Hoopfest goes high tech

Hoopfest goes high tech

Have you ever been to a large event and have had trouble sending a text, making a call or posting a selfie to Instagram? That’s something cell companies are hoping to avoid this weekend at Hoopfest.

As you walk around Riverfront Park in Spokane you’ll notice COWs, or Cell on Wheels. They are mobile towers to keep you connected to friends, family and everything Hoopfest.

Speaking of Hoopfest, the event app is back this year with some improvements. You can track your team, find a first aid station, keep up with the latest Hoopfest news and it’s been designed with the cell networks in mind.

“It’s designed to so that it tries to grab as little data as it can from cyberspace, so it’s already designed to kind of reduce the load on the infrastructure we have,” Hoopfest Executive Director Matt Santangelo said.

Over the years Hoopfest has adapted to changing technology, but it hasn’t come without challenges. Santangelo says its tough to test for something that involves a quarter of a million people.

“With the addition of the app and the addition of the supported infrastructure, you know every year we are just going to get better and better and better,” Santangelo said.

The one thing that puts all this technology to the test is the weather. Two years ago it was lighting, last year it was rain and this year record heat.

“You always have those variables that are the layer of the technology impacting how that technology performs, so it’s always a puzzle,” Santangelo said.

The City of Spokane says they are also boosting their Wi-Fi in Riverfront park to handle the added demand, working to make sure the technology runs as smooth as your Hoopfest game.