Being in the Phoenix, Arizona area right now is an indescribable feeling. With Glendale, AZ being the host city of this year’s NFL Pro Bowl and Super Bowl XLIX, the atmosphere has been electric this past week with all the free concerts and fan events throughout the city, as well as the thousands of visitors, NFL Hall of Famers and celebrities walking around town. I’ve even seen Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch and coach Pete Carroll out on the town enjoying the festivities! But despite all of the exciting events, the most rewarding and proudest aspect of the week has been the fact that Avigilon has played such a prominent role in securing Sunday’s big game.
If you have never been to the University of Phoenix Stadium, it is quite a site in person. One of the premier stadiums in the NFL, the world-class venue and home of the Arizona Cardinals can host 63,000 fans for football games and even more for other events. It’s got a beautiful silver exterior, with a retractable roof, and possesses the first full retractable natural grass playing field, which makes transforming the venue for other types of events like concerts or conventions easy. As Avigilon’s Regional Sales Manager for Arizona, I am part of the team – along with our trusted partner Climatec – that designed and built an elite, end-to-end security solution for the stadium last year.
We – Avigilon – deployed our industry-leading HD cameras – including our 16 MP HD Pro cameras and 2 MP PTZ cameras – to ensure full coverage of the entire seating bowl, field and plaza. The security team at the University of Phoenix Stadium also implemented our Avigilon Control Center (ACC) software to manage their security system efficiently and effectively. These are just the first stages. The University of Phoenix Stadium, Climatec and Avigilon are in the middle of a four-phased project that will eventually include over 200 Avigilon HD cameras to safeguard the entire facility including the stands, the plaza, the concourses and the parking lot. The stadium will also add Avigilon Access Control (ACM) into their short-term plans, completing an end-to-end security solution that will improve fan safety and business efficiencies for years to come.
Being in this industry for many years, I have seen a lot of trends within the arena/stadium sector. Not too long ago, you would be surprised to see how many stadiums cut corners when it came down to investing in a high-tech surveillance system, relying on outdated technology and/or just a limited guard force. By not putting good technology in place, you are limiting the effectiveness of your guard force. With good technology, you can make your guard force appear a lot larger than it really is by providing the tools to be more effective and responsive when events happen.
The combination of a prepared stadium management team and the best security technology on the market, I have no doubt in my mind that the University of Phoenix stands and surrounding area will be secure for Super Bowl XLIX. Since the stadium started using Avigilon last year, I have been able to see our products work on several game days leading up to this Sunday’s event. Often, I will be in the stadium’s command center when incidents occur, whether it is a fan incident or a medical situation, and I will see how the high-resolution footage has provided clarity and immediate response to live situations. For example, each 16 MP Pro cameras can not only cover a large amount of seats, but also capture facial details or logos on a shirt, which makes it easy to identify a particular person.
I have also seen how Avigilon software has been instrumental in investigating situations live or recorded in literally seconds. With that kind of response time, the Avigilon solution can be just as much as a proactive tool as a retrospective tool – which was what video surveillance systems were previously limited to. Our technology can prevent situations in the stands or corridors from escalating, and when there are over 100 million people worldwide watching the Super Bowl, it is important to avoid a negative incident at all cost.
It’s actually a phenomenal feeling to know we’re part of this wonderful event, both from a security and event management standpoint. The best compliment to our solution would be that the University of Phoenix Stadium can use our system to make everybody’s experience at the Super Bowl much safer and enjoyable.