Solving Cities

'Smart stadium' project inspired by city tech

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IBM is using smart city technology to make a stadium in Miami more efficient.

Any given Sunday, during the fall and winter months, tens of thousands of football fans pack into stadiums throughout cities in the United States, transforming stadiums into mini-cities.

To help make stadiums smarter, IBM is using their Intelligent Operations Center for Smarter Cities to help make stadiums more efficient.

IBM announced that it will first put its smart city technology to work in Miami's Sun Life Stadium, which on game day can seat as many as 75,000 people

"Stadiums such as Sun Life are microcosms, akin to cities, with similar requirements for services such as water, energy, transportation, communication and public safety," said Gerry Mooney, GM, IBM Smarter Cities. "IBM is working around the world to make stadiums smarter by infusing intelligent automation that senses and acts to improve conditions including rerouting traffic, predicting overflows, ensuring public safety and preventing outages."

In Miami that will mean greater insight into stadium-related analytics for the fan -- like parking data. And stadium managers will be able to track visitor traffic, monitor inclement weather, and analyze visitor spending habits in real-time, increasing efficiency and reducing costs.

From an urban design perspective, the stadium isn't all that smart (though similar to other football stadiums). The stadium is on the outskirts of the city and surrounded by massive parking lots. There are a few bus lines that run less than a mile from the stadium, but mass transit isn't integrated into the stadium design. It's not great urban planning, but you aren't going to fix it at this point. So making it easier and more efficient to find parking and use less energy will be a win for the stadium and should make for a better fan experience.

Photo: Bob B. Brown/Flickr

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Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure