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Manchester's (the) digital future

Sometimes you can’t help but be proud of where you live. This week we’ve stumbled across two articles about Smoking Gun PR’s hometown, and as they both involve major developments on the local (and international) digital media frontier it seems only right to share our newfound knowledge.
First of all then, whilst no longer the top team in England, Manchester City has cemented its place as the nation’s most technologically advanced club following the decision to implement a Wi-Fi network in its stadium at Eastlands. Not for nothing, the Cisco equipment will have all the obvious benefits of reliable, fast wireless Internet in a situation where- 4G or not- there’s every chance if all 47,000 people tried to re-buffer a web page at the same time they could experience a little slow down.
Better yet, 02, who will be delivering the service, also intend on installing kit to boost mobile reception for everyone inside, eliminating the same problem when it comes to making a call (or sending a text). Whether you believe football should still involve standing on terraces and waiting for Match of the Day highlights or not, there’s no denying this is a first for any Premier League side.
Apparently, the Wi-Fi will also facilitate Stadium Vision Mobile, which allows business owners- in this case the stadium bosses- to co-ordinate content between big screens and the mobiles logged on to the network. Even more impressively, they can also filter this down to individual devices, meaning it would, technically, be possible to receive a direct personal message from one of the players, coaching staff or similar whilst at a game. Needless to say, there’s marketing potential there in spades.
Improvements to Manchester’s digital infrastructure haven’t gone unnoticed elsewhere, either. As we read in the Financial Times, the city is now something of a ‘magnet for tech pioneers‘. Out in Newton Heath, The Sharp Project- a development of affordable, creative office spaces that is fast becoming another TV and production hub- has some prestigious new neighbours, with EON Reality setting up its European headquarters in the area. The 3D tech giant already has bases in Singapore and Sweden, with this new address set to boast a Virtual Reality showroom, and Entrepreneurial Coding School, which will welcome 500 students every year.
The same article also references the growing cloud hosting industry Manchester has managed to develop as further signs of the region’s healthy future prospects. EON Reality chairman and founder, Dan Lejerskar, explained to the FT: “No other city in Europe has invested as much in its digital media and content operations- with billions being spent on creating a global hub for creative industries. Manchester is perfectly placed to be the UK’s digital city.” Needless to say then, whilst the warm weather may have subsided (hopefully only for a short while), the skies are grey and the rain falling outside our window, there’s plenty to be upbeat about from our perspective.

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