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Dolphin Stadium Kicks Off a Technology Revolution

RFID—with its current and potential service and security applications—could help the facility become "the stadium of America."
By Andrew Price
Apr 23, 2007Dolphin Stadium wants to be considered the "stadium of America," hosting a broad range of sports, entertainment and business events to attract visitors from around the country, and even around the world. A big part of the facility's efforts to lure new events and better serve visitors is its use of the latest technologies, including radio frequency identification.

Located in Miami Gardens, Fla., the stadium is already well known for hosting such big-ticket sporting events as the Super Bowl and the World Series. The facility is also the home stadium of the National Football League's Miami Dolphins and Major League Baseball's Florida Marlins.

Dolphin Stadium is putting high value on high-tech.

In 2006, the stadium's management launched an effort to upgrade the technology infrastructure of the facility, including the construction of a wireless network able to support new point-of-sale (POS) systems, services such as wireless Internet access and communications, and other services based on RFID technology. RFID and its potential applications were among the reasons for building the wireless network.

"Our management team and owner are very keen on technology," says Terry Howard, director of IT for Dolphin Stadium and Miami Dolphins Ltd. "They want to provide the stadium with the latest technology that will have an impact on revenue."

The stadium's IT department worked with a partner, systems integrator A2000 Network Solutions in Deerfield Beach, Fla., to design and deploy the wireless network. A2000 installed a Wi-Fi system from Kanata, Ontario-based BelAir Network. The BelAir Wi-Fi mesh network system is designed in such a way, Howard explains, that it provides broad wireless coverage with fewer pieces of transmitting equipment than competing Wi-Fi systems.

The stadium chose the BelAir system for a number of reasons, such as that it was easy to install and manage and could run high-bandwidth services incorporating voice, data and video simultaneously. What's more, the equipment is specifically designed for use in outdoor environments, to withstand a variety of environmental conditions.

Dolphin Stadium constructed its wireless network in two phases, beginning in April 2006. In the first phase, six wireless nodes were installed within the stadium's bowl structure. In the second, mounted in August of the same year, the stadium deployed an additional 24 nodes. That enabled the facility to have more wireless coverage in place in time for the Miami Dolphin's football season, as well as Super Bowl XLI in February 2007.
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