick up food at special express lines located in six bars around the stadium and West Fan Village.

The new home of the National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta Stadium, will provide a game-changing fan experience, with new technology embedded throughout the venue. A 360-degree, 63,000-square foot HD Video Halo Board surrounds the stadium and more than 2,000 video displays will bring fans closer to the action than ever before.

With the accolade of the most high tech stadium in the world, Levi’s Stadium, located in Santa Clara, California, is the new home of the San Francisco 49ers and has truly embraced the concept of smart technology. Sony, Intel, SAP and Yahoo! have partnered with the stadium to help deliver free high speed WiFi as well as the best stadium smart phone app available now.

A smart stadium needs to be a secure stadium

Smart stadiums need to be more than improving experiences for fans. A smart stadium needs to be a secure stadium. Sporting venues and stadiums present a unique collection of vulnerabilities and challenges. Recent attacks and threats against stadiums and other large public venues in Manchester, Paris and Madrid are a clear indication that terrorists are focusing on places where they can inflict as much damage as possible to as many people as possible.

A smart stadium needs to know who is in the venue at all times and whether they have the right to be there. This isn’t limited to fans but includes everyone who needs access – venue staff, contractors, catering vendors, security stewards, press, guests and VIPs.

However smart your stadium, people generally are the weakest link. Only last month, a USB was found by the side of the road which caused one of the world’s busiest airports to launch an internal investigation as the USB drive contained confidential information posing a risk to national security. With the most robust security planning, heavy investment in the strongest technologies and a real focus on smart business, it’s still likely to be the people inside your organisation who are your biggest threat.

Using accreditation to make you smart

Protecting venues of this scale is complex. Security standards are not always what they should be and in some cases are in serious danger of being breached. For venue operations managers, safety and security managers, it can just be yet another issue that needs to be addressed, perceived as difficult to manage and fraught with additional complications of the unique needs of each stadium or event.

For event and stadia, there is no way of avoiding employing contractors and temporary staff. Venues and stadia need background check options on all staff including caterers and cleaners. Photos and right to work permits need to be standard across the board. Systems need to be in place so venues know if a staff member had lost their right to work or been convicted of serious offence.

It has never been more important to understand who has access to your venue and to make sure all necessary documents are collected and kept up to date, as well as controlling where the individual can access once approved. Venues need to allow legitimate access to some of their most sensitive assets and information to a significant number of workers who are not company employees. The potential damage to an organisation is well documented with businesses suffering significant financial and reputational losses.

A robust and efficient accreditation system can help, delivering best practice, time and cost savings but not at the cost of reducing quality standards.

Accredit offers a self-managed platform which provides all the tools required to easily and effectively ‘accredit’ everyone who needs access to a venue or stadium every day of the year and not just on match days. Born out of our experience of providing registration and event accreditation services for high-security events, Accredit has evolved rapidly to confront and stay ahead of the latest security threats and is now the preferred choice for major premier league clubs, national and international rugby and cricket organisations, and major events who are using our platform to turn their venues into real smart stadiums and event spaces.

Accredit gives stadium management, security, IT, and accreditation teams the tools they need to ensure the legality, security, and safety of their events against insider threats, reputational risk, corporate espionage and undocumented employment as well as providing operational efficiency. Accredit supports multiple users and provides an end-to-end solution to identify and register all persons requiring access to stadiums in an efficient and practical manner.

Smart stadiums enhance the fan experience and can also improve stadium security

The growing popularity of sports and events globally is expected to push the demand for stadiums and fuel the demand for smart stadiums, sports venues, and arenas who all want to provide the best live experience for fans whilst at the same time, ensuring the smartest security. A stadium that integrates smart accreditation as part of its offering will be a winning stadium.

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