As the World Cup 2010 competition beckons, Free-state Stadium in Bloemfontein, South Africa has began Smart Stadium Operations. In a series of milestone achievements during the past week, the venue was the foremost beneficiary of the Fortress and Dimension Data partnership and the first World Cup participant to install the Smart Stadium Solution.
Free State has been subjected to a rigorous re-development program which saw its status raised to world class. Improved VIP facilities had been put in place to complement an increase in capacity from 38,000 to 45,000. The stadium which features 64 automated turnstiles will host 5 of the 6 matches that will be played in the first round of the tournament, and a further one to be played in the second round.
Fortress’ Smart Stadium Solution has been put in place to cement the venue’s World Class Status. Featuring the brand new state of the art Fortress Tri Reader technology, access into the stadium is achievable through multiple means. Whilst Free State Stadium is currently using barcode functionality to allow fan ingress, the infrastructure has been laid to facilitate the use of Mifare RFID multi-application Smartcards as well as RF paper tickets. With the future in mind, Near Field Communication and mobile technology is also fully compliant with the Fortress System.
In a series of firsts, Free State was the initial South African World Cup Stadium to have its access control system tested by its local organising committee (LOC). Tasked with ensuring that the stadium’s operations are fully functional and compliant with FIFA regulations, the LOC was on hand to put the system through its paces last Sunday when the local Celtics took on their perennial foes Kaizer Chiefs. With an attendance total of 35,000, the Smart Stadium Solution was put through rigorous testing and performed to an exceptional standard.
The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. The system performed to its regular high standard, the LOC had no qualms about its functionality and the fans were left highly impressed by their new means of stadium access. All 35,000 spectators entered through the fortress TR-140 reader-equipped turnstiles using their individual ‘Computicket’ barcode tickets. Full and seamless integration between Fortress GB and ‘Computicket’ enables ticket printing to be done on site at Free State Stadium.
The system’s functionality is also enhanced by a suite of web applications made available to Smart Stadium users. Time and Attendance software is already in use at Free State to monitor fan ingress and report real time flow rates to stadium management. Other applications to query the status of tickets have also been made available.
Smart Stadium has already been installed, and is successfully operating in many of the world’s leading arenas and venues. These include Wembley Stadium, Stade De France, San Siro the O2 arena to name but a few. It is its malleable robust and modular nature that has been the key to its success, allowing the system to be tailored to the needs of each individual client. Though at present Free State Stadium is utilising access control only, future use of the system can be extended to incorporate membership, cashless, Loyalty, CRM, Staff Time and Attendance and VIP management schemes.