IT infrastructure for major sporting events. We are ready?

* Fernando Andrade

Over the next five years, Brazil will host numerous sporting events, as well as growing in religious and musical events. This expectation has brought positive aspects to Brazil, in the field of the labor and commercial market as a whole. In addition, we will see a cultural change to be implemented in the country.

Within the positive aspects that this scenario points out, we perceive a strong movement in relation to the professionalization of people linked to the technology market, in the sense of seeking information in the foreign market, seeking training within their companies or with partners, or even participating in workshops and forums to improve knowledge.

With regard to cultural change, Brazil will undergo major transformations, as the old stadiums will be converted into arenas. Currently, the Brazilian spectator has the habit of arriving at the soccer stadium half an hour before the game, just to watch the matches. With the international experience and the benchmarking that is taking place – in which those interested have experienced the experience of arenas in the USA and Europe -, it is believed that this new philosophy of ‘entertainment’ will be implemented gradually in Brazilian arenas.

The economic factor will also weigh heavily, as the project’s viability is directly related to the number of people who will enjoy the spaces. And to attract these people, it will be necessary to offer interesting entertainment to keep them longer in the stadium, such as pre-game shows, interactive music during game breaks and electronic scoreboards that ‘speak’ to the public. That is, devices to animate and entertain the fans while the event takes place.

In this part of the cultural change, the importance of modern technology and its influence on the viability of a project of such scope are perceived. With Brazil’s current global exposure, added to the international crisis, Brazil has become an airstrip for the largest global companies, seeking business opportunities in our territory. This exchange of experiences is very productive.

As an example of technology, we can mention the sound solutions for these environments. Until recently, this technology was relegated to the background, but with the exchange of experiences from international arenas and the arrival of experienced international companies in the country, sound became a necessity, both for entertainment and for security.

With the integration of sound equipment, and following international standards, the evacuation system is fully integrated with fire detection devices, alarms and, mainly, with speakers scattered throughout the arena, to distribute correctly and equitably a message in a time of emergency. International norms dictate that a voice warning is needed – and not just audible as it used to be – to assist evacuation that must be done in less than eight minutes.

Still on sound, the systems required by FIFA will greatly improve the performances of the upcoming shows, as they will represent an important reinforcement in the areas of the stands. This equipment, which will be a legacy for the arenas, may even be used as a source of extra revenue in the case of small shows, as it will result in a reduction in the list of equipment required for a small show, using the equipment already installed.

In video installations, we also see major changes. Today, Digital Signage, a beautiful term for a simple meaning, Digital Signage, is falling into popular knowledge. This term refers to the distribution of advertising content, endomarketing, advertisements, directly on several monitors strategically allocated on the premises of an arena, mall, commercial building, or many other environments.

Once again, with the exchange of information allowed with international travel, decision makers began to understand the importance of having a tool like Digital Signage as a source of income, as they will be able to enjoy much more of the space, the media strength of the clubs and arenas, selling spaces during events. Imagine, for example, in the interval of a game, 100 monitors warning that whoever buys a soft drink and a popcorn will take a doll of their idol as a gift? This would instantly boost impulse buying, increasing the arena’s income. Also, imagine the launch of a car being advertised in the arena at the end of the championship?

Still talking about the video part, in alliance with the security part, the new technologies for capturing images with megapixel lenses and facial recognition, which can locate a person in a crowd, make the environment become safer and reliable, bringing more people and more investors to these locations.

A change that is certainly already being felt is in relation to the quality of the projects, because finally, with a regulatory body like FIFA, stadium projects had to adapt to the new reality and had to improve in relation to the required standards. In the past, any company could participate in a competition in these areas. But today, competitions are restricted to companies that know what they are doing, that invest in training, in people, in technology, companies that will be able to take on a project like these and that certainly demonstrate that Brazil is prepared and with arms open to receive these events.

* Fernando Andrade is commercial director of Seal Telecom, a national company specialized in the integration of systems that combine face-to-face and distance communication technologies.

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