Screens to help get information to patrons

Dunedin Venues Management Ltd communications and media manager Jo Scully uses a portable tablet...
Dunedin Venues Management Ltd communications and media manager Jo Scully uses a portable tablet to adjust a suite of new screens installed at the Forsyth Barr Stadium. Photo by Jane Dawber.
Lost children are now only a button-press away from being reunited with their parents at Forsyth Barr Stadium, in Dunedin.

And stadium management are hoping an end to after-match congestion, and a much-needed boost to advertising revenue, might also only be the touch of a button away, too.

Dunedin Venues Management Ltd, which runs the stadium, unveiled a new $1.3 million Cisco StadiumVision system at the ITM Cup rugby match between Otago and Northland, on Saturday.

The system includes operating software and 163 Samsung screens - of between 31 and 52 inches - inside the roofed venue, bringing the total number of screens mounted within the venue to 220.

The screens and operating system were paid for last year, but installation was completed only in recent days, after the last of the new screens arrived, DVML chief executive David Davies said.

The system allowed advertising, public address and other information - including a live feed of on-field action - to be displayed and changed in real-time, at the push of a button, across the stadium.

Dunedin's stadium is only the second in New Zealand to use the system, behind Eden Park in Auckland, and following examples at Lord's, in London, and Yankee Stadium, in New York.

DVML staff control the system, which is linked to the venue's two scoreboards and two giant screens, using portable tablets or smartphones, he said.

That meant staff could input real-time advice to fans, guiding them to the best exits at busy times, or providing waiting times for buses or taxis.

It would also allow staff to direct hungry fans to leftover food at the end of matches, and reunite lost children with their parents, he said.

DVML staff would be able to take photos of lost children and flash their images and other details, including a contact telephone number, on to the screens.

A key advantage of the system was being able to boost revenue from food and beverage sales and by selling advertising time, Mr Davies said.

"Eden Park have seen a huge hike in their food and beverage sales.

"If we couldn't have commercialised the opportunity there wouldn't have been much point in doing it."

Mr Davies said the cost of the new system formed part of the $1.9 million loss reported by DVML for the first six months of the 2011-12 year, and did not represent new spending.

He expected the system would pay for itself within four years.

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