Liz Loza sat down with Miami Dolphins CIO, Kimberly Rometo to discuss the football Stadiums of the future powered by Verizon and 5G technology.
LIZ LOZA: Kimberly Rometo, you are the Chief Information Officer at the Miami Dolphins. But what does that mean? What do you do?
KIMBERLY ROMETO: So I oversee technology and broadcast for the Miami Dolphins and for Hard Rock Stadium. So there's a piece of my job that supports the IT required for the team, making sure that the coaches and the players have everything that they need-- that they need to be successful on the field. There's a piece of my job that deals with broadcast, and making sure that what you see at home works effectively, and that what we see in Bowl is a great production. There's a piece that deals with traditional information technology and cyber security. So we have to make sure that the stadium is safe and secure to enable these great fan experiences.
LIZ LOZA: So you are juggling quite a bit. And a year ago, as you were preparing to host at Hard Rock Stadium the biggest football event, maybe the biggest pop culture event of the year, can you talk to me about how you were juggling everything to make that happen to mount that experience?
KIMBERLY ROMETO: Preparing for Super Bowl is like-- is like nothing you could experience. So it is a Homeland Security event. So we worked for an entire year with Homeland Security preparing for it.
There were a number of assessments and hunt assessments, threat assessments that were done. There were cyber tabletop exercises. You have to plan for every possible scenario. But in a lot of ways, preparing for the biggest game actually prepared us for COVID as well.
LIZ LOZA: How did you have to pivot? In what ways did the priorities that had started the year shifted given this new obstacle?
KIMBERLY ROMETO: We went from having events at our stadium every day to not having anything. And so we chose to expedite our strategic roadmap. So we worked on a business intelligence and data platform project. We also worked with our partners, Verizon, to look at our stadium and how we could modernize it and what pilots we could introduce to help bring fans back safely.
LIZ LOZA: So you mentioned this relationship, this partnership with Verizon 5G and the obvious tech that that brings to the stadium. Can you talk to me specifically about the Zyter Thermal Screening in keeping both fans and your employees safe?
KIMBERLY ROMETO: Certainly. So it allows us to do passive thermal. So we can look at temperatures, and people who might have an elevated temperature to have a secondary screening. We use it on our employees and our contractors, our game day staff today.
LIZ LOZA: And while thermal screening is part of this process of keeping fans and employees safe, can you also talk about Wicket?
KIMBERLY ROMETO: Certainly. So we're looking at a pilot right now. And really what Wicket is is it would be expedited entry. It would allow fans to take a picture of themselves, associate that picture with their tickets. So if you walked up and your face had four tickets associated with it, and you had three people with you, they would all then be able to enter the stadium in an expedited manner.
LIZ LOZA: And how does Verizon 5G enhance that experience or that technology?
KIMBERLY ROMETO: So it's created an environment where it's also ultra low latency. Before with the compute power having to be in a data center, you would have to go multiple hops in order to get that information, and it created delay. So you're standing there and you're waiting and you're waiting for a result to return.
Well, that's just not practical. With Verizon 5G and Edge, we can look at moving the compute to the Edge. And we can return a result, and approval, and a please proceed and have a great day in, you know, milliseconds or less.
LIZ LOZA: Are you anticipating that you will be at 65,000 with these technologies implemented by the fall and the 2021 NFL season?
KIMBERLY ROMETO: We will always defer to health and government officials. But that is the hope, yes.
LIZ LOZA: Wow. Thank you so much, Kimberly. I appreciate all of your insight. And I-- as I'm sure most of us are-- are very much looking forward to getting back to seeing live sports in stadium with all of these enhancements included. Thank you so much for joining us.
KIMBERLY ROMETO: You're so very welcome. We look forward to having you here.