Verizon Business opens gates to international stadium, deploys SD-WAN at Bertelsmann

Business services division of US comms giant announces dedicated strategy aimed at stadiums and venues located in Europe and Asia Pacific, offering specific technologies designed to benefit their requirements

As it begins to ramp up 5G-based enterprise services in the key territories of Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, Verizon Business has announced a dedicated network strategy, specifically designed for stadium and venue customers using its private 5G technology, and in a  deeper foray into software-defined wide area networks (SD-WANs), it has become Bertelsmann’s global network transformation partner.

Outlining the rationale for the stadium announcement, Verizon said event venues require a high level of technology and core network infrastructures, giving owners the opportunity to unlock offerings that impact fan experience, public safety, access control, concessions and crowd management analytics.

In addition, the company expressed confidence that next-generation technologies such as its private 5G offerings could provide innovative services within specific venue spaces for front-end and back-office functions; ultimately redefining the future of sports and venue entertainments.

The announcement builds on Verizon’s network-as-a-service foundation and supports its private networks, mobile edge compute and business services vectors of growth. Verizon has already delivered networking offerings at 200 sports stadiums and event venues in the US.

“You cannot underestimate the impact transformational technologies such as 5G will have on innovation across the entertainment sports industries,” said Tami Erwin, CEO of Verizon Business, commenting on the stadium deal.

“For years, we’ve been collaborating with facility leaders, vendors and fans to reimagine fan experiences,” she said. “We understand the potential of these technologies; from deploying innovative fan experiences, shortening queue times, using analytics for fan safety or streamlining matchday operations. We have the experience, and now, an international ecosystem of partners aligned with our organisation who are just as committed to living up to the passion of fans who build memories at these venues.”

Working with technology partner Extreme Networks – which has recently announced deployments at the Berlin Olympiastadion – Verizon will deliver high-density (HD) Wi-Fi to future event venues.

Read more about SD-WAN and 5G

Extreme announced it has selected Verizon Business as its technology deployment partner for its planned roll-out of Wi-Fi services at Manchester United Football Club’s Old Trafford stadium. The two companies have committed to providing HD-Wi-Fi connectivity to enhance the club’s digital services, such as mobile ticketing and touchless transactions.

“As leagues continue to evolve, the network will permeate every aspect of the in-stadium experience, from biometrics, mobile sports betting and mobile concessions,” said Extreme Networks chief operating officer Norman Rice. “Additionally, the ability to unlock network analytics to better optimise fan experiences will be a game changer.

“Extreme and Verizon have a proven track record of collaborating to create best-in-class experiences for NASCAR, the NFL and NHL at some of the world’s most iconic stadiums, venues and events. Today we announced that we have selected Verizon as our deployment partner to roll out wireless connectivity solutions for Manchester United at Old Trafford, as part of Extreme’s relationship with the EPL club. We’re excited to partner and further extend that expertise into EMEA and APAC.”

Bertelsmann deal

Meanwhile, the deal with Bertelsmann, the second such contract with the media, services and education company, will aim to transform the firm’s global network infrastructure, becoming one of the company’s global network transformation partners.

Headquartered in Germany, Bertelsmann is one of the world’s largest media, services and education companies, operating in about 50 countries around the world. Its subsidiaries include the entertainment group RTL Group, Penguin Random House, BMG, service provider Arvato, the Bertelsmann Printing Group, the Bertelsmann Education Group and Bertelsmann Investments. The company has around 130,000 employees and has generated revenues of €17.3bn.

Reliability, security, stability, and innovation were said to be high priorities on Bertelsmann’s agenda when reselecting its network partner. Verizon will deploy network as a service, which focuses on a globally managed SD-WAN underpinned by virtualised security functions across Bertelsmann’s operations in the Americas, as well as subsidiaries across the APAC and EMEA regions.

The SD-WAN network has security built into its core, using a SASE framework to provide a universally distributed, identity-centric networking and security platform that ensures Bertelsmann’s users and devices across all locations are securely connected.

“A stable and secure global network backbone is key for our business to be successful and harness the new business opportunities the agile, digital world offers,” said Jochen Grochtdreis, senior vice-president of corporate IT at Bertelsmann.

“Our business is hugely dependent on the quality of our network. It was crucial we aligned with a technology partner we trusted, had proven global experience and a track record within our group, with a shared vision as to how the network would support the evolving transformation within our business. Verizon Business has been our trusted network partner for the past five years and we are confident they are also the right partner for our future.”

Read more on Software-defined networking (SDN)

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