Cisco Systems (CSCO - Free Report) recently announced that it was joining forces with Verizon Communications (VZ - Free Report) to provide sports fans with enriched in-stadium experiences as crowd entertainment slowly picks up pace.
Cisco will combine Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network and 5G mobile edge computing (MEC) capabilities with its Sports and Entertainment solutions’ portfolio to boost fan experience on site.
This year most of the sports leagues had either cancelled the tournaments or conducted the games without fans due to coronavirus crisis. However, life is limping back to normalcy and even fans are now being allowed at stadiums.
This has bolstered the demand for new solutions that ensure safety of fans and curb the virus transmission risk at such large sporting and entertainment locations.
Momentum in Innovative Solutions Favors Prospects
Cisco will assimilate Verizon’s Edge interface with many of its solutions including DNA spaces for location analytics; to provide people present at the stadium with information about waiting time pertaining to restrooms, check-in counters as well as at food and beverage stands; to maintain social distancing requirements.
Further, the latest solutions will help the stadium staff manage the crowd through digital signage to minimise virus transmission risk.
Cisco’s Sports and Entertainment offerings, which includes the likes of Connected Stadium and Cisco Connected Stadium Wi-Fi solutions, offer elevated fan experience. Meanwhile, Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network features low-latency, high throughput, and improved wireless connectivity in real time that will augment fan engagement at the stadiums.
Notably, MEC capabilities leverage cloud technology to process and store data closer to the edge of a user’s network. This lowers data transmission time and allows customers to fully utilize low latency and higher bandwidth advantages of 5G networks.
These endeavours will help Cisco gain ground in the fast growing sports solutions market, which requires an overhaul in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis.
Abundant Growth Opportunities Bode Well
Evolving dynamics in the sports vertical has heightened the proliferation of technology in the space. Per a ResearchAndMarkets report, the sports technology market is expected to witness a CAGR of 21.4% between 2020 to 2026.
Latest technologies for assessing player performance, training players, improving stadium management and security along with enhancing spectators’ experience are gaining momentum.
Per a Capgemini Research Institute report, 69% of fans stated that use of newer technologies has augmented the game experience for them. Consequently, stadiums and entertainment venues are upgrading their technological infrastructure to improve fans’ experience. Per the report, fans are increasingly utilising services like game updates on mobile devices during the live match, while accessing the stadium wi-fi for posting updates on social media.
Moreover, due to coronavirus crisis, the digital reimagining of live sporting events has been expedited. This has resulted in higher adoption of innovative technologies and sparked need for better network infrastructure amid COVID-19-induced digitization.
Increasing proliferation of ML, AI, and sports analytics to harness the power of on-field and off-field data to boost player and fan experience has attracted not just Cisco but other tech bigwigs in this space.
International Business Machines Corporation (IBM - Free Report) utilised Watson’s AI capabilities to boost digital experience for fans as United States Tennis Association (“USTA”) decided to conduct this year’s US Open without fans present at the stadium.
Likewise, Microsoft (MSFT - Free Report) also leveraged its communications platform — Teams app — to provide National Football league (NFL) fans with enriched digital experiences during games this year.
We believe the rapid deployment of 5G will further speed up the technological proliferation in the sports vertical.
Integration of Cisco’s IoT expertise with Verizon’s robust 5G networking exposure augurs well in this regard and will drive demand for Cisco’s Sports and Entertainment solutions in the coming days.
Cisco currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
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