OnePlan’s Venue Twin a game-changer


OnePlan Events Paul Foster editorial Image: OnePlan Events

Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Canada, is planning to create a fully interactive 3D Venue Twin of its stadium. To this end, the facility has teamed up with the venue and event site planning platform – OnePlan.

The Commonwealth Stadium boast rich history of staging multiple sports and entertainment events, and it’s now planning for the future with an interactive digital twin opening huge operational and commercial opportunities.

Commonwealth Stadium, known as The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium during Edmonton Football Team events, is an open-air, multipurpose stadium located in the McCauley neighborhood of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. It has a seating capacity of 55,819, making it the largest open-air stadium in Canada.

London-headquartered OnePlan combines all other mapping and visual planning tools into one. Over 800 venues and events in 46 countries now use the OnePlan platform to plan their operations.

Paul Foster, CEO and Founder, OnePlan, UK, is a Member of Coliseum – Global Sports Venue Alliance.

OnePlan creates a digital environment for venues, suppliers and event hosts to interact collaboratively to develop site plans in realtime.

Jason Fesyk, Supervisor for Stadium and Major Events Facilities, gave an insight into how Commonwealth Stadium’s Venue Twin is a game-changer for integrated planning, sales and communications, and its bid to be a host venue for the FIFA World Cup™ 2026.

Defining Venue Twin

Venue Twin is OnePlan’s new solution that unlocks the real value in venues. A fully interactive, centimeter accurate 3D digital twin of any venue, it provides huge operational and commercial benefits.

Stadiums and arenas can soar their ticket sales with the most advanced 3D SeatView. And they can attract advertisers and sponsors with SuiteView, plus demonstrate how signs and advertising will look in any position. Any item can be easily changed and moved, with the highest quality customer walk-through now available pronto.

Stated Jason Fesyk, “Venue Twin is ideal – it gives us a forward look into what our venue could look like.”

This can all be done with seamless integration between Venue Twin and other OnePlan functionality including 2D, satellite and computer-aided design (CAD).

Commented OnePlan CEO Paul Foster, “COVID has fast-tracked event and venue technology. What our clients were forecasting in a few years’ time, they’re now asking for now. That’s why we’ve created Venue Twin.”

For Fesyk at Commonwealth Stadium, it brings instant benefits – “This is a game-changer. Coming from an event background, I’ve got PowerPoint slides, lots of different dot plans, spreadsheets that don’t integrate. As a collaborative system, OnePlan was attractive for us. Venue Twin is ideal – it gives us a forward look into what our venue could look like.”

Adapting the stadium

The Commonwealth Stadium plays host to a range of sports and entertainment events, including the 2015 women’s football World Cup, to concerts for English singer-songwriter David Bowie and American singer Beyoncé. As such, Fesyk’s team often needs to quickly adapt the stadium.

Remarked Fesyk, “There’s a lot going on in our complex all the time: Outside of the stadium itself, there are parking lots, a 5,000-seat soccer stadium nearby, a fully operational recreation center, and so on. The opportunity to integrate our environment and create a Venue Twin so that we can see operationally what it’s going to look like is a pretty big move for us. Having OnePlan’s Venue Twin allows us that flexibility and gives us the opportunity to ensure the venue is prepared and ready for the next event it hosts.”

The 3D Venue Twin is accessed and controlled within OnePlan, meaning seamless integration to instantly switch between 2D and 3D modes. Jason can interact in either mode, and the 3D visualizations allow for incredible fly-through of the stadium from any angle. This includes defining television broadcast views.

Infrastructure, signs and branding can all be easily changed by the user, without the need for CAD drawings to be updated.

Added Fesyk, “Having OnePlan’s Venue Twin allows us that flexibility and gives us the opportunity to ensure the venue is prepared and ready for the next event it hosts.”

Versatile Venue Twin

Continued Fesyk, “Venue Twin has so many useful tools. The planning side is one thing, but we can use this as a marketing piece as well.”

SeatView help fans savor an enchanting experience when buying tickets, providing a fully interactive 3D fly-through of an arena, showing seats locations and views, as well as the nearest facilities and concessions.

He affirmed, “It gives sponsors a much better view of what their brand’s going to look like in our venue.”

With Venue Twin, Fesyk and his team at Commonwealth Stadium have been able to “assess usable space and areas to build out compounds that aren’t currently there. Being able to build out different setups for sports and concerts provides us with so many more possibilities for how we envision our stadium in any future state.”

These can be easily shared with event promoters, sponsors and advertisers for a hyper-realistic view of what the venue will look like in any scenario.

Explained Fesyk, “It gives sponsors a much better view of what their brand’s going to look like in our venue.”

Eye on FIFA showcase

Commonwealth Stadium and the City of Edmonton are hoping to be a host venue for the FIFA Men’s World Cup™ 2026. As part of their bid to the United 26 organizing committee, they’ve used Venue Twin to show the changes they’ll make to the stadium and how signage will appear.

Exulted Fesyk, “We’re very excited to be using Venue Twin to show what our stadium will look like in 2026. We’re using OnePlan and Venue Twin to meet FIFA standards. We can take our 2D plans, and then show a realtime, realistic virtual walkthrough of the stadium in 3D.”

This innovation has enabled Edmonton to take a significant step forward in being able to visualize the venue’s future state in 3D, for its pitch to FIFA and all stakeholders for the 2026 spectacle.

The partnership between Commonwealth Stadium and the City of Edmonton brings potential to integrate other venues in the City by using OnePlan. Training venues, fan sites and any other venue can be created in a fully interactive 3D digital environment, meaning the City can visualize and plan ahead with ease and precision.

He maintained, “The opportunity to integrate our environment and create a Venue Twin so that we can see operationally what it’s going to look like is a pretty big move for us.”

In a trice

Fesyk has found the process to create the 3D Venue Twin quick and easy – “If you bring the data to them, very quickly they were able to pull our stadium together. It has been an amazing, integrative piece. The timeframe it’s taken to get to the point we are at now has been very short. I’m very impressed with what the OnePlan team has done.”

UK pilots

OnePlan CEO Paul Foster recently spoke live on BBC Radio London (at the BBC Radio presenter Jason Rosam Show at 1 hour, 19 minutes, 45 seconds into the show) on how to go about organizing safe events in a COVID-19-struck planet, including the approach major sports stadia are taking. The discussion revolved around the UK pilots, which will feature vaccine checks and coronavirus tests.

Foster explained how large venues – such as OnePlan customer Arsenal F.C. (Premier League team) – are well suited for the test events and how to build on learnings from last year when COVID-19 spelt doom on the world – “Test events are going to be really important for people to get back into venues. A lot of people are looking at them as the way back in.”

‘BBC Radio’ quoted the head honcho as stating, “Some of the Premier League teams did have games last Autumn so they’re well prepared to get everything back up and running. Stadiums are one of the first test event venues that can get up and running because they’re outdoor events and they have a fair bit of space.”

Drawing a parallel

OnePlan has worked with a number of English Premier League teams on their Seating Plan Assessment including Premier League teams Arsenal F.C., Chelsea F.C. and Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. – as well as the Brooklyn Nets National Basketball Association (NBA) team in the United States.

Foster informed, “These clubs benefit from our seating assessment model which can be continually adjusted to take account of ticket sales, and optimizes a venue’s seating capacity while adhering to social distancing regulations.”

What sports fans attending football fixtures and other events will need to experience in this new norm isn’t too dissimilar to other changes implemented in recent years. Now fans, at the 90,000-capacity Wembley Stadium in London as well as in other venues, will likely need to accept vaccine checks and COVID tests on arrival.

Talking about the fan experience, Foster observed, “Many years ago we didn’t have to go through security screening archways and have our bags checked, but now that’s common practice at major events. There are similarities here where, although it’s a different process, we need to understand how people behave and make sure the messaging to people is clear. So that we don’t cause crowds by putting something else in place with a big queue of people close together at the entrance of the stadium.”

Pilot lessons

When planning outdoor events to be COVID-safe, it will be key for event organizers to consider specific ways in which the attendee experience can be managed throughout an event. For UK outdoor event planners, The Purple Guide’s latest guidance provides a recommendation on measures that can be taken. OnePlan’s social distancing toolkit includes the ability for event organizers to design entrance and arrival areas for vaccine checks and COVID tests, as well as other factors once a fan or event attendee enters the venue fold.

The Purple Guide has been written by the Events Industry Forum in consultation with the events industry. Its aim is to help those event organizers who are duty holders to manage health and safety, particularly at large-scale music and similar events.

Maintained Foster, “I think it’ll be a lot of smaller measures that will make the difference. Things like one-way flows. Another idea is at half-time of a football match, rather than it being 15 minutes do we make it 20 minutes? Everyone wouldn’t be rushing to the bathroom or getting a beer at the same time.”

He concluded by stating, “Remember we had pilots last year and there were some really good learnings from that. A lot of people have been up and running doing events, so we’ve got to take learnings from what we’re doing already.”

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