How will Wi-Fi and mobile networks cope with Euro 2016 traffic?
This year marks the 14th UEFA European Championship, taking place in France. Millions of fans are expected to attend 51 matches across ten venues, presenting a huge opportunity for sports teams and stadium organisers to use technology to both improve the fan experience and increase their bottom line.
Connectivity at large public venues and events such as the Euros has become an integral part of the experience. Guests expect to be able to connect easily and quickly, and believe that reliable Wi-Fi should be part and parcel of attending the venue.
So how exactly can mega-event organisers keep on top of their networks to keep spectators happy? We have asked four industry experts for their advice on how to manage connectivity, as it continues to become an imperative part of the guest experience…
Michael Hack, SVP of EMEA Operations, Ipswitch:
“In regular office environments, IT pros work to reduce the strain on the network caused by employees watching YouTube videos and uploading files to social media sites, making sure business-critical applications to run smoothly. However, when running a huge public event like the Euros, the challenge becomes much more difficult: The business critical applications are the data-draining media apps. 2.5 million fans are expected to flood the stadiums across France over the next couple of months, and the IT teams responsible will be expected to manage all the images, video and audio files being uploaded via the network of the venue.”
“The first thing that needs to be tackled is network visibility. If all IT operations are shown under one interface, then it will be easier to be proactive during the event. With more visibility, it is easier for IT teams to monitor the status of the network, pinpoint, assess and fix a problem before it affects your system.”
“By using a flexible and unified monitoring solution, IT teams can quickly, easily and efficiently scan across all wired and wireless networks, and physical and virtual servers and applications. This will keep the social media match commentaries alive and kicking.”
Perry Correll, Principal Technologist, Xirrus:
“When the first European Nations’ Cup took place in the late 1950s, connectivity as we know it today was non-existent. In fact the integrated circuit – the building block of the electronic age – wasn’t invented until 1959! Fast forward to the Euros 2016. 2.5 million fans are expected to attend. Sharing what they’re up to with friends and family online is becoming an increasingly important part of the experience. Let’s be frank. We live in a Wi-Fi-first society. But if the Wi-Fi connection at your large venue is patchy, visitors will likely move to the 3G / 4G network. And when that gets saturated with requests (which it will, quickly) all those selfies, videos and pictures cannot be shared – tainting the spectator experience.
With this in mind, Wi-Fi networks in large public venues must meet three key requirements: an always reliable experience, regardless of the number of devices on the network; simple onboarding for all users; all for a low total cost of ownership. The good news is that innovative Wi-Fi solutions can meet all of these requirements. Choose a solution with reliable performance in high-density areas, the option to assign priority to traffic based on application, self-service registration, and software defined radios. The glowing reviews from your happy visitors will quickly follow.”
Hubert de Costa, VP EMEA, Cradlepoint:
"For owners of large public venues such as football stadiums, match day revenue is serious business. In the 2014/15 season both Manchester United and Arsenal’s match day revenue at that their respective grounds was in excess of £100m. Match day revenue isn’t just ticket sales – it’s the whole experience, including food and drink, programme sales, club memorabilia and merchandise from the club shop, and more. And then consider if the match is scheduled to be live-streamed around the world via the web. There will likely be broadcast and sponsorship income associated with that too. Imagine the impact if your Internet connection goes down on match day…. That could mean money literally walking out the door."
"No wired connection can deliver 100 percent uptime. The question isn’t whether your business will lose Internet connectivity, it’s when. So the question is how to protect your organisation from loss and disruption when it happens. When your wired Internet connectivity experiences a service disruption (in some areas this happens several times a month) your business is exposed to risks of lost revenue, productivity and customer experience issues.
“Upgrading to a more robust wired connection is one possible solution – but it’s expensive and is still susceptible to outages and service disruption. An alternative option is to bridge the inevitable gap with wireless WAN failover. This option is quick and easy to deploy. Ultimately when network connections fail, there will be a loss of productivity, brand credibility and revenue. In my experience, there are few businesses that can afford to take that risk. Let’s hope UEFA and each match venue have a robust failover plan in place to ensure consistent, secure and fast Internet connectivity at this year’s tournament and they don’t end up scoring the technology equivalent of an own goal.”
Mambu and the UAE’s digital banking journey
Miljan Stamenkovic enjoys the dynamic and constantly evolving world of fintech banking. In his current role as General Manager for MENA for Mambu, Stamenkovic sees opportunity in abundance.
“When I joined Mambu with my team in 2019, we came with the fintech, entrepreneurial mindset and DNA to build and grow Mambu’s business in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region. Before 2019, the region used to remind me of a desert, at least in terms of cloud service providers and cloud adoption. But this past year has been a wave of progress.” In November 2020, Mambu opened a new office in Abu Dhabi Global Market, as the region has quickly become a key market for Mambu.
He explains, “There are data protection laws. There are cybersecurity regulations and most importantly, a variety of major tier one cloud service providers that are available. But what particularly excites me here at Mambu is the opportunity to rethink business models together with our clients and really bring them to life. This is where I saw a great fit with Mambu and its composable philosophy.”
Creating a neobank and challenger bank ecosystem has been his ultimate goal. “In my opinion, this actually creates a unique opportunity to partner with some of the best fintechs in the region and build the region’s first and true challenger and neobanks.”
Stamenkovic credits Mambu’s partnership with Banque Saudi Fransi (BSF) for the success that has driven the bank forward in the region. “When I think about all the challenger and neobanks that have grown massively over the past decade,there is one common denominator for all these new initiatives. I would say they really operate like a tech company rather than a bank. - BSF is leading this approach in Saudi Arabia.”
He continues, “This brings a competitive advantage for tech companies. These platforms are each managed individually but can be swapped in and out. And when put together, they actually form the backbone of a company's technology capability. This is why tech companies and banks like BSF actually can get products to the market a hundred times faster than their more incumbent peers.”
The implementation, he stresses, is an evolving process, where each component is trialled and checked and swapped in and out according to its effectiveness. But it’s down to the dynamism of the team on the project to initiate these changes. “As critical as technology is to digital transformation, the DNA of people working on these initiatives is the key to success. At BSF they have a true startup and entrepreneurial mentality.”
He explains that Mambu is helping BSF deliver an entire new banking experience while providing soft core banking services hosted, in this case in Saudi Arabia. “Mambu sits at the heart of BSF's new challenger bank and its technology stack. So, this actually enables BSF to take an entirely cloud native approach, having Mambu at the centre of its ‘Digital Engine’.”
Stamenkovic points out, “Mambu enables banking like a modern tech company. Banks used to be built to last, but today they need to be built to change. And that's what we're enabling here.”