Expect high-tech services at Sports Hub

SINGAPORE’S dazzling new $1.87 billion Sports Hub, due to open next year, is going for gold – and not just on the playing field.

Sports administrators are betting that German firm T-Systems will put in a winning information technology performance.

T-Systems made history last week when it signed a $94 million contract to build, operate and maintain the IT system for the Sports Hub.

It beat two other companies to win the 21-year contract, which is one of the longest outsourcing projects signed in Singapore – and the firm’s longest one as well.

About one-third of the funds will be spent on rolling out infrastructure such as computers, networks and software. Maintenance and operating the IT system will account for the rest.

This deal is significant for the Sports Hub. Sprawled over 35ha of stadiums, an aquatic centre, restaurants and retail outlets, the complex will be equipped with the very latest technologies.

But so far, the Sports Hub and T-Systems are staying mum on what patrons can expect.

As for tenants and sponsors, once the basic infrastructure is built, they will be able to link their IT systems to the Hub network. Tenants will be able to get customer information, for example, while sponsors may be able to see upcoming events which they may want to reserve for their customers.

Despite the lack of official information, it is not hard to guess the type of emerging technologies set to feature in the IT strategies at the Sports Hub. Inevitably, they will include a mobile strategy, data analytics and location-based technologies.

Mobility will give Sports Hub patrons greater convenience when visiting the place and offer better customer service, both critical for repeat customers and visits.

So exactly what sort of conveniences can patrons expect?

Paper ticket stubs for sports events may go the way of the dinosaur, to save trees. Instead, tickets may appear digitally on mobile phones. No more waiting for tickets through the snail mail.

Crowds will probably be moved through gantries quickly as e-ticket readers recognise the digital tickets when people wave mobile phones over them.

The Sports Hub will gather mountains of data from sports fans and consumers who watch matches, visit retail outlets and restaurants or attend performances.

It might learn that a football fan is likely to also watch cricket, or that someone who paid to watch singer Sting also bought tickets for Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds.

By analysing the data, the Sports Hub can cross-market and send out targeted information.

Retail outlets at the Hub are set to feature technologies that recognise customers from the smartphones in their pockets or purses. They can text specific promotions to entice them to shop there.

For those unable to get to the Hub for events, live streaming of rugby matches, swim meets and other performances might well be accessible by fans on PCs or mobile phones, for a fee of course.

Visitors and tourists will probably be able to store Sports Hub loyalty points via a special phone app. Such points could be redeemed by waving the phone over an e-reader.

Some of these features may be added over time, but the Sports Hub will have enough embedded technologies to let them provide a number of these new services when it starts operations next year.

The challenge for T-Systems is that it must ensure that the IT system is available most of the time. With two data centres here, the operations will have sufficient backup if anything fails.

But as the Sports Hub’s technology supremo, it will have to anticipate and add the relevant technologies to ensure the Sports Hub is sleek and let it claim its place as Asia’s premier sports complex.


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Article source: http://news.asiaone.com/News/Latest%2BNews/Sports/Story/A1Story20130117-396207.html

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