Information Technology for sports franchises and entertainment venues are centered on operations and supporting infrastructure, which includes diverse elements such as the press media, concessions, sponsors, advertising agencies, facilities and maintenance, financial planning, ticket sales, etc. Sharing a common IT infrastructure that supports each of these different functions can be a difficult challenge. Often, these elements are kept as separate as possible, which means that multiple data systems and networks may exist in a sports arena. This approach can work for hard-wired network systems, but when wireless networks are introduced into a sports arena, having separate wireless access-points for each of the different functions inside the arena becomes impossible due to the nature of design limits for wireless data network radio frequency channel allocation, etc. Opportunities for public access to sports information and to the Internet at sports facilities will drive new infrastructure and security concerns. Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) devices with phone and wireless data-access applications can create opportunities for sports venues. The venue can use public digital devices connected to their wireless network to generate sports fan excitement by advertising special ticket offerings, contests, concession ordering with no waiting in line, etc.

NLE has worked with sports franchises and arenas to create methods for bringing separate business elements into a common IT infrastructure where wireless networks can serve everyone, but still keep data secure and isolated from one business element to the next. This involves the use of multiple levels of authentication, location based policies, encryption choices based on the need of each business element, firewall protections, and other key technology that must be combined to solve the design issues inherent in wireless data networks. Wireless network deployment in sports arenas is a key technology initiative that will require careful attention to design of role-based computing models, and must be able to evolve rapidly to bring new opportunities for operational efficiency, and while constantly monitoring and improving security. Other security layers such as anti-virus protection, spy-ware protection, and content-filtering are a part of the NLE design plan for sports arenas.
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