A Network to Match the Moment

A Network to Match the Moment

The 2019 U.S. Open was a game-changer, thanks to the innovative technology partnership between the USGA and Cisco.

It’s a familiar story. After considerable effort and planning, you’ve finally made it to the U.S. Open. It’s a can’t-miss experience; you’re following the best players in the world as they chase history—now is the time to tag yourself and post a quick video so all your friends can eat it ­­up. The problem is, everyone else wants to do the same thing. You’re out in the middle of the course, with thousands of other golf fans, and the Wi-Fi is slow, or unreliable, or non-existent. Looks like your post will have to wait.

But this is exactly what didn’t happen at this year’s U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links. When Gary Woodland drained a 35-footer on the final hole to go 13 under par, fans were able to share the moment freely. That’s because as incredible as golf action was, the 119th U.S. Open also marked a significant milestone for the fan experience. Thanks to the first-ever Connected Course debuted by the USGA and Cisco, which provided fast, secure Wi-Fi across the entire venue, fans were able to share each incredible moment as it happened.

Golf tournaments are notoriously difficult environments for connectivity with a temporary setup, dense crowds of people and a wide footprint. The USGA and Cisco figured out how to solve this, delivering an unprecedented on-site experience that enabled fans, players, staff and media to access the network the way they’re accustomed to everywhere else. By championship’s end, users made more than 100,000 Wi-Fi connections and consumed more than 25 terabytes of data. That is a four-fold increase in data consumption and nearly three-fold increase in connections from 2018.

The U.S. Open App powered by Cisco also helped fans stay connected to the action from anywhere on the course. It included a new way-finding feature – the first of its kind among golf’s majors –  that provided the locations of their favorite players and step-by-step navigation around the sprawling venue.

The championship was also the first-ever test of Wi-Fi 6 at a large-scale sporting event. This technology delivers up to 400 percent greater capacity and is more effective in high-density settings like stadiums – and now, golf courses.

But this is just the beginning. Technology will continue to play a large role in elevating the fan experience and impacting the game in positive ways. From the rise of technology-focused interactive experiences like eGolf and Topgolf, to live event, convenience-driven opportunities like retail and concessions integrations, digital ticketing and cashless pay, there is no shortage of new ways to enhance the fan experience. So the next time you’re watching history unfold before your eyes, go ahead – snap, share and post. Cisco and the USGA have your back.

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