From Big Games to Black Friday: Infrastructures for Great Customer Experiences

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From London to Foxboro, from Las Vegas to Atlanta, sports teams the world over are hyper-focused on the fan experience. The primary vehicle for delivering this experience: stadiums and arenas. Cashless payment systems, interactive apps and screens, digital ticketing, and real-time information for stadium personnel are all examples of the ways sports franchises cater to today’s digital customer.

Billion-dollar investments in new venues highlight just how vital customer attention is for these teams. The quest for consistent consumer interaction is not unique to sports teams. Brands in any industry are constantly engaged in a battle to provide a superior customer experience. Most challenging for any brand, whether the New England Patriots or Sephora, is that customers demand an experience that feels the same across all digital and physical channels.

Omnichannel approach is a necessity

Perhaps no industry spotlights the need for an omnichannel approach more than retail sector. E-commerce sales, which long made up just under 10 percent of all retail sales, jumped $186 billion between 2019 and 2020 and represented nearly 16% of all retail sales during the second quarter of 2020.

Retailers have long tinkered with ways to blur lines, including AI-infused technology, like magic mirrors, and experiential affairs, like pop ups. Thanks to the past two years, many were forced to completely digitize overnight. Artificial intelligence (AI) implementations once seemed futuristic. Now, however, industry experts expect to see at least 70% of retailers adopting AI in the next two years.

Not every business will need to power connectivity for thousands of sports fans, but omnichannel is a necessity. Modern digital experiences in physical venues require increased network capacity and power resources, no matter the industry.

Space remains at a premium at almost every venue. Retail square footage is precious. Stadiums need room for fans. The way forward for organizations is through solutions, such as micro data centers. Micro and edge data centers are highly available, but often introduce efficiency penalties for that resilience.

fans at sports stadium

Practices for energy efficient micro data centers at scale

Larger businesses bolstering the digital experiences they offer can follow these practices to make their micro data centers energy efficient at scale.

  1. Reconsider edge computing management

    Businesses transforming their digital experiences need visibility into the infrastructure that supports those experiences. How do they proactively manage equipment at the network’s edge? How do they understand what systems or pieces of equipment are in trouble and need maintenance or replacing? There are a wealth of data center management platforms available. Investing in one that provides benchmarking, device configuration, and AI-driven recommendations is crucial. To ensure these platforms connect with the rest of a businesses’ solution ecosystem, look for tools that include APIs for easy integration.

  2. Ensure high availability 

    Venues that deal with vacillating network traffic, from events like game days or major shopping holidays, require consistent network availability. To ensure high availability even during peak operations, organizations must increase the support for their micro data centers or other edge equipment. 24/7 support isn’t typically available, especially on non-game days at a stadium or during late-night holiday shopping times. Leverage a partner or service provider to bolster support. Remote third-party monitoring of edge equipment may be the difference between a successful event and a frustrated customer base.

  3. Standardize for repeatability 

    Edge infrastructures and micro data centers empower businesses to develop and deploy tools easily. It’s easier for the Atlanta Falcons to provide live stats to fantasy football fanatics in attendance if that information can bypass a centralized data center on its way to mobile devices. To standardize, determine what sort of environment edge or micro data centers require. What cooling, power, and security solutions do your data centers need? Creating standardized, modular environments for edge data centers will make it easier and more efficient to manage and maintain multiple locations.

  4. Prepare to process

    Digital experiences require companies to quickly process vast amounts of data. Processing can place a significant strain on a data infrastructure, especially during peak times, such as the holiday shopping season. Implementing intelligent software can provide real time updates to avoid unnecessary downtime, help IT teams better plan for their peak workloads, and even influence data center design for enterprises.

Adjusting data center infrastructures to delight customers

Furthermore, data center software can analyze operational data, helping make infrastructures as environmentally sustainable as possible.

Companies must adjust or revamp their data center infrastructures in search of new and inventive ways to delight customers. Micro data centers, edge networks, and the foundation that supports them are likely to be centerpieces of modern customer experiences. Building these foundations at scale will also require investments in sustainability. By following expert practices and implementing the right tools, companies can delight customers while keeping their operations streamlined and energy efficient.

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