All Blacks Rugby Experience Gets a Boost from Telecom

This time last year I was not a happy chappy.  If you follow this link to my blog post you’ll see I had a good old moan about the smartphone experience at Eden Park during the Bledisloe Cup match betwen New Zealand and Australia. It was disheartening, but let’s face it, 12 months is a long time in tech and when I head back to Eden Park for the same fixture tomorrow night, I’m expecting a completely different experience.

Telecom is set to unveil a groundbreaking technology experience which will greatly enhance the game for a lucky group of customers.

I’ll give you a rundown of how it works.

The Telecom Treats technology is Smartphone based. It uses a mobile web app which has been developed specially to deliver a unique Telecom customer experience at three All Blacks games (in Auckland 25th August; Wellington 8th September and 15th September, Dunedin).

Approximately 700 Telecom customers are being invited to celebrate their birthdays by attending these games with a friend or partner.

First up, the customers receive a notification of the event on their Smartphones. This invites them to download the mobile web app which is hooked up to the backend server system.

The app contains a ticket in barcode form which allows them to enter the stadium by scanning their handsets.  In Wellington and Dunedin, an iPhone based ticket scanning system will be used.

Scanning the ticket kicks off another part of the process. Before arriving, they can place an order for food and drink through their app.  When they scan their tickets at the gate, a signal is sent to the kitchen initiating their order and the food is then delivered hot to their seat. This sounds great doesn’t it? Like Gold Class for Rugby games.

Next up, there is a free wifi network around the guest’s seats. The app can now be used to stream a live audio encoding of the game courtesy of an arrangement with Radio Sport. Using their headphones they will be able to hear the commentators and the referee.

Finally, the app gives them to ability to view live match data feeds from Sportal, check in to Facebook and vote for their player of the day.

The mobile web app and supporting in-game technology was developed by Telecom and Satellite Media.  They hope the experience created might one day be the norm at major NZ sporting and entertainment events.

Here’s hoping it all goes right on the night – I’m certainly looking forward to trying it (and will report back with pics and notes). Oh, and go the AB’s!

Best of Nights, Worst of Nights – Eden Park Fails the 3G Test

Just imagine it.  In a few weeks time we will throw our arms open and welcome a tidal wave of smartphone toting Rugby World Cup visitors to our New Zealand shores.  As they visit the stadia around the country they will no doubt be keen to “check in” and let their friends and family at home know how much they are enjoying themselves. Well, good luck to them.  If last Saturday is anything to go by, New Zealand will be the land that time forgot when it comes to mobile data and social media.

My wife, son and I were lucky enough to be in the stands at Eden Park on Saturday as the All Blacks overran the Wallabies.  The first sign that all was not right in the mobile world came when I took a pic of them with the AB’s warming up in the background and tried to post it to Foursquare via my iPhone 4 (on the Vodafone network).

10 minutes later it was still trying to upload…

After we got to our seats the big screen implored us to check in at Eden Park via Facebook. Well, I tried big screen, but unfortunately the 3G was swamped and I couldn’t get a page up.  Then I tried to stream audio of the game via the Tune In Radio app (that in itself must be a definition of madness given the cirmustances).

A picture can express a thousand words so I’ve posted a video diary of the night below – iPhone 4 styles.

I’m looking forward to the RWC 2011 and I really hope the carriers in this country give some thought to adding capacity around the main venues at game time.  It’s 2011, the year of the mobile internet and it would be a shame if this country can’t capitalise on our “kiwi ingenuity” and deliver an exceptional digital experience to our visitors.  I would be interested to hear if anyone has information on how the networks intend to address this.

And to all the rugby tourists about to arrive in New Zealand, we still do a lovely line in postcards, I’m sure your families will be delighted to hear from you in this way.