'Serving Up' Connectivity: Comcast Business Deploys Next-Generation IoT for the Arlen Specter US Squash Center


Providing connectivity where it counts applies to more these days than the typical IoT (Internet of Things) sensor and device use cases; solar, wind and water monitoring in environmental operations, digital twins and full autonomous vehicle fleet tracking in manufacturing (not to mention predictive maintenance for electric vehicles, as well), on-premise patient experiences, remote patient monitoring and medical hardware management in healthcare, and more in the veins of smart utilities and energy, real estate, transportation and logistics and tons of other examples.

Another IoT vein worth striking?


The world of sports has already benefitted greatly from next-gen IoT tech. For instance, through performance-monitoring capabilities via skin-safe wearable sensors, athlete movement and even health stats can be tracked, providing coaches and sports and exercise medicine (SEM) professionals with real-time info to inform smarter decisions involving training, game strategy, and potentially injury prevention. Relatedly, sports equipment providers can take advantage of connected sensors to keep tabs on the condition and usage of balls, racquets, bats, you name it. (e.g. ball inflation, racquet string durability, bat degradation, etc.)

To sports engineers decades back, these might’ve sounded far-fetched. Yet now, it’s all fair game. (Pun intended.) After all, if rugged environments like feed mills can improve operations via connectivity to monitor thousands of feed bins (i.e. that undergo rapid temperature changes and vibrations), a similar principle can be applied to attaching the latest in IoT in order to modernize athletics.

There’s also another angle to this: IoT that strengthens fan engagement. As mentioned, IoT wearables can send data to trainers and SEM personnel, but others may even offer fans to-the-minute data on players. Said data may be accessed and shared through a variety of mobile apps; sports betting and competition-centric ones, social media, you name it. Case in point: Zoom and the MLB announced a collab earlier this year that will connect baseball diehards to the Zoom Replay Operations Center for live access to replay reviews and umpiring decisions.

The long story very, very short? Sports and IoT are a great fit.

Enter Comcast Business. Not long ago, the well-known business access provider made the announcement that it is providing the Arlen Specter U.S. Squash Center – the U.S.’s largest squash facility – with top-of-the-line wired and wireless connectivity (with a lift from MachineQ, a Comcast company, and its enterprise-grade, wide-area IoT solutions that are simple to build, connect and deploy). After all, the success of IoT rollouts hinges on network robustness, of course, but also the reliability of deployment services.

Together, these technologies are helping the center improve back-of-house functions, drive operational adaptivity, facilitate training for stronger player performance, and deliver more impressive fan experiences (with measurable ROI).

After opening in 2021, the center sought a means through which court quality could be better preserved (i.e. protecting its 76,000 square feet via monitoring temperature and humidity levels and even changes that could lead to potential leaks that can damage courts or IT, mechanical and electrical equipment) – thus, the sporting facility chose Comcast Business and MachineQ for precisely that.

So, MachineQ installed its MQflex Multi-Sensor devices to monitor courts’ conditions (even down to micro-level signs of warping of wood courts). To protect the mounted sensors from player swings or in-play balls that can reach speeds of 165-175 miles per hour, cages surround MQflex’s deployments to secure them from flung racquets or head-on squash balls.

Additional benefits of the Arlen Specter U.S. Squash Center choosing Comcast Business include:

  • MQflex’s real-time alerts that are triggered when courts’ conditions exceed their predefined thresholds
  • Enterprise Dedicated Internet (EDI)
  • Business VoiceEdge cloud-based telecommunications
  • X1 for Business TV
  • Connect Bracket accessories and reusable water leak rope sensors to broaden coverage zones
  • A trial of 5G private wireless  network that also leverages Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) from Highway9 Networks, a Comcast Business vendor
  • Overall faster speeds and lower latencies for connecting point-of-sales, updated access controls, livestreaming capabilities, and more so fans never miss a beat

Per Ned Edwards, the Arlen Specter U.S. Squash Center’s Executive Director:

“With Comcast Business, we never need to ask, ‘Can our infrastructure handle that?’ because we know it can. From the very beginning, Comcast Business has helped us achieve our mission of creating and promoting opportunities to increase access to the sport and pursuing excellence on and off the court.”

And per Scott Cohen, Executive Director of Strategic Wireless Solutions at Comcast Business:

“A next-generation facility like the Arlen Specter Center demands a next-generation network. We are proud to serve yet another one of Philadelphia’s state-of-the-art sporting facilities and provide scalable, future-ready technologies – both wired and wireless – that will keep the Specter Center at the leading edge of sports for years to come.”

Edited by Greg Tavarez
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