Telstra And Samsung Bring 'Smart Seats' To Melbourne's Etihad Stadium

Etihad Stadium's Medallion Club Membership is about to get a whole lot fancier, with "Smart Seats" that let you watch video action of the game you're attending — and even switch to thrills and spills from other AFL games.

The in-seat tablets, launched in conjunction with Telstra and Samsung, are part of the next phase of Etihad Stadium's multi-million connected stadium fit out, which is making the venue one of the most technically advanced and connected across the globe.

Image: Nils Versemann / Shutterstock.com

The unveiling of the first batch of luxury leather Smart Seats was at the AFL Round 12 match between Essendon and Hawthorn on Friday 10 June. Progressively up to 1000 Medallion Club seats, at Level 2 during 2016 will feature the tablets.

The Smart Seat tablet displays and device management system have been developed in collaboration with Samsung Electronics Australia. The seats utilise Samsung's Galaxy Tab S2 9.7-inch tablet range to manage and deliver content.

"The Smart Seat solution developed with Etihad Stadium and Telstra involves the creation of an ecosystem of hardware, applications, and software security to support a rich visual experience directly from the stadium seat,” said Danny Mandrides, Head of Mobility at Samsung Electronics Australia.

In addition to a planned roll-out of 1000 Tab S2 devices, Samsung has provided technical support to help manage tablet content, app updates, and security through the Samsung Knox mobile security platform.

The tablets will also offer you access to all Fox Sports and free-to-air channels along with Sky Racing, a broadcast of the game and scoreboard feed. You can also keep the kids entertained if the game is not enough, with tablets providing access to the Nickelodeon and Nickelodeon Junior channels.

Telstra has provided an IP Cisco network to enable the new Etihad Stadium Medallion Club Smart seats along with the tablet arm, casing and Samsung Tablets. Telstra Partner Appscore has also built the bespoke system to support the streaming and entertainment available on the tablets.

At the beginning of 2015 Etihad Stadium, also in partnership with Telstra, launched a new stadium wireless network, mobile application and Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) system. The venue unveiled more than 1400 IPTV High Definition screens and more than 700 high density WiFi access points to provide fast, and free, internet connections to each and every fan.

The technology will replace some existing video seats, which Etihad Stadium acting CEO Michael Green said is raising the bar — combining the very best of being at a live event with the great recent advances made through technology.

"Under our roof, the atmosphere is already fantastic but now we can offer fans a live match along with HD replay action, virtually in the palm of their hand," Mr Green said.

"We have canvassed the globe and looked at technology at some of the world's great venues and ultimately in association with our partners Telstra and Samsung, we believe we have produced a global first product which takes the in stadium sports' experience to another level.

"Etihad Stadium set its sights three years ago on becoming Australia’s most connected stadium and we feel this advancement puts us ahead of the game," Mr Green said.

Telstra Executive Director Telstra Business, David Coventry said expectations of fans and how they want to connect at events are changing.

"Fans want to watch live sport but also be in touch with the outside world; keeping up to date with other sports, news and using social media. This, new game day technology, combined with Etihad Stadium’s free WiFi will continue to enrich the fan experience,” said Mr Coventry.

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