Dolphins turn on immersive digital signage wall, using MicroTiles, touch

December 16, 2010 by Dave Haynes

The Miami Dolphins have worked with Christie Digital and Arsenal Media to develop a very cool interactive wall now running on the club level of the NFL team’s stadium.

The interactive wall has 41 MicroTiles stacked and clustered in four zones to drive Dolphins content and sponsor messaging, and engage fans. The seven foot high, 14 foot wide wall used touch sensors to alter the content based on gestures, integrates live feeds, and also uses social tools like SMS polling.

The program was largely put together by Montreal-based Arsenal and Christie (working closely with the Dolphins) over the last several months, and was plugged in about a month ago. I have seen a few iterations of the content mix and it is really well-thought out and presented. Sponsor messaging is integrated into the content, as opposed to content pieces “presented by” sponsors.

Arsenal’s office partner, Float4, did the interactive work.

The program is intended to be a baseline for walls that could go into different types of venues and market verticals, and customized according to needs and circumstances. Arsenal has created a new business unit that is promoting the feature, which it calls The BuzzWall. It has a separate, smaller and quite different concept intended for retail.

The tiles look great, the teeny seams disappear, and the colors pop. I really like how the supporting print graphics that surround the tiles pull it all together.

The release:

Miami Dolphins fans are the first in professional sports to literally get their hands on a unique, interactive-multimedia display, featuring Christie® MicroTiles™, now running on the club level of Sun Life Stadium.

The Dolphins Interactive Wall combines an irregular cluster of 41 Christie MicroTiles modular display tiles, live and packaged video feeds, touch sensors, text messaging applications and large format print graphics installed as a wide, seven-foot high video display wall that fans can watch and use.

Tuned to the team’s integrated sponsorship, media and in-stadium marketing plans, the multimedia display features four content zones that inform and entertain fans. Content includes interactive highlights from the team’s history, live game feeds, video replays and highlights, texting-based instant polls, photo galleries, and information about the team’s stadium services and community programs.

Corporate sponsorships are designed directly into much of the Dolphins Interactive Wall’s content, making those brands part of the fan experience. Between on-demand Top Dolphins Moments, for example, viewers have fun wiping away virtual sea bubbles embedded with sponsor logos while dolphins swim in a virtual tank created by the Christie MicroTiles’ virtually seamless display blocks. (Click to see a video of the Interactive Wall in action.)

Case study: The Miami Dolphins Interactive Wall, featuring Christie® MicroTiles™ from ARSENAL MEDIA_DEMO ZONE on Vimeo.

First in Pro Sports

The first of its kind in pro sports, the Dolphins Interactive Wall debuted Nov. 14 at the Dolphins-Tennessee Titans game.

The Dolphins Interactive Wall is a customized version of The BuzzWall™, developed by Christie, recognized as one of the world’s most innovative visual display companies, and Montreal-based Arsenal Media, recognized worldwide as a leader in digital media for unique applications.

“The Dolphins view the new wall as ‘transformational technology’ that’s helping raise the standard of the team’s in-stadium experience,” says Tery Howard, senior vice president and chief technology officer, Miami Dolphins. “The wall also introduces new incremental marketing opportunities for the Dolphins’ corporate sponsors, enabling them to build affinities with fans through content that’s dynamic, fun, timely and contextually relevant.

“Technology really provides us with the flexibility to have Sun Life Stadium take on the personality of the event and tailor it to that particular experience,” continues Howard. “Elements like The BuzzWall are a great example of how fans can come into this stadium for a University of Miami (UM) game and see it very well branded as UM, and the next day, we can have a Miami Dolphins game and easily change the branding. Offering a fully integrated experience is extremely important to our tenants, our marketing partners, guests and us. This is why technology such as Christie MicroTiles appeals so much to us.”

Arsenal Integrated, the multimedia R&D wing of Arsenal Media, is a creative production and strategy firm. Part of Christie’s lead creative team, the marketing and engineering groups of both companies planned and executed the global product launch of Christie MicroTiles in late 2009.

Fans Drawn to Wall

“The reaction from fans has been very positive, and we’re seeing people not only drawn to the wall, but staying to play with it,” says Denys Lavigne, president of Arsenal Media. “The wall shows what’s really possible with digital signage – an application that’s completely targeted to the space, and its business and revenue opportunities. This is not something people just happen to notice and watch. It’s more intimate. The wall creates a relationship and a buzz that works for the fans, the team and its corporate sponsors.”

“What has excited me the most is how the wall speaks to all ages,” says Howard. “There is so much of a footprint on this wall you can attract all ages. We didn’t originally target the content at kids, but they were all over it. As a result of that, you would have the parents there as well, and they’re consuming other content at the same time. It’s a multi-tasked offering that speaks to different demographics and age groups.”

Another Montreal company, Float4 Interactive, using sensors and software to create interactions a step beyond conventional touch applications, developed the BuzzWall’s immersive touch capabilities. txtstation™ Global Mobile Marketing, of Austin, Texas, provides the wall with real-time fan polling capabilities, activated by simple text messaging.

Dolphins Known for Tech Innovation

The Dolphins Interactive Wall is the latest innovation for one of pro sports most tech-savvy franchises. The stadium has one of the largest hi-definition video boards, and one of the longest LED ribbon displays in all of pro sports. The Dolphins were the first sports team to deploy virtual videoconferencing, and have more than 1,500 HD displays operating around the facility, showing supplemental information for fans and digital versions of menus in the concession areas. The team also uses and markets a wireless handheld game-day TV service called FanVision.

“The launch of the Dolphins Interactive Wall was something of a first birthday celebration for Christie MicroTiles, and we can’t imagine a more powerful demonstration of what’s possible with this new display technology,” says Kathryn Cress, vice president corporate & global marketing, Christie. “The Dolphins have demonstrated a lot of vision in going well beyond the pure ‘Wow’ factor of the tiles, and exploring the business benefits, which are numerous.”

(Disclosure: I do some writing for Christie and Arsenal, but I’d be highlighting this no matter what … )

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