Given the opportunity to work with this exciting, innovative, new TELUS team was an opportunity we couldn’t turn down. The Digital Fan Experience team was being formed and we were all going to be a part of it from day one.
In the summer of 2011, TELUS began a journey to bring world class technology to BC Place. The Stadium had already been through a renovation for the 2010 Winter Olympics, however, in addition to replacing the roof, the technology infrastructure was in need of significant upgrades. TELUS was going to design, implement, project manage, and provide fully managed support for all the technology implemented. That included 800 WiFi access points, 100 cellular antennas, 500 kilometres of fiber optic strands, 186 kilometres of cat6E, LAN, UPS systems, Optik TV, phone system upgrade, three 30ft x 50ft HD screens outside the stadium, 1150 monitors and Cisco StadiumVision.
When the Digital Fan Experience team started in August 2011, the challenge at that time was that there was no roof on the building and completion of the new retractable roof had been delayed. This was making it hard to install the electrical components without them suffering the effects of our soggy climate. The first event was a BC Lions game, on September 30, followed just two days later by a Whitecaps game, and it was fast approaching.
While everyone was waiting on the installation of the monitors and servers, it gave the Digital Fan Experience team time to immerse themselves in the video and digital content distribution solution called Cisco StadiumVision. BC Place, Canada’s largest stadium, was going to be the first in Canada to use StadiumVision. The team worked in collaboration with the Cisco technicians to learn and configure the system and then design and deploy the first event scripts. These scripts control the broadcast to 1150 monitors in the concourses, on video walls, stats screens, concessions, ticket offices, in suites, and the three large digital billboards outside the stadium. Hardware installation was still in the works in the days leading up to the Lions game and with that came lots of testing and tweaking and many long days.
On the afternoon of September 30, the exhausted yet excited team, went back to the stadium after working long into the early morning hours. It was time to shine. We were going to be a part of creating an amazing and memorable experience for over 50,000 fans. The stadium looked great and the energy in the building was electric. Luckily it was a clear night so the stadium was able to show off the new retractable roof as part of the opening ceremony. It was then, standing there with all the fans, watching the roof open for the first time, that we stopped to take it all in. We had done it and all in record time. It was worth it, to see the final product of our team’s labour.
The Digital Fan Experience team fulfilled 10 events in the first month, one of the busiest months to date. Since then, we’ve managed 140 events over 208 days and have been a part of some pretty amazing events at the stadium, from the 99th Grey Cup, only two months after opening, to Roger Waters, Paul McCartney and the unique Times of India Film Awards. This TELUS team has played an important role in leveraging technology to enhance the experience for every fan in attendance at those events!