Saturday, July 13, 2024

Adelaide Oval transforms its network infrastructure to enhance fan experiences

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THE CHALLENGE

Identifying issues with an ageing network

Adelaide Oval strives to provide memorable fan experiences from the moment they step foot in the precinct. While the venue is always modernising its facilities, its network – which was implemented in 2013 – was reaching the end of its lifespan.

Failing network switch ports and access points caused issues with digital signage, point-of-sale terminals, and Wi-Fi networks. While these were usually isolated failures that only impacted certain facilities, any disruption to game day experiences poses a threat to the venue and its world-class reputation.

“We wanted to refresh our foundational technology, improve fan experiences and really enhance the capabilities of the stadium with modern technology,”



Steve Frost, Head of IT, Adelaide Oval.

The organisation was also running an unsupported Cisco Vision IPTV solution, which was broadcasting to the stadium’s TVs and digital signage. This became difficult to manage, with staff using legacy machines and outdated internet browsers to fix issues.

The lack of a scalable solution also limited future possibilities for improving operations and fan engagement. Its existing network was complex and lacked redundancy, posing a risk that a bigger failure could be imminent as the equipment got older. That could be disastrous for Adelaide Oval, especially if it were to lose core services during a match or event.

“If one part of our network fails and we’re relying on 10-year-old equipment to support something else, there’s risk that downtime could impact more than just one part of the business, says Steve. “It was critical to do a network refresh that replaced some of this legacy gear to make sure that didn’t happen.”

To address these concerns, the Oval sought to refresh its network infrastructure to meet the growing demands of today’s fans.

THE SOLUTION

Leaning on a trusted partner

As a long-time strategic partner, Adelaide Oval tapped Telstra Purple and Telstra Enterprise to help it design, build and manage a significant network transformation.

“Telstra supports a lot of what we do as a business. We try to collaborate as much as possible, to the point where Telstra staff sit in on our internal IT steering committees. It was really a no brainer to work with them on this project.”



Steve Frost, Head of IT, Adelaide Oval.

Telstra Purple’s solution specialists worked with Adelaide Oval to capture all requirements and develop a network plan and strategy. Purple’s experts provided an agnostic view of the market, testing multiple vendors to find the best solution for Adelaide Oval’s specific requirements.

The team recommended a full refresh of its existing Cisco-based environment, as it was familiar technology and provided opportunities for Adelaide Oval to build a complete end-to-end network ecosystem.

“Sticking with Cisco was a lot cleaner because it was similar infrastructure with similar networking requirements. It also allows us to scale a lot easier, as we can more easily extend our network to more areas or our integrated hotel, for example, says Steve. “We wanted to make sure anything we bought would be future proof.”

A robust solution that supports an innovative future

Telstra Purple managed, designed, staged and configured new network infrastructure that included over 150 new Cisco switches and more than 150 access points. Purple worked in conjunction with the Telstra Enterprise team to deploy the new hardware, with installation and cutovers done seamlessly outside working hours, meaning no disruption to the business or staff.

“Telstra did a really fantastic job with the installation. One of our major concerns was installing hardware in a simplified way with neat cabling. We didn’t want cables and switches all over the place and the installation team took a very professional approach.”

Pubudu Sudusinghe, Network and Cyber Security Specialist , Adelaide Oval

The implementation included a refresh of Adelaide Oval’s Cisco IPTV infrastructure, ensuring high-definition video continues to flow to digital signage and televisions throughout the stadium. Purple also helped refresh its telephony system, which supports its venue operations centre.

“We upgraded our telephony software licences so we could integrate with Microsoft Teams. That allows us to perform soft-dialling and receive all the modern features of Microsoft Teams, and an integrated telephony environment, that we weren’t able to use previously. It adds so much flexibility to our business.

Steve Frost, Head of IT, Adelaide Oval.

There was also extensive consideration for increased redundancy to safeguard critical services during events.

“We were able to increase our redundancy to all switch stacks, which we didn’t have before. That enables us to increase resiliency on event day,” says Steve.

Telstra helped guide Adelaide Oval through the entire process, providing critical expertise and helping the organisation manage its technology stack. That helps Adelaide Oval keep a tight focus on strategic business outcomes and less on the management and configuration of its network.

“Telstra has one of the largest and most capable stadium practices in the country,” Steve adds. “They’ve worked on some of Australia’s leading facilities, which gave us a lot of confidence that they’d do a great job, and they delivered.”

THE RESULTS

An innovative network for the future optimised business growth

Adelaide Oval now has a stable and highly scalable core network. It provides certainty that stadium facilities will function seamlessly on gameday, ensuring fans receive a truly world-class experience.

“Uptime across all of our switches, ports, and access points has improved massively and that’s been a huge benefit. We’re not running on 10-year-old hardware anymore, worrying constantly about ports failing, why and how that impacts customer experience. It means our network is just one less thing to worry about.”

Steve Frost, Head of IT, Adelaide Oval.

The increased network stability and speed helps teams optimise key business process and deliver better experiences to customers. That includes improved Wi-Fi access, with faster speeds and more coverage.

Cisco’s networking technology also allows Adelaide Oval to understand more about customer engagement by monitoring crowd flow around the venue. These insights can be used to build a better understanding of high demand areas to improve stadium facilities.

“Our key Telstra contact Sean Slade was one of the best project managers I’ve ever worked with,” Steve says. “He was such an asset to our team. Everyone worked well with him and everything progressed so smoothly. It was just a really great experience, not just from Sean but the entire team.”

The new network has been significantly streamlined, with a more straightforward design that simplifies management and bolsters security. That helps Adelaide Oval plan for the future, with a number of opportunities on the horizon that will take its customer experience to the next level.

“We have a longer roadmap that’s been enabled by the new network. We’re looking at options for stadium-wide Wi-Fi, investigating frictionless Point of Sale technology, further reinforcing our disaster recovery and scaling our connectivity out beyond the building itself. Telstra will be a key partner in those activities and we’re looking forward to what the future will bring.”

Steve Frost, Head of IT, Adelaide Oval.


ABOUT ADELAIDE OVAL

Built in 1871, Adelaide Oval is one of Australia’s most iconic venues. Located in the heart of the South Australian capital, the stadium has played host to some of our nation’s biggest moments across sport, music and culture.

The Oval has a rich legacy and an esteemed reputation for high-quality, modern experiences for all its patrons, with world-class facilities such as retail and corporate hospitality, cafes, bars, tours, RoofClimb and Australia’s first stadium integrated hotel, Oval Hotel.   

Learn more about Telstra Solutions 

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