Little Caesar’s Arena in downtown Detroit is installing advanced technology from NTT Corp. in Japan to provide both enhanced situational awareness for the venue’s management team and an improved fan experience.
NTT is working with Ilitch Sports + Entertainment (IS+E), which owns and operates the LCA, the Innovation Institute for Fan Experience (IIFX), and members of its “Xperience” Consortium to deploy NTT’s Smart Solutions for a Smart Venue and the arena.
As the leader of this initial IIFX Xperience Consortium project, NTT will help collect digital data from multiple sources in real time. NTT Smart Solutions will be deployed to monitor occupancy level at the venue by applying predictive and correlative analytics to the data collected from optical sensors and ticket scans.
The system will count the number of people in front of a gate and the number of tickets scanned, will visualize people traffic volumes, and then determine both the real-time and the predicted occupancy level and entry wait times.
“We are pleased to partner with NTT to enhance the guest and security experience at Little Caesars Arena,” says Richard Fenton, vice president of corporate security and safety at Ilitch Holdings. “Ensuring the safety of our fans and colleagues is our top priority, and incorporating evolving technologies is a key part of that process.”
In addition to safety and security, today’s fans increasingly are looking for immersive, connected, and social experiences that start from the moment they leave home and end upon their return, according to the companies involved.
Through the IIFX Xperience Consortium project, which includes leading technology innovators Axis Communications and Johnson Controls, the latest cutting-edge technology solutions will be installed at Little Caesars Arena to help address the current and emerging industry challenges.
“NTT continues to lead the way in digitally transforming the sports and entertainment industry,” says Akira Shimada, senior executive vice president of NTT. “We are delighted to find new opportunities to expand our footprint in Little Caesars Arena, one of the greatest entertainment venues in the United States. We look forward to expanding our partnership with Ilitch Sports + Entertainment and IIFX to support other venues in improving visitor experience.”
The initial phase of the project will be focused on leveraging data from two main entrances to the arena and will include a total of four AXIS M5525-E network cameras to be used as crowd counting optical sensors. Two sensors will be installed at the Huntington Entry Northwest Entrance and an additional pair will be at the Comerica Southeast Entrance. NTT will deliver a web-based management dashboard to present visualizations and analytics in a single pane of view.
“We are deepening our capabilities and evolving our value proposition to meet specific needs for venues. Furthermore, this partnership with Ilitch Holdings will be instrumental in strengthening our presence in the Detroit area,” says Bill Baver, vice president of NTT Smart Solutions.


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