In pictures: EE's tech gets deployed throughout Wembley Stadium
Network operator became Wembley's official technology partner after signing six-year deal with FA
With a capacity of 90,000 people, Wembley can accommodate more fans than any other stadium in the UK. But Wembley doesn’t just want to have a large capacity for putting bums on seats. Now, with the help of technology partner, EE, it’s looking to greatly enhance the capacity of its networks.
1. Big ambitions
A number of stadiums around the world, including Liverpool's Anfield and Manchester City's Etihad, have already rolled out in-stadium wi-fi so fans can do things like upload content to social networks and listen to radio commentary while they’re watching a match. But Rob Ray, the Football Association’s CTO, has plans to go one step further. “We want Wembley to be the best connected stadium in the world,” he told journalists this week.
2. EE's dedicated Wembley app
Fans can post messages to the Wembley big screen directly from the new EE Wembley app on their smartphone or tablet. EE showcased the new app to journalists from one of its two corporate boxes at Wembley.
3. Sophisticated turnstiles
Wembley visitors can also use the app to enter the stadium as the turnstiles come with integrated barcode-scanning technology.
4. Tech is key to profits
Wembley is planning to introduce mobile ticketing so that the FA can gain more information on each person that passes through its turnstiles and ultimately provide them with more targeted marketing. At £916 million, Wembley is one of the most expensive stadiums in the world and therefore needs to maximise its profits wherever possible in order to recover construction costs.
5. Big screens
The push to make Wembley one of the best connected stadiums in the world while providing fans with the best possible digital experience comes as Manchester United's Old Trafford issues bans on using iPads and laptops in the ground.
6. Deep in the depths of Wembley
Deep in the depths of the stadium, a telecoms equipment room is predominantly filled with EE’s networking gear. The operator said it wants to use the stadium as a testbed for a number of new technologies it is working on, including a 400Mbps 4G network, which it claims will be the world’s fastest, surpassing the ultra high-speed networks in the likes of South Korea and Japan.
7. Not just the home of football
Wembley doesn't just host football matches. It hosts a number of concerts through the year and this week it hosted an American football game between the Miami Dolphins and the Oakland Raiders.
8. Operations room
The operations room has dozens of screens that are closely monitored during big events.