Clemson Tiger Fans Claw Handhelds For Video, Stats in Stands

By Andrew Lippe

Clemson University Tiger football fans are roaring with a new iTiger service that allows fans in the stands to watch instant replays and get statistics delivered to their phones and PDAs. More importantly, the service is home grown, an outgrowth of a joint effort between the university athletic department and the computing school. “We think that there will be some radical news fields that will emerge out of this project,” says Jim Martin, associate professor, Clemson’s School of Computing.

The project was developed by Jim Bottum, vice provost for computing and IT and is part of a larger project to turn Clemson into a living laboratory for students to learn about and explore technology.

The system begins with students bringing together statistics with TV feeds that are usually produced by ESPN. Servers then push the content out to a mobile Web site that is accessed by the students.

The iTiger project is in its second year and is still in the testing phase. Currently only fans sitting in the West end zone stands can access the WiFi network. “The timing is perfect for being able to look at this notion of the next generation athletics stadium,” says Martin. “We now have powerful handheld devices and high-speed broadband wireless networks emerging and being deployed in stadiums everywhere.”

Cisco is also involved with the project, providing the technical infrastructure for the network. “The numbers of devices that are coming into the market are growing exponentially,” says Chris Kozup, senior manager of Mobility Solutions at Cisco. “We view this product as a sign of the times.”

Nobody knows what the stadiums of the future will look like but Clemson may have paved the way. “This was a once in a career opportunity and I am very happy to participate. All the planets have aligned for this project to occur at this particular time,” adds Martin.