Digital Future

Our projects are often vast in scale, which means they can take years to reach completion. With the speed at which technology advances, there is a danger that these venues might be outdated before the first visitors have even taken their seat.

Our Digital Futures team is a collection of forward-thinking designers who explore and create new technologies that propel our designs into exciting new frontiers, and result in buildings that not only stand the test of time but define the future.

For over 40 years, Populous has been a driving force for innovation in sports and entertainment, consistently raising the bar with each new venue, space and event that we create. Through our ongoing exploration of the digital realm, we have maintained a position of leadership, while propelling the advancement of technology in our industry.

Our team is focused on cutting-edge digital products, leveraging our Intellectual Property through big data management, analysis-driven design, and the incorporation of new generative processes.

Areas of Digital Innovation

The goal of the Digital team is simple: to keep driving Populous forward, offering new products, services and insights that boost revenue for our clients and enhance the experience of their fans. With that aim, we focus our attention in four key areas.

  • Data and Analytics

    When you’re dealing with an audience of thousands in a live venue — and millions watching at home — you have access to a huge amount of data. Understand how to analyze that data effectively and it becomes a very powerful tool.

    Through our work, we generate and process a staggering amount of information collected from millions of data points across all our projects. We use that information to gain a deeper understanding of the venues we design, as well as the changing needs and habits of the people who visit them, throughout all phases of the building’s life cycle. At its simplest, this improves our own knowledge, but it also allows us to help our clients and our partners.

  • Scenario Modeling

    When a client approaches us at the very earliest stages of a project — possibly before they even know what it is they actually need — we’re able to use our resources to analyze the facilities they already have. Based on this data, and data gathered from our other projects, we help them identify the route forward that’s most suitable for them and for their budget. We do this by anticipating several potential future opportunities for development.

    At the smaller end of the scale, we might suggest simple upgrades, like enhancing premium hospitality spaces, or more significant additions, such as a new stand or a retractable roof, all the way up to complete venue-wide renovation, or even an entirely new stadium. We supply costs and timeframes for each scenario, as well as detailed data that predicts future changes in revenue and enhancements to the fan experience. This helps eliminate risk so that our clients can make decisions with confidence.

  • Digital Products

    Our knowledge of the sports and entertainment sector is our most valuable asset, and our Digital Products team draws on that strength to create products that will benefit the other designers in our practice, as well as our partners and collaborators.

    This might include custom programs, plug-ins for our platforms, and tools to increase the quality and efficiency of our work. Some of these new tools have had a dramatic impact. For example, we have built a new tool that lets us calculate all the 3D C-values of a 50,000-seat stadium in under a minute — something that only a few years ago would take our team about three days.

  • Digital Delivery

    The sheer size and complexity of our projects means that we have to constantly push the boundaries of what industry-standard software can do, as well as improving the efficiency of standard delivery methodologies so that they work at the scales we require. To do this, we’re constantly developing innovative new tools and workflows for ourselves and for our partners.

    During the design and delivery of Kai Tak Sports Park, an enormous project covering a 28-hectare site in Hong Kong, we worked with hundreds of consultants and partners to develop a brand new methodology of BIM management for large projects. We were able to combine all the BIM models used by our collaborators — a staggering 800+ models — into a single model. This has streamlined the delivery process and drastically improved the efficiency of our collaborative workflows.

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