Andy SteenJuly 13, 2018

2018 SEAT: Where All-Star Innovation Next-Gen Communications Meet Up

Being an All-Star is everything. Often, becoming an All-Star is about scoring—but it can also be about generally good offense, leadership, or a solid defense. In the world of sports technology, making it to the all-star team of tech elites means ongoing practice and a solid strategy for making sporting events better for teams, players, and fans through next-generation products and solutions.

Continuing to showcase innovation, Avaya is gearing up for our 4th year sponsoring the Sports and Entertainment Alliance in Technology (SEAT) Conference and Exhibition. This is where All-Star players (aka the leaders, the dreamers, the decision makers of Sports & Entertainment) convene for an annual throwdown to share ideas, insights, resources and strategies and to empower other All-Stars across the world. The 2018 @SEATConference in Dallas July 21-24 brings together international leaders across all leagues, venues, and colleges sharing the most innovative technology solutions, lessons learned, and case studies.

In preparation for the main event, #AvayaSports scouted out some of the hot topics in this year’s starting lineup:

#Data Big. Secure. And Otherwise.

First, data mining is not new. Analytics are also not new. But the ways we aggregate, assess, and then act on data is constantly changing. Systems are faster, smarter, more robust … and as much there’s just so much data. But the concern should be picking out what data matters, and determining what to do with it.

When you think about it, data sources are coming from all over: our phones, hotspots and access points, interactive signage, networking equipment, social media, ticketing and call centers, content distribution, concessions, wearables, connected devices, and even other online data systems (e.g., fantasy sports).

For the past three years, data warehousing has been one of the most popular topics at SEAT, but with increased focus on security (GDPR going into effect), data security will surely be a trend this year.

David Chavez, Avaya VP Architecture & Innovation, joins a panel of industry experts moderated by Charlie Shin, VP Data & Analytics at Major League Soccer, to address “Data Privacy, Compliancy & Ethics” in the sports world. The discussion will focus on new customer data protection regulations and their impact on Sports & Entertainment’s five Ws in data privacy.

But, when it comes to data in the sports world, companies are really trying to predict outcomes, make staff/operations more efficient, enhance performance, keep fans engaged, and not sell more, but sell the right stuff … more. With data serving as an influencer for critical decisions, it needs to be protected like any other asset.

#eSports and the Wild, Wild West

Some believe we are at the intersection of traditional sports and esports. In fact, venues are specifically being built for and augmented to fit an esport gameday—like the eSports Arena with multiple locations in Orange County, Oakland, and Las Vegas. Even more recently, an entertainment park named Planet Oasis is slated to build a 30k square foot esports arena in Columbus, Ohio that will cover 350 acres completely dedicated to these types of events.

These video gaming events are big business and exponentially growing as gamification, competition, and digitization spread their wings. By 2021, the number of frequent eSports viewers and enthusiasts is projected to reach 250 million.

Between Big Data and eSports, there are similarities in building fan bases, generating revenue, channeling media, selling sponsorships, and so on. Analysts are using big data to better understand the fans, learn how to engage with them, and predict the future dynamic growth of the esports industry at the local, collegiate level and globally. In fact, eSports will be an officially recognized competition at the 2020 Asia Games, so we can only anticipate the increase in brands, stars, athletes, media, and analytics companies that will want to get in on the action.

#DigitalScreens Prepare to Be Amazed

Sports brands and venue operators are always looking for ways to enhance the fan experience. Of course, VR and AR are pathways that can be and are explored, but they are still in their infancy in how they will truly impact on-site experiences. Which is why digital signage and screens are still hard-pressed to deliver on the promise.

You must be focused on bringing the stadium to life. Digital signage installations are shifting toward ways to influence or increase revenue opportunities. These include creatine more interactive engagements working with 3D immersion. And on top of it all: gathering analytics.

There’s always social too. That’s a staple for digital signs … because everyone wants the 15 minutes of fame. Next-gen digital signage like Avaya’s Fan Engagement Wall solution aims to incorporate everything into a visually stunning interactive exhibit that serves as two-way or even multi-way communication among the fans, the brand, smart devices, sponsors, and more.

#AI Automation, Engagement, and Personalization

Globally, the professional sports market is worth over $90 billion. This spans fantasy sports, merchandise, concessions, ticketing—the whole operation. But when it comes to selling, don’t you always want to find ways to sell more? Sell more experiences, sell more hot dogs, sell more #hashtags, sell more loyalty? What we’re after is a truly smart stadium experience for more powerful fan experiences, increased levels of safety, and a new intelligence that becomes a part of the venue where we get to the point of predicting and influencing fan behavior.

You’ve got to continually be finding and refining reasons for people to attend. And the more we know about our fans, the better we can cater to them and create those engagement opportunities that lead to wow moments. This brings us to the IoS—or Internet of Stadiums—where, just like Avaya, you’re connecting everyone to everything.

When everyone is connected to everything, communication is taking place. To create smart fan engagement experiences for the future, you must have the right communications being enabled, at the right time, on the right channel for each and every connection.

Innovations in chat, voice, and AI are putting communications at the center of these experiences and connections.

#ThoughtLeadership Paving the Way

All the technologies, solutions, and concepts above wouldn’t be made possible without some component of thought leadership, valuable conversations, and innovation. We firmly believe a solid foundation for enabling and uplifting thought leadership from within an organization is one of the biggest trends shaping the landscape. It’s the hotbed for creativity and collaboration.

Thought leadership is about increased transparency and being a champion. Thought leaders from B2B and B2C brands are delving into the world of sports to share their stories and reveal ways their organizations are empowering change. The aspiration, accomplishment, and celebration of the betterment of the sports industry is a good goal—but crafting your narrative and fine-tuning it to roll with digitization and a smart connected world is a great goal.

We’re excited to see what comes out of the 2018 SEAT conference as we join our peers to explore technology, marketing, and fan engagement solutions in the big world of sports and entertainment.

Learn more about SEAT. And to see case studies about stadiums and arenas near you, visit

2018 SEAT: Where All-Star Innovation <amp></amp> Next-Gen Communications Meet Up

Andy Steen

Andrea "Andy" Steen specializes in leading internal and external strategic communication initiatives with an expertise in managing and developing high-performing communication teams and social, digital, mobile-led business solutions. She also leads Avaya's Sports Marketing Team. Follow her at @andydances.

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