Atomic Data ‘energizing’ TQL Stadium tech feat



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Yagya Mahadevan at Coliseum US 2023 Image: Coliseum GSVA

Yagya Mahadevan has a good sense of humor and can engross people with his riveting talk and amuse with his one-liners. Hailing from India, he is presently living in Minnesota (US) and works for Atomic Data as the Enterprise Project Manager.

He tells in a jocular vein, “I have never lived in a place that is less than 65 degree Fahrenheit. I loved India when the temperature was 105 degrees and I landed in Minnesota for negative 27.”

Yagya Mahadevan has been with Atomic Data since 2016. He manages Atomic Data’s Game Day Technologies, a division specialized in providing customized IT services for large public venues.

A brimming-with-confidence, mince-no-words Yagya Mahadevan, Enterprise Project Manager, Atomic Data, US, tells ‘Coliseum’ in an exclusive as to how people who call the shots in stadia do not want to know about technology per se but everything boils down to how technology can help them rake in more revenue. He also talks about Atomic Data pulling off a tech feat in-the-thick-of-COVID vis-à-vis helping the MLS team FC Cincinnati open the doors of their chic home – the TQL Stadium in Cincinnati (US) – on time and on budget.
 

Atomic Data

Atomic Data is an IT-as-a-Service company based in Minneapolis, US. It is an on-demand, always-on, pay-as-you-go expert extension of the enterprise’s information technology (IT) team and infrastructure, always acting in the client’s and the community’s best interest.
 

Defining Technology

Yagya Mahadevan started off by stating that “The vision that we work for is making technology serve the needs of business. I always tell people don’t make technology take decisions. Technology will first have to understand the problem and then provide the solution. At Atomic Data, we do just that. Most people say they don’t understand technology. At Atomic Data, we explain what technology is all about in the real sense of the term and then we help make smart decisions for the businesses that we serve.”

He provided that in the Atomic Data office in Minneapolis “we started with the Data Center as our core business model when we started the company in the year 2000.”
 

TQL Stadium

The 26,000-capacity TQL Stadium is a soccer-specific stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States. It is the home of FC Cincinnati, a Major League Soccer (MLS) team that has played there since the stadium opened on May 16th, 2021.

Mahadevan informed that FC Cincinnati hired Atomic Data in 2019 to help them build the stadium – “In 2019, we were hired as Owner’s Technology Representative to work on building the stadium and five months into the project and COVID struck the world. The biggest challenge was despite the whole lot of restrictions coming in like reduced workforce, travel restrictions, etc., we were told that we will have to facilitate opening the stadium on time and on budget. Despite the COVID scourge, we helped FC Cincinnati open the stadium with all tech bells and whistles on time.”

He further stated that FC Cincinnati never had a full-time IT staff at all and Atomic Data managed the entire IT infrastructure for the stadium – “We did everything from building the stadium, providing technology, consulting, and project managing.”
 

Challenges

 

Spatial Issues

Stated Mahadevan, “A lot of venue operators make a lot of fuss about spatial use in stadia. They think an astonishing amount of space will have to be allotted for the IT closets. While working on the TQL Stadium project we realized that there were too much of IT rooms in the diagram. We decided to do away with some of the IT rooms. So, during the initial phases of the design when the building had 22 IT closets by the time it was completed we had 15 IT closets. We helped FC Cincinnati operate the stadium it wanted to operate without compromising anything on the technology front. We scaled down the footprint of the data center which opened up space for storage rooms. A venue can provide great fan experience even by boasting less IT rooms.”

He said that Atomic Data also worked with the vendors to understand what technology is available to be able to meet the business needs of the TQL Stadium and then implemented everything in the COVID year.
 

Tech Show

Maintained Mahadevan, “Right from coordinating with the General Contractor to managing the security camera, getting the ticket access control system ready, implementing the networks, 650 access points in the building everything was managed by us. Post-opening of the TQL Stadium we are in charge of the tech show of the facility.”
 

Last Leg

He lamented that with venue projects, “Technology always comes in the last leg though everybody aspires for a swanky stadium with cutting-edge technology. Be it COVID or any other reasons for yawning delay in the construction exercise, the stadium must open on time. And to top it, the tech part is pushed to the last phase. Even in the case of the TQL Stadium, we did all the tech work remotely from our offices back in Minneapolis. We built the entire stadium network in our Data Center in Minneapolis while construction was on in Cincinnati. Then we shipped the required equipments, went and installed things on site and monitored everything remotely.”

He tried to drive home the fact that technology is always kept in the last leg of the stadia build process, but “the ownership of TQL Stadium comes back to us and said that could our technology help them keep a track of the sales in realtime. Money matters the most.”
 

Dashboard Delight

Due to the above requirement of the FC Cincinnati ownership, Atomic Data came out with the Game Day Dashboard – a remote monitoring application that allows venue owners and operators to see the health of their entire network, gameday operations and key gameday metrics, all within a single pane of glass and in near realtime.

Exulted Mahadevan, “We built that dashboard and people loved it and now we work with seven MLS teams and everybody wants that Dashboard on a gameday.”
 

Sum-up

Yagya Mahadevan summed up by stating, “At the end of the day, fan experience is key. Since the TQL Stadium opened when COVID havoc was on, FC Cincinnati wanted that fans ingress into the venue is seamless. All of a sudden we are moving from paper tickets to electronic tickets. And technology helped to make those decisions!”

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