The San Francisco 49ers have gone live with a network of beacons that covers all 1.85 million square feet of their football stadium, TechCrunch reported.
The beacon network, with an accompanying smartphone app, is designed to help crowds at the 68,000-seat Levi’s Stadium quickly and accurately find concessions, restrooms and seats, regardless of how deep into the stadium attendees are. In the near future, the network will also enable location-aware push messages for specific events and offers inside the stadium at game time.
Enterprise Wi-Fi provider Aruba Networks (and Meridian, the software company it acquired) has been testing the system for weeks and officially went live on Tuesday (Nov. 4).
The company says it is one of the first indoor positioning systems installed in such a large space, and consists of two kinds of custom-built beacons made to Apple iBeacon standards — making it possible to more tightly control the devices — and a new adjacent Wi-Fi system. (Some of the beacons plug directly into the Wi-Fi nodes, letting them communicate directly.) A remote software management console to monitor and maintain the beacons, check battery life and issue firmware updates is slated to be added early in 2015.
While the new system is likely to mean faster trips to the bathroom and a straighter line to beer and brats on game day, it also sets up an obvious joke for tech-savvy fans in the Silicon Valley stadium. As one TechCrunch commenter wrote, “If only they’d use these to find the @#$%! endzone.”