König-Pilsener-ARENA

König-Pilsener-ARENA establishes digital platform to create ‘smart venue’ of the future

  • Customer Profile

    The König-Pilsener-ARENA, Oberhausen, is one of the most popular and successful multifunctional arenas in Germany. It opened in 1996 and has a capacity of 12,555. In recent years it has hosted events from Metallica, Elton John, AC/DC, Depeche Mode, and Khalid.
    • Vertical: large public venue
    • Location: Oberhausen, Germany
    • Customer size: capacity of 12,555

    Use Case

    The arena had a fragmented network, with poor connectivity throughout the venue. It wanted to create a high-performance digital platform on which to deliver visitor connectivity, and to add a host of operational functions, generating high-value usage data along the way. Today, by engaging with Aruba, König-Pilsener-ARENA is able to offer some of the best visitor bandwidth of any large venue in Germany. The network is adaptable and easy to manage. It is also generating the granular data to inform future events, promotions, and venue features.

    Requirements

    • Provide simultaneous connectivity for a minimum of 6,500 visitors
    • Simplify network management and supervision from a single platform
    • Create new touchpoints for visitors and generate meaningful data for commercial partners

    Outcomes

    • Enables the venue to scale up bandwidth to 12Mbps per visitor
    • Creates a more dynamic retail environment, with flexible Point of Sale roll-out
    • Generates the data to inform future promotions
    • Enables real-time sales monitoring
    • Provides a digital platform for tour promoters to engage with audiences
    • Establishes world-class connectivity infrastructure, increasing competitivity vs. other venues
    Large public venues have some of the most demanding network challenges in business. Huge spaces stand empty for 90% of the week, then they are packed with thousands of customers for a couple of hours.

    Whether they are there to see sport, music or theatre, those customers want a memorable experience. And, though they come for the main event, each of them wants immediate access to the network and massive bandwidth. “The fact is, people want to be online all the time,” says Henrik Häcker, Managing Director, SMG Entertainment Deutschland GmbH a trademark of ASM Global.

    World-leading connectivity

    König-Pilsener-ARENA is a multipurpose events venue in Oberhausen, Germany, built in 1996. It is part of the giant ASM Global group, which manages more than 300 venues around the world.

    The arena in Oberhausen offers one of the best connectivity experiences of any venue in the group. At peak times, when the venue is filled to its 12,555 capacity, König-Pilsener-ARENA can provide up to 6Mbps of bandwidth, free of charge, in parallel, to every guest.

    “No one was thinking about digitisation when we opened in 1996,” says Häcker. “Today, digital is everything. Our promoters, our operations and our customers demand connectivity.”

    “We looked at four solution providers and Aruba was consistent in its message throughout,” says Hausmann. “They provided us with a clear recommendation, explained what we’d need and kept to their word and delivered.”

    Customers entering König-Pilsener-ARENA in Oberhausen, Germany

    Unifying a disjointed network

    The König-Pilsener-ARENA engaged Aruba in 2017 to overhaul connectivity throughout the venue.

    “At the time we had a disjointed approach, with different access points for retail, for ticketing, and for our offices,” explains Marc Hausmann, IT Manager. “It was horrible to manage and maintain.”

    The solution is now built on 150 Aruba 802.11ac Wave 2 indoor and outdoor access points. High-density 310 series APs for the indoor areas, weatherproof HD 370 series APs and 340 series Smart Rate Unified Campus APs in outdoor areas. Each had to be mapped and directed accurately to deliver a consistent signal and optimal coverage throughout the arena. Aruba 5406R Campus Core and 2930M Campus Edge switches provide the robust wired backbone for the Wi-Fi. The APs are controlled via two Aruba 7210 Mobility Controllers, and a Mobility Master. ArubaOS 8 delivers Zero Touch Provisioning of new components, uninterrupted service during automated live updates and many more capabilities to the IT team. The estate is monitored and managed through AirWave for a single pane of glass experience.

    Staff and corporate network access are secured and provisioned via ClearPass and this service may be extended for public Wi-Fi in the future. Current public Wi-Fi access is contracted to an external third-party provider but is routed to the Aruba network.

    “We looked at four solution providers and Aruba was consistent in its message throughout,” says Hausmann. “They provided us with a clear recommendation, explained what we’d need and kept to their word and delivered. All the others changed their stories along the way.

    “Also, we visited the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara to see Aruba in action. It was clear that if Aruba can work at that scale then they could work here.”

    Free, simple network access for all visitors

    The venue is now able to offer free Wi-Fi to all customers. Access is limited to 30 minutes; customers then have to log in again and see a message from a commercial sponsor.

    The König-Pilsener-ARENA wants to look at usage trends before considering long-term options. It could offer a premium, paid-for service; Häcker says a corporate sponsor is a possibility. With the level of data obtained from the network, the team can start to build strategies and plans around customer, user and crowd engagement and value-add services.

    “Our priority was to make sure the network worked, and that users had the access they needed,” says Häcker. “We’ve seen other venues make big promises and then fail to deliver. That hasn’t happened here.”

    An average event will generate 30,000 logins; the peak has been nearer 100,000 – meaning users are connecting for new, separate 30-minute sessions five times in an evening.

    Spectator films a performance on his mobile phone in a packed König-Pilsener-ARENA

    Online complements the live experience

    Häcker admits to being stunned by the take-up. An average event will generate 30,000 logins; the peak has been nearer 100,000 – meaning users are connecting for new, separate 30-minute sessions five times in an evening.

    “For some, particularly younger audiences, you can’t be at a live event without also being online,” he says. “We see this trend continuing to grow.”

    From a marketing perspective, this generates a huge amount of user data and allows the arena to deliver appropriate commercial messages ahead of every new log in.

    Increasingly, says Häcker, tour promoters want multiple channels to promote their product. One recent tour, sponsored by a European car manufacturer, used the venue’s connectivity platform to promote its new products in connection with a digital and personalized autograph card of the artist.

    “We can now work with partners to create more dynamic, tailored messaging around an event, and for the demographic,” says Häcker.

    Adaptable and quick to change

    The network is also easier to adapt and manage. Hausmann says the solution was designed to provide visitors with 2MB bandwidth, but as usage trends have become more established, the venue can adjust accordingly and in real-time.

    “We’ve gone up to 4MB and 6MB where we’ve needed,” he explains. “For some smaller events, we’ve even stretched to 12MB for 2,000 users and still had plenty of headroom. It’s a lot easier for us to check demand and respond accordingly.”

    The König-Pilsener-ARENA also runs a host of operational functions off the network. All PoS and ticketing at the venue is digital. New retail spots can be set up in moments.

    “We can view sales activity in real-time,” says Hausmann. “If we know there is a busy outlet, we can connect a mobile kiosk in minutes, or set up food trucks outside the arena. The new PoS connects automatically with the Aruba network.”

    “We’ve gone up to 4MB and 6MB where we’ve needed,” he explains. “For some smaller events, we’ve even stretched to 12MB for 2,000 users and still had plenty of headroom. It’s a lot easier for us to check demand and respond accordingly.”

    Thousands of spectators at a boxing match at the König-Pilsener-ARENA

    Creating the venue of the future

    The next phase will be able to layer location-based services, including promotions and signage. The arena sits adjacent to Europe’s largest shopping mall, CentrO, and in one of the most populous areas of Germany. Häcker says there is an opportunity to link a visit to the arena with other retailers and attractions in the area.

    The events industry continues to innovate. Large public venues must prove they can adapt, says Häcker. Virtual reality is coming, he continues. Big stars, not keen on doing 200-date, year-long global tours, are exploring the idea of VR simulcasts to multiple venues at one time. Häcker admits the technology and pricing model needs perfecting but says the venue has to be prepared.

    “The event space is getting more digital,” says Häcker. “We have to be prepared for the future, and the Aruba solution is our base for further innovation.”

    Read more

    The event business is getting more digital. We have to be prepared for the future, and the Aruba solution is our base for further innovation.
    Henrik Häcker, Managing Director, SMG Entertainment Deutschland GmbH, a trademark of ASM Global
  • Customer Profile

    The König-Pilsener-ARENA, Oberhausen, is one of the most popular and successful multifunctional arenas in Germany. It opened in 1996 and has a capacity of 12,555. In recent years it has hosted events from Metallica, Elton John, AC/DC, Depeche Mode, and Khalid.
    • Vertical: large public venue
    • Location: Oberhausen, Germany
    • Customer size: capacity of 12,555

    Use Case

    The arena had a fragmented network, with poor connectivity throughout the venue. It wanted to create a high-performance digital platform on which to deliver visitor connectivity, and to add a host of operational functions, generating high-value usage data along the way. Today, by engaging with Aruba, König-Pilsener-ARENA is able to offer some of the best visitor bandwidth of any large venue in Germany. The network is adaptable and easy to manage. It is also generating the granular data to inform future events, promotions, and venue features.

    Requirements

    • Provide simultaneous connectivity for a minimum of 6,500 visitors
    • Simplify network management and supervision from a single platform
    • Create new touchpoints for visitors and generate meaningful data for commercial partners

    Outcomes

    • Enables the venue to scale up bandwidth to 12Mbps per visitor
    • Creates a more dynamic retail environment, with flexible Point of Sale roll-out
    • Generates the data to inform future promotions
    • Enables real-time sales monitoring
    • Provides a digital platform for tour promoters to engage with audiences
    • Establishes world-class connectivity infrastructure, increasing competitivity vs. other venues
    Large public venues have some of the most demanding network challenges in business. Huge spaces stand empty for 90% of the week, then they are packed with thousands of customers for a couple of hours.

    Whether they are there to see sport, music or theatre, those customers want a memorable experience. And, though they come for the main event, each of them wants immediate access to the network and massive bandwidth. “The fact is, people want to be online all the time,” says Henrik Häcker, Managing Director, SMG Entertainment Deutschland GmbH a trademark of ASM Global.

    World-leading connectivity

    König-Pilsener-ARENA is a multipurpose events venue in Oberhausen, Germany, built in 1996. It is part of the giant ASM Global group, which manages more than 300 venues around the world.

    The arena in Oberhausen offers one of the best connectivity experiences of any venue in the group. At peak times, when the venue is filled to its 12,555 capacity, König-Pilsener-ARENA can provide up to 6Mbps of bandwidth, free of charge, in parallel, to every guest.

    “No one was thinking about digitisation when we opened in 1996,” says Häcker. “Today, digital is everything. Our promoters, our operations and our customers demand connectivity.”

    “We looked at four solution providers and Aruba was consistent in its message throughout,” says Hausmann. “They provided us with a clear recommendation, explained what we’d need and kept to their word and delivered.”

    Customers entering König-Pilsener-ARENA in Oberhausen, Germany

    Unifying a disjointed network

    The König-Pilsener-ARENA engaged Aruba in 2017 to overhaul connectivity throughout the venue.

    “At the time we had a disjointed approach, with different access points for retail, for ticketing, and for our offices,” explains Marc Hausmann, IT Manager. “It was horrible to manage and maintain.”

    The solution is now built on 150 Aruba 802.11ac Wave 2 indoor and outdoor access points. High-density 310 series APs for the indoor areas, weatherproof HD 370 series APs and 340 series Smart Rate Unified Campus APs in outdoor areas. Each had to be mapped and directed accurately to deliver a consistent signal and optimal coverage throughout the arena. Aruba 5406R Campus Core and 2930M Campus Edge switches provide the robust wired backbone for the Wi-Fi. The APs are controlled via two Aruba 7210 Mobility Controllers, and a Mobility Master. ArubaOS 8 delivers Zero Touch Provisioning of new components, uninterrupted service during automated live updates and many more capabilities to the IT team. The estate is monitored and managed through AirWave for a single pane of glass experience.

    Staff and corporate network access are secured and provisioned via ClearPass and this service may be extended for public Wi-Fi in the future. Current public Wi-Fi access is contracted to an external third-party provider but is routed to the Aruba network.

    “We looked at four solution providers and Aruba was consistent in its message throughout,” says Hausmann. “They provided us with a clear recommendation, explained what we’d need and kept to their word and delivered. All the others changed their stories along the way.

    “Also, we visited the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara to see Aruba in action. It was clear that if Aruba can work at that scale then they could work here.”

    Free, simple network access for all visitors

    The venue is now able to offer free Wi-Fi to all customers. Access is limited to 30 minutes; customers then have to log in again and see a message from a commercial sponsor.

    The König-Pilsener-ARENA wants to look at usage trends before considering long-term options. It could offer a premium, paid-for service; Häcker says a corporate sponsor is a possibility. With the level of data obtained from the network, the team can start to build strategies and plans around customer, user and crowd engagement and value-add services.

    “Our priority was to make sure the network worked, and that users had the access they needed,” says Häcker. “We’ve seen other venues make big promises and then fail to deliver. That hasn’t happened here.”

    An average event will generate 30,000 logins; the peak has been nearer 100,000 – meaning users are connecting for new, separate 30-minute sessions five times in an evening.

    Spectator films a performance on his mobile phone in a packed König-Pilsener-ARENA

    Online complements the live experience

    Häcker admits to being stunned by the take-up. An average event will generate 30,000 logins; the peak has been nearer 100,000 – meaning users are connecting for new, separate 30-minute sessions five times in an evening.

    “For some, particularly younger audiences, you can’t be at a live event without also being online,” he says. “We see this trend continuing to grow.”

    From a marketing perspective, this generates a huge amount of user data and allows the arena to deliver appropriate commercial messages ahead of every new log in.

    Increasingly, says Häcker, tour promoters want multiple channels to promote their product. One recent tour, sponsored by a European car manufacturer, used the venue’s connectivity platform to promote its new products in connection with a digital and personalized autograph card of the artist.

    “We can now work with partners to create more dynamic, tailored messaging around an event, and for the demographic,” says Häcker.

    Adaptable and quick to change

    The network is also easier to adapt and manage. Hausmann says the solution was designed to provide visitors with 2MB bandwidth, but as usage trends have become more established, the venue can adjust accordingly and in real-time.

    “We’ve gone up to 4MB and 6MB where we’ve needed,” he explains. “For some smaller events, we’ve even stretched to 12MB for 2,000 users and still had plenty of headroom. It’s a lot easier for us to check demand and respond accordingly.”

    The König-Pilsener-ARENA also runs a host of operational functions off the network. All PoS and ticketing at the venue is digital. New retail spots can be set up in moments.

    “We can view sales activity in real-time,” says Hausmann. “If we know there is a busy outlet, we can connect a mobile kiosk in minutes, or set up food trucks outside the arena. The new PoS connects automatically with the Aruba network.”

    “We’ve gone up to 4MB and 6MB where we’ve needed,” he explains. “For some smaller events, we’ve even stretched to 12MB for 2,000 users and still had plenty of headroom. It’s a lot easier for us to check demand and respond accordingly.”

    Thousands of spectators at a boxing match at the König-Pilsener-ARENA

    Creating the venue of the future

    The next phase will be able to layer location-based services, including promotions and signage. The arena sits adjacent to Europe’s largest shopping mall, CentrO, and in one of the most populous areas of Germany. Häcker says there is an opportunity to link a visit to the arena with other retailers and attractions in the area.

    The events industry continues to innovate. Large public venues must prove they can adapt, says Häcker. Virtual reality is coming, he continues. Big stars, not keen on doing 200-date, year-long global tours, are exploring the idea of VR simulcasts to multiple venues at one time. Häcker admits the technology and pricing model needs perfecting but says the venue has to be prepared.

    “The event space is getting more digital,” says Häcker. “We have to be prepared for the future, and the Aruba solution is our base for further innovation.”

    The event business is getting more digital. We have to be prepared for the future, and the Aruba solution is our base for further innovation.
    Henrik Häcker, Managing Director, SMG Entertainment Deutschland GmbH, a trademark of ASM Global