The 94 luxury suites have been equipped with Hitachi ePlate handheld computer that allow fans to communicate with each other in the stadium and with fans watching or listening to the game at home through instant messaging. The network, designed by 3Com Professional Services consultants, also provides 49ers game information, statistics from other football and baseball games, weather, traffic and other information. 3Com and marchFIRST, together with software infrastructure provider TIBCO Software Inc. and content provider Screaming Media, are developing other applications, including e-commerce and video streaming, to enhance spectators' experience at the stadium.
"This network is a great example of the way technology can enhance people's lives," said Bruce Claflin, 3Com president and chief operating officer. "This first phase will allow people access to information and communication they want to have during the game. Later applications such as e-commerce and streaming video will complete the experience. We believe this system brings a whole new level of enjoyment to the fans."
Wireless solutions for entertainment venues are one of several initiatives developed by the 3Com and marchFIRST alliance. The companies formed a strategic alliance in December 1999 to develop, market and deliver e-business solutions that help business win in their market. On September 25, the companies announced their first jointly developed application, Contact Advantage(tm), a turnkey call center solution for small- to mid-sized businesses.
"Today's launch of the 3Com Park network showcases marchFIRST's wireless expertise and our shared commitment with 3Com to creating difference-making solutions," said Robert Bernard, marchFIRST chairman and chief executive officer. "Coupled with the commerce and video applications we're developing, this wireless network has the potential to transform the way fans worldwide enjoy sporting events."
The initiative illustrates the everyday benefits of wireless technology, one of 3Com's five strategic high-growth technology areas, which includes wireless, broadband access, home networking, LAN telephony and Voice over Internet Protocol.
Since the announcement of the planned 3Com Park wireless system in August, other sports franchises throughout the country have expressed interest. 3Com and marchFIRST also are researching other sports applications for their wireless communications system.
"We are delighted to be the first team in any league to offer this system to fans," said Peter Harris, president of the San Francisco 49ers. "Whether it's gathering statistics on the players or communicating with fans outside the stadium, the system adds to the enjoyment of the game. As other applications go live such as purchasing food or souvenirs from your seat, the experience at 3Com Park will get even better."
News, photos provided by Newstream
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