/// IBM Scores a Touchdown With Football’s Miami Dolphins

February 28, 2012  |  All Things Digital


When 72,000 people get together in a stadium to watch an NFL football game, you may as well have a small city on your hands. And the logistical challenges associated with making game day go smoothly are similar: Infrastructure like power and plumbing needs to work; food needs to be delivered; traffic flow, both of vehicles and pedestrians, has to be managed. It’s a big job. Big like a big data and analytics problem, the kind that IBM is making a name for itself in tackling. That’s exactly what Big Blue has agreed to do for the Miami Dolphins, the company said today in the latest announcement by its Smarter Cities unit. The Dolphins have tapped IBM to help help the team operate Sun Life Stadium. Not only is it the Dolphin’s home field during the regular season, but also has been known to host the Super Bowl and the Orange Bowl over the years. It has 1.5 million square feet of space, 75,000 seats, and 24,000 parking lots. Just try keeping track of it all by yourself. The team has taken software that IBM developed for running cities, known as its Intelligent Operations Center, and put it to work in managing the stadium, but also trying to make the experience of attending a game more interesting for fans. The IOC software is in use by several cities around the world, not the least of which, I’m told, is New York City. It’s typically used to view interconnected operations around a city, and monitor in real-time for problems, but also to analyze underlying data to indicate where problems are cropping up. If you think about it, a football game just a great big business transaction that like any other generates a lot of data that’s just begging to be analyzed in order to make it more efficient and less costly, and to help it run smoothly. The IOC software, IBM says, provides a window into ongoing stadium activity, helps manage traffic flow, to tracking where they like to eat before or during a game. Aside from the tickets themselves, the big business at any stadium in concessions, and the team is always looking for a way to nudge fans to buy food and drink from the concessions stands, enticing them with specials. But if you’re the kind of fan who wants to have a sit-down rather than grab a beer and burger during game, it makes sense for the team to try and know that about you and act accordingly when you get to the stadium. IBM had more to say about it in a short video which I embedded below. This is the second major engagement for IBM’s Smarter Cities group in as many weeks. Last week, Big Blue was tapped by the Chinese city of Zhenjiang to help it modernize its public transportation infrastructure

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IBM Scores a Touchdown With Football’s Miami Dolphins



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