Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Siemens equips high-tech stadiums for the Soccer World Cup

With all eyes centered on Germany for the 2006 Soccer World Cup, here in South Africa, the focus lies on the next one in 2010 - and the preparations necessary for the country to successfully host and stage this premier event in world football.

One company that is able to offer solutions and services required is Siemens Southern Africa, whose German parent has installed a Siemens safety management system in nearly every World Cup soccer stadium in Germany. As the official technology partner of the German Football Association (DFB), thanks largely to other innovations from Siemens, the 12 World Cup stadiums are among the most modern in the world.

Siemens has combined fire, smoke, and motion detectors on a single, centrally-controlled platform in its new safety management system. The modular system can be configured and adapted to the individual needs of each stadium.

Adapting and integrating new technologies isn't always easy in every stadium, as the experience with the communications technologies in the Olympic Stadium in Berlin proved. During the modernisation of the sports arena, which first opened in 1936, strict historic building codes had to be observed, and the new technology was not permitted to detract from the original appearance of the sandstone building. As a result, the modernisation is nearly imperceptible.

Thanks to Siemens engineers, the membrane ceiling of the stadium conceals the sound system, which consists of 2,300 loudspeakers, along with the bulk of the safety, media and communications technology with its more than 300 kilometres of cable.

Also invisible, but nonetheless highly effective, is the communications system installed by Siemens in the World Cup stadium in Dortmund. Using a WLAN system, visitors can surf the Internet with their pocket PCs or use other special services. And soon, visitors will be able to access the latest Bundesliga information and order drinks right from their seats.

Journalists will also be able to take advantage of other services immediately following the big event. A special multimedia system developed by Siemens allows reporters to use their mobile equipment to transmit images and sound directly from the stadium. A broadcasting van, which used to be necessary to link the journalists to their networks, is no longer needed.

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