Intelligent solutions for Wembley

Wembley National Stadium Ltd (WNSL) is home to (UK) Football Association operations for sports and other events of international significance.
The 4M cu3 stadium has a 1km circumference, an arch span of 315m, the longest single span roof structure in the world and is wide enough for a train to travel through. It has 90,000 covered seats and houses four of the largest restaurants in London along with the capital’s largest banqueting facility.

The new stadium cost £737 million.

The business issue

WNSL wanted a showcase stadium. In pursuit of flexibility, interoperability and efficiency, it sought to integrate all the technical services – building, security and life safety management along with data, voice and video communication– for the entire stadium on one, common network. It wanted to provide for a safer, more secure and more comfortable facility and to bring about better building control as well as lower operating costs. It stipulated an intelligent control solution that would support new and improved operations and services over the life span of the stadium – benefiting the public and customer service, stadium operators and Honeywell, the technical operator.

WNSL also stipulated that the stadium’s building management applications should integrate with its business systems, electronic point of sale (EPOS), supply chain and payroll for example. It wanted to convert collected data into Management Information in order to maximise its return on investment.

The Honeywell solution

Honeywell was the main IT services and M&E contractor on the project.

They designed and installed the IT network platform capable of supporting all the applications encountered in an intelligent building management solution. This required the installation of 1,617 km of cabling, comprising 753 km of fibre backbone, 234 km of broadcast cabling and 630 km of horizontal structured and fire rated cabling. This supports resilient backbones and ensures that IP communication is provided with the necessary bandwidth in all operational modes of the Stadium. It links 72 communication rooms housing the network switches which provide 7,500 network points and 3,500 devices on the network. It also facilitates the linking of stadium operations to its parent organisation, the internet and, via a second control room, to the (London) Metropolitan Police and other emergency authorities.

Honeywell’s Building Solutions business focused on the design, installation, commissioning, project management and technical support of all the building, security and life safety management systems – both Honeywell and third party. Factoring in the Stadium’s business goals, it provided the integration expertise to bring all the different applications together into one common operating platform, Honeywell Enterprise Buildings Integrator (EBI), which, in turn, is linked to a bespoke (Honeywell designed) Stadium Management System.

Work commenced in 2004 but despite the best laid plans only one week instead of the original plan of two months was available for post practical completion. As well as managing successful project delivery, support services including training Wembley staff to operate and maintain the installed systems, ongoing maintenance and technical support – there are resident Honeywell engineers permanently on site, their number more than doubling for event days.

Two days prior to a football match or concert, these additional engineers arrive to deliver operational services support to the Event Control Room, the Security Control Room and in the field. Working with Wembley Stadium’s own operators they check all stadium technical services’ – the BMS, Fire and Security (access and CCTV, public address system), the Police Control Room and the master aerial television system. They stay on site throughout the duration of the event and do not leave until it is officially over.

The business benefits

Following a long and complex construction phase, the new Wembley Stadium is open for business. The most technically advanced stadium in the world, this ‘mini city’ is safer and more secure, more comfortable and energy efficient, more productive and very innovative. It will deliver on WNSL’s business objectives.

Wembley Stadium’s IT and Business Process Director, Peter Warren says: “Pulling the different technical systems together into one integrated solution centralises data and enables our stadium operators to make sense of a lot of information – and quickly. Practically they can access the entire system via a PC screen and manage all of the technical services in the stadium from a small number of work stations located in critical locations such as the Event, Security and Police control rooms.

“IP convergence lifts the system’s intelligence higher still. It enables us to enhance customer service, link to EPOS and leverage new revenue generating opportunities – now and in the future.”

This ability to collect, integrate and distribute data from/to multiple points taps the full potential of information exchange and uses technology and process to enforce operation as intended. Adopting a big picture perspective also supports an understanding of ‘cause and effect’ issues and ensures an informed response. It clears the facts in an emergency and mitigates risk.

For example the system is supporting the interdependency of Wembley’s Facilities Management and IT teams; they are learning how to work together and familiarising themselves with running the stadium. Though too early to quantify the reduction in operating costs, a full energy efficiency analysis will be undertaken which will demonstrate savings and operational efficiencies over time.

And, because EBI enables automated building control processes to perform on the basis of all the information available within the different applications, management has the ability to satisfy seemingly conflicting goals – to increase productivity yet reduce costs (installation, operating and energy) while delivering all the services needed by a world class stadium conferencing and banqueting centre.

The system is also very flexible. Changes can be made without disruption to business as usual. It also integrates with the stadium’s business systems to support permanent stadium occupancy of 400 people, and rise to the challenge of a major event, including the arrival of 90,000 visitors. Added to this IP convergence allows stadium management to leverage income generating opportunities. It can, for example, link mobile phone bar codes with EPOS applications and capitalise on new incomegenerating opportunities.

Says Peter Warren: “At the end of the day integration delivers a measurable return on investment. It allows us to do more with less – to drive productivity improvement, validate for regulatory compliance, set new benchmarks in respect of customer service and deliver on our financial goals, and all against the backdrop of a safe, secure, comfortable and energy efficient stadium. It’s an investment that will serve the UK very well for many years to come.”

Services covered by the system

Building management
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC)
Lighting controls
Lifts/escalators and extra low voltage (ELV) services
Stewards’ emergency phones

Security & Life Safety management
Fire detection and alarm systems
Public Address Voice Announcement (PA/VA)
Closed circuit television (CCTV)
Access control and turnstiles
People and asset management

Data, voice and video communications
Scoreboards/large format video
Broadcast systems
Master Aerial television (MATV)
Wireless networking Press internet access
Integration with business systems including EPOS

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