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Barmy Army to get Wi-Fi to the seat for cricket's Ashes

Sydney Test Match will offer replays to the smartmobe

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Reg-reading Barmy Army members headed to Australia for the return Ashes* test cricket series will find a marvellous combination of cricket and technology await them during the series' fourth match, after the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) announced it will introduce WiFi to the seat.

Details of exactly what is on offer, and how well the system scales, are sketchy at present, but the SCG Trust is promising “ high speed WiFi connectivity and … real-time, high definition IPTV and mobile video” plus “ordering food, drinks and merchandise from the comfort of their seat”. Cisco, which has been picked to provide the technology, says the system will offer “access to game-day and venue information as well as replays and the ability to plug into ticketing and merchandise point of sale.”

The in-seat system will initially reach the three new stands being built for the Ashes, but is planned to reach all areas of the SCG and its neighbour the Sydney Football Stadium within five years.

The addition of WiFi will be welcome as your correspondent can report from painful personal experience that mobile phone networks regularly collapse under the weight of users during big Sydney Swans or cricket matches.

The ability to order food over WiFi might help to address another of the venues' great flaws: over-priced and ordinary food. ®

Bootnote

* A primer for readers beyond the cricketing world. In 1882 Australia, then a lowly and rough-house colony, defeated the motherland England at cricket. Wags in Blighty published a fake death notice for English cricket, declaring its Ashes would be taken to Australia for burial. The idea caught on and the two nations have competed for The Ashes ever since. England is currently ascendent, which means thousands of travelling fans are likely to attend the five-match series. Sydney's Test Match takes place in the first few days of January and is sold out for most of its five-day duration. And before you complain about a game that lasts five days and can end in a draw, that's only one day longer than a golf tournament and no-one complains about them ending draws.

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