Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) has developed a new piece of wireless technology that will provide WiFi coverage even in the most crowded of places. Any sports fan can tell you that mobile phone lines can get jammed with too many outgoing calls and texts during a game, but Cisco’s new system solves that problem. It also offers sports clubs the opportunity to make money by integrating mobile media with their franchises.
Already trying out the new system is Major League Soccer team Sporting Kansas City, which opened its Livestrong Sporting Park stadium on June 9, fully equipped with the new WiFi system. Sporting KC developed new social-gaming apps for fans, including a quiz that rewards users with points to be redeemed at stadium concessions and merchandising stands. Sporting KC also has 45 of Motorola‘s (NYSE:MMI) Zoom tablets, which fans can use to sign up to become a member of the team’s fan club. And in September, the sporting club will allow in-seat ordering of food, drink, and merchandise.
Cisco’s senior vice president of sports and entertainment solutions, David Holland, says,“This can also let fans watch video highlights, get stadium information and it opens the way for advertisements [direct to mobile devices].”
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The system is comprised of various strategically placed access points. According to Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO), a 50,000-seat stadium would require 350 access points, costing $1,500 each. While that may sound expensive, Sporting KC’s chief information officer Asim Pasha said the system only cost the club 25% more than a traditional WiFi system, but says Cisco’s new system gave them, “more coverage, better reception, and improved signal strength.”
During the stadium’s opening game on June 9, Pasha said that as many as 1,900 fans were using the new WiFi system at any given time, while 5,000 used the WiFi at some point during the game. According to Pasha, the system worked so well that, not only did he receive no complaints or dropped signals, but one fan downloaded an 11-gigabyte movie.
Competitors to Watch: Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ), Juniper Networks, Inc. (NYSE:JNPR), Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Intl. Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM), Extreme Networks, Inc (NASDAQ:EXTR), Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC), NetGear, Inc. (NASDAQ:NTGR), and ADTRAN, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADTN).