IN DEPTH: Tottenham Hotspur has built tech into the design of new stadium and believes HPE networking capabilities will bring first league title since 1961
“There’s a huge difference between putting in Wi-Fi and high density Wi-Fi. It’s a science and there are physics. Looking at the US was a good thing to do.
“We are partners with the NFL and there are a very defined set of requirements to host NFL and the Superbowl. If you can meet the requirements of the NFL you’re going in the right direction.”
Katwa suggests there are just a handful of clubs in the Premier League who have technology as a priority and there is a certain degree of knowledge sharing between himself and his counterparts.
Building a stadium in 2017 means Spurs can futureproof their stadium by integrating equipment into the design, rather than just “bolting” it on like some other clubs who built new grounds in the 1990s and 2000s.
“When you start with a blank sheet of paper and you have the opportunity to start designing with tech as a mandate you have a lot of opportunities,” said Katwa.
To this end, it has selected Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) to provide the IT infrastructure that will power these applications.
HP in its former guises sponsored Spurs in the late 1990s and again in the early 2010s (it inherited the second commercial deal from Autonomy), but the two organisations insist that this relationship had no bearing on the decision and that HPE was selected because of its technological capabilities –specifically HPE Aruba’s networking equipment.
Switches, access points and other infrastructure are to be deployed across the stadium, allowing various software layers to power the intelligent applications. Aside from the consumer-facing benefits of the deal, the infrastructure will power access and operational applications such as ticketing, security and even electric turnstiles.
But there are also opportunities beyond the stadium. Tottenham have a global fanbase, the Premier League is watched around the world and the NFL partnership means the US is a key focus. The insights gained can be used to reach out to them via social media and other marketing efforts.
HPE sees the partnership as a high profile case study for digital transformation and edge computing, claiming the same principles could be applied to other public venues, hospitals and the public sector.
Indeed, for HPE’s UK managing director Mark Waters, the partnership is an example of a British company scaling up to compete in a worldwide market.
“Digital strategy is a business fundamental,” he said “It is non-negotiable if you want to compete and is prevalent in every sector. Football is no exception and this is why a truly innovative stadium is so compelling: Spurs are a leading team in the Premier League and HPE is world leading in the intelligent edge space.”
“Creating the most technologically advanced stadium in the game from the ground up in London is not an opportunity that comes around very often.
“Spurs are using technology in their business model to try and take on the rest of Europe [in football].”