Blue Bulls fans will soon be able to tweet from the game or share photos on Facebook without worrying about the cellular network overload so common at full sports stadiums.
Vodacom has a deployed a “high-density” Wi-Fi network at Loftus Versveld, the stadium in Pretoria that is home to the Bulls rugby team. The operator says it plans to make Loftus Africa’s first “smart stadium”.
The company has installed 40km of fibre and more than 400 Wi-Fi access points inside the stadium, it said on Friday.
The Wi-Fi deployment uses EAP (Extensible Authentication Protocol) Sim technology, which allows seamless switchover between 2G, 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi. A phone or tablet will connect to whichever bearer has the best connection, ensuring the fastest possible data access, Vodacom explained. EAP-Sim also means that during a Wi-Fi data session it will still be possible to receive voice calls.
“On top of better speeds, there’s no need to buy additional Wi-Fi bundles to connect to the network. Instead, data will be drawn directly from a customer’s existing data allocation, making the connection and usage process simple. Non-Vodacom customers will also be able to buy Wi-Fi bundles to gain access,” said chief technology officer Andries Delport in a statement.
The network was built by Cisco Systems. Vodacom has plans to increase the number of access points to 700 in the future.
Vodacom said it plans to use its rugby application for smartphones to add additional value to people in the stadium.
Location-based services, for example, will mean that in the future users will be able to access stadium specific promotions, have food and drinks delivered directly to their seats and even find out which restrooms have less of a queue.
Vodacom is in talks with other stadiums and public spaces, like shopping malls, to roll out the solution. – © 2015 NewsCentral Media