Boasting a capacity for 82,300 people, Croke Park stadium is one of the largest stadiums in Europe. It’s home to the Gaelic games, headquarters the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), and hosts numerous high-profile international sporting, cultural, and music events. And now, within this urban test bed infrastructure lies the perfect Internet of Things (IoT) microcosm: a true “smart stadium.”
The Croke Park Smart Stadium project is a collaboration between GAA, Dublin City University (DCU), Intel, and Microsoft to further the innovation around IOT. Intel has strategically positioned sensors and gateways throughout the stadium. These gateways compute and communicate with the sensors, collecting enormous amounts of diverse types of data and storing them on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. Researchers at DCU are using the Azure IoT Suite to analyze that data and then create dashboards that provide stadium management with real, actionable insights. These insights have enabled them to improve fan experiences, foster better relations with the local community, reduce their carbon footprint, and ensure a safe experience on some of their tourist attractions while driving efficiencies and cost-effective stadium management. The addition of Windows 10 IoT will enable the integration of new devices and scenarios.
Laura Clifford, Commercial Development and Engagement, Research & Enterprise Hub, Dublin City University, led the effort to help interested companies learn about and participate in the project. “We’ve had more than 30 companies actively involved with us in understanding how they could potentially deploy their pre-commercial IoT technologies here at Croke Park,” she said. Many of those partners are building their devices on Windows 10 IoT.
The team is beginning to see their collective vision play out with insights like the following:
Measuring noise levels – Stadium noise levels are monitored in real time so the stadium can ensure they are in compliance with parameters established by the county.
Keeping perfect pitch – With Azure IoT Suite, the team takes data into machine learning algorithms and analyzes it for patterns to predict where to light the pitch with heat lamps at specific times of the day for optimal growth and real savings for the stadium owners.
Wind monitoring – Croke Park’s Skyline tour offers spectacular views of the city from a top the stadium-17 stories up-where it can be very windy. By monitoring wind speeds, stadium staff can make informed decisions on whether it’s safe for a Skyline tour to proceed.
Monitoring the crowd – Using CCTV footage, which is digitized and analyzed in the cloud, the team examines crowd movement within the stadium to inform logistics, event management, and health and safety initiatives.
Detecting flood probability – Advanced water-level sensors in the drainage systems around the stadium quickly detect flood risk. This real – time, localized data is merged with historic rainfall levels and pre-existing flood and track analysis to determine the probability of flooding.
Patrick Ward, IoT Principal Solutions Specialist, Microsoft Ireland, says: “Windows 10 IoT brings a common deployment and management framework across all devices, so it lends itself really well to an IoT-based project like this.”
“Microsoft is working with partners like Intel, DCU, and GAA around the globe to accelerate innovation around IoT, bringing the concepts to market in test beds like Croke Park,” comments Ward.
Rodney Clark, GM IoT Device Experience at Microsoft, says: “Projects like Croke Park are critical for us; they allow us to accelerate time to market, extending great partnerships that didn’t previously exist, that enable customers and partners to realize the benefits of data and insights that they drive from the cloud.”
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