Ahead of Super Bowl XLIX, the 2015 NFL Pro Bowl and the 2016 college football championship, CDW (NASDAQ: CDW), a leading provider of technology solutions to business, government, education and healthcare, implemented a new Cisco-based high-density network for reliable, highly secure wireless across the entire University of Phoenix Stadium. The new network – one of the strongest wireless experiences in the NFL – provides fans with robust, secure access on game days and enables anywhere access for the Arizona Cardinals’ coaches, players and staff.
Through a multi-year partnership with the Arizona Cardinals, CDW is the official technology partner for both the team and University of Phoenix Stadium. The new network is part of a stadium technology overhaul that improves the fan experience and business operations for the team through improved networking, data center and unified communications solutions. CDW designed, configured, installed, implemented and will maintain the IT solutions for the stadium and the team’s training facility and headquarters in Tempe. The partnership showcases CDW’s mobility, unified communications and managed services capabilities.
“CDW’s demonstrated success designing and deploying major stadium technology solutions across the country gave us the experience needed to make University of Phoenix Stadium one of the best sports and entertainment venues for fans,” said Neal Campbell, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, CDW. “In addition, our work with the Cardinals to improve business operations for the team shows how sports organizations – like any large enterprise – can benefit from business technology solutions to improve operational efficiency.”
Reliable, Highly Secure Wireless Network
CDW executed the wireless implementation in less than three months to ensure the stadium technology was ready to kick off the 2014 season. The Cisco Connected Stadium Wi-Fi network solution, which has been installed in more than 75 venues globally, provides reliable, highly secure access across the 1.6 million-square-foot stadium, and will soon provide access in the outdoor concourse and parking lots – an additional 8.9 million square feet. CDW has full-time staff on site to help ensure seamless operation.
CDW’s wireless implementation demonstrates its mobility expertise in what is truly the ultimate BYOD environment – 63,400 fans, about 30 percent of whom will use at least one mobile device during an event. For major events such as the Super Bowl, the stadium’s capacity expands to 72,200 seats. Compared with the stadium’s previous Wi-Fi implementation, CDW’s solution has seven times as many access points throughout the stadium and 10 times as much bandwidth available for fans.
“We’ve seen a huge growth in demand among our fan base for in-stadium Wi-Fi,” said Mark Feller, vice president of technology, Arizona Cardinals. “The expectations for wireless network access have changed dramatically since the stadium was built in 2006. With this overhaul, we wanted to not only meet expectations, but also exceed them – we wanted to really do it right and make it a great experience for our fans.”
A Cisco Mobility Services Engine (MSE) platform helps the team increase visibility into the network, customize location-based mobile services and strengthen security. CDW added a fully redundant intrusion prevention system, Cisco Sourcefire®, for added network security. The solution is designed to identify not only the existence of threats on the network, but also their exact locations on individual devices for targeted, quick resolution.
“Before we had this system, we could tell when we had a threat on the network, but we had to spend a lot of time trying to track it down,” Feller said. “Now, when we get a threat notification, we know exactly what it is and where it is so that we can resolve it immediately. It saves us a lot of time on maintenance and troubleshooting and frees us up to focus on IT innovation.”
CDW also upgraded the team’s Cisco Unified Communications solution to provide next-generation functionality for internal team communications across the stadium and Tempe training facility. The solution enables seamless communication via voice, video, messaging, mobility and Web conferencing so that the team’s staff can easily interact with customers and each other from any location, improving productivity and efficiency. Additionally, CDW is implementing a new Cisco WebEx® Meeting system, which will soon support up to 50 concurrent connections for staff to take face-to-face video calls in high definition.
CDW also provided the team with Adobe Creative Cloud for teams licenses, which the Cardinals are using to create everything from season ticket artwork to magazines and autographed cards. As the licensing allows a variety of users to access all of the Adobe Creative tools, the team can easily train additional employees to use the software, and plans to create more interactive Web and video-based materials moving forward.
“We wanted to be able to use our network to connect our fans, our staff and our buildings in new ways,” Feller said. “CDW brought more people and more questions and answers to the table than any other technology solutions provider we considered. As a result, our implementation was smoother and faster than we ever expected. CDW was committed to the project from the start.”
CDW is a leading provider of technology solutions to business, government, education and healthcare. A Fortune 500 company, CDW was founded in 1984 and employs approximately 7,200 coworkers. For the trailing twelve months ended September 30, 2014, the company generated net sales of more than $11.7 billion.