Cisco Stadium Install Issues

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

Many of those who dispute our view (and remember this is just our view) of Cisco’s DMS disaster point to Cisco’s work in stadiums as an example of how and where they are getting it correct – blending as they originally intended content distribution, digital signage, VoIP, Wi-Fi, wide area and local area networking with content, alerts, telephony and such like.

The stadium sector, especially in the US is a real niche and if you get it right a great business opportunity. Folks like Daktronics have whole business divisions dedicated to it and do a brilliant job to boot.

It’s not a shock to us then that Cisco cannot even seem to get this business right. Significant and consistent buzz in the U.S. is that Cisco is running into ongoing problems in their stadium install projects – indeed we wrote back in February 2010 “Rumour has it that the Dallas Cowboys have finally thrown out the Cisco stadium ad management system” – the system being replaced completely with a Harris Broadcasting System allegedly.

It has become apparent to the NY Yankees, Dallas Cowboys and others who bought into the Cisco StadiumVision platform that the solution has not been completely thought through with there allegedly being significant problems merging traditional stadium broadcast video systems into IP based systems: Video latency, quality and overall system performance is a big problem we are told.

Since Cisco ‘bought’ each of these deals with millions in sponsorship dollars, don’t expect to see the stadiums complain in public, but behind closed doors, several are assembling a ‘Plan B’ to migrate to other technology if the problems don’t go away soon.

Recently John Chambers highlighted to investors that one of Cisco’s new lines of business is providing ‘big screens to stadiums’ just when troubles with their offering started to bubble to the surface.

Cisco has been given many chances to fix these problems by most of their stadium customers we are told BUT word on the street is that the stadiums are getting extremely frustrated with the problems and some are now allegedly holding payments due for ‘material’ failure of the system to perform.

It will be interesting to see how this turns out in the next month or so but expect Harris, Daktronics and maybe STRATACACHE to pick up lost business from Cisco going forward.

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