Croke Park testing ground for smart city apps.
Croke Park and Sun Devil in Arizona will put smart cities/smart living concept into practice.
Have you ever been to a game and wished you could view a touchdown or goal from a better angle? Or wondered what your friends in other parts of the stadium are saying about it? Maybe you wanted to order a hamburger or a team shirt without leaving your seat?
A transatlantic collaboration between Dublin City University, Arizona State University (ASU), the GAA and Intel aims to make these fan experiences possible in the not-so-distant future.
The partnership will use Croke Park and ASU’s Sun Devil Stadium as living labs to test the capabilities of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies.
The goal is to use technology to enrich the live experience, as well as improve safety and emergency response, crowd movement and control, and traffic management.
A research team, led by Dr Sethuraman Panchanathan of ASU and Professor Noel O’Connor of DCU, will use both stadiums for the application of IoT technologies.
The venues will act as a microcosm of the smart cities/ smart living concept, which allows large, medium and small companies to beta test and pilot new ideas and solutions.
The stadiums will also facilitate collaborations for researchers, start-ups and entrepreneurs to bring their business ideas to market.
“The smart city concept has been a big driver in this domain,” Prof O’Connor said. “The smart stadium initiative is like a halfway house between research, start-ups and companies, and mass-scale deployment. Rather than role out their technology to the whole city straight away, they can test it on a small scale.
“We will have research emerging from DCU, which we will deploy at the site,” he said. The concept will help academic researchers to bridge the “research to practice” gap that currently hampers the translation of IoT innovations out of labs into real deployments.”
The stadiums, which attract tens of thousands for both sporting events and concerts, are a microcosm of cities, Prof O’Connor said.
“University research teams and companies can get feedback on their technology so it is ready for mass-scale deployment. Irish businesses can test their product at both Croke Park and the Sun Devil Stadium, and both have different markets. Most of the people attending the ASU stadium are students.”
In the medium term, an array of IoT technologies for smart stadium applications are being explored, including scene replay, athlete performance monitoring via wearable sensing, fan experience and in-stadium engagement, safety and emergency response, crowd movement and control and traffic management.
Dr Panchanathan of ASU said the partnership was an excellent example of how industry and academia can work together across different continents.
According to Croke Park stadium director Peter McKenna, “A lot of innovation happening in this [IoT] space is focused on gambling, which doesn’t really suit ourselves. We want to manage queues, provide additional information to fans, allow them to order food from their seats, etc.”
Earlier this year, plans were announced to make Dublin a “smart city”, and one of the most densely sensored cities in the world.
Intel announced plans to test more than 200 sensor “gateways” around Dublin to gather and monitor data on the environment, including air quality and noise.
It is envisaged that the project will lead to the development of apps to give data on air quality and noise levels.
By-Pamela Newenham Irish Times reporter