Football fans the winners as signal-boosting app heads to more stadiums

Brighton & Hove Albion’s clever signal-sharing app gets Football League backing just in time for the new season

An app that aims to end the problem of bad phone signal in big stadiums is heading to more football grounds around the country, including Loftus Road, home of newly promoted QPR.

Originally developed for Brighton & Hove Albion by a team at the University of Sussex, the free Android and iOS app creates a network between phones within the stadium to share what little signal is available. Within the app fans can then check scores, team info and more while they sup a half-time pint or force down a soggy pie (unless they’re at Brighton’s Amex Stadium, where the pies really are excellent).

Now Middlesbrough, Birmingham, Bolton, Watford and Premier League n00bs Queens Park Rangers have signed up to use the technology for their own signal-sharing apps, with more clubs hoping to follow soon.

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An official tie-in with the Football League also means latest scores from around the grounds are supplied by Opta, plus there’s the usual travel info and Twitter feeds.

The iOS version of its previous incarnation – the Brighton-only Digital Stadium – used Apple’s Game API to communicate between phones, but the new version operates more like its Android sibling: it makes use of the iPhone’s Multipeer Connectivity tech to send data over Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Direct (aka AirDrop) or local networks, rather than having to rely on 3G signals or an internet connection, much like FireChat does to exchange messages with other nearby users.

The Albion, the Seagulls-specific version of the app, is available now (and will even work at away games), along with Hornets Hive for Watford fans, Blues Hive for Brummies and the less imaginatively titled Queens Park Rangers and Bolton Wanderers apps for use at Loftus Road and the Trotters’ newly renamed Macron Stadium respectively. Middlesbrough’s version of the app is scheduled for release later this week. 

Fancy checking the apps out in time for the new season? You can download the Android versions here and the iOS versions here.

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