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Stadiums become more intelligent with new technology

Stadiums become more intelligent with new technology
Although no technology can predict or prevent an outside attack from happening, stadiums can now use new technologies alongside traditional ones to maximize their efficiency when responding to such events.
The Internet of Things (IoT) has been a catalyst for new technologies. In fact, increasing adoption of the IoT is one of the major drivers for smart stadium growth globally. According to a report by MarketsandMarkets, the global smart stadium market is expected to increase from US$4.6 billion in 2016 to $17.3 billion by 2021, at a CAGR of 30.2 percent during the forecast period. Regionally, Europe is leading the smart stadium market in terms of market share.

Growth in the smart stadium market is being attributed to factors such as a rising focus on enhancing fan engagement and offering an unforgettable customer experience, the report stated. In order to reach such goals, however, there is a need for smart technologies. Additionally, an increasing frequency of upcoming sport events across the globe and government initiatives for smart building projects are also driving market growth.

Keeping stadiums safe, however, is a challenge. Despite the efforts of even the best traditional security technology, in today’s world, it’s just not enough. Although no technology can predict or prevent an outside attack from happening, stadiums can now use new technologies alongside traditional ones to maximize their efficiency when responding to such events.

Looking for Faces in a Crowd

With up to 100,000 people crammed together in one space, the deployment of effective crowd management technology could be crucial to identifying unwanted persons. In fact, according to a report by KBV Research, the global crowd analytics market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 25.9 percent from 2016 to 2022, and is forecast to reach a market size of $1.5 billion by 2022.

"This technology informs users on how large venue crowds may react when an incident occurs which requires emergency evacuation or sheltering in place,” explained Jeffrey Miller, SVP of MSA Security. “This information can greatly aid event planners and security personnel in understanding where to deploy staff and how to communicate effectively in an emergency.”

Herta Security’s crowd management software detects multiple faces in real time over multiple video surveillance cameras and is very tolerant to changes in illumination, pose and partial face occlusions, which are the main factors involved in a crowded stadium environment.

The software, according to Laura Blanc, International Marketing Executive at Herta Security, is optimized for GPU architectures, works many times faster than traditional systems (up to 600 fps), and works with very high-resolution IP cameras and video streams. The technology is fully automatic and non-invasive and works properly on changes of facial expression, illumination, beard, eyeglasses, scarfs and caps.

“Every time there is a ‘match’ it means that there has been a coincidence with the person previously registered in the database and the one that has been detected. Our software can send instant alarms to tablets or smartphones, and is totally scalable in terms of numbers of cameras, database size and multiple sites and installations,” Blanc explained.

By using cameras integrated with access control systems located at the main entrance door to a stadium, Herta’s software can identify a certain subjects and block access if there is a match.

Blanc noted how face recognition is a perfect complement to an already-existing surveillance system, providing both security and enhanced customer experience in real time.

“Facial recognition can also be used for forensic search of recorded data — hence data does not necessarily have to be live. Our facial recognition solution integrates with access control systems, and it is a highly reliable way of automating entry access,” she said. “Matching live images from security cameras toward a watch list or black list of specific individuals, our solution smoothens security processes and also helps through automatic alerts.”
Oleg Vornik,
CEO and MD, 

Protecting Stadiums Against Drones

Several drone incidents at stadiums have led to a heightened interest in anti-drone measures and a general need for better aerial protection. Drones have become a nuisance and even a security concern at stadiums.

“Stadiums remain to have excellent protection from ground based threat, but little to no protection from aerial threats, such as drones,” said Oleg Vornik, CEO and MD of DroneShield. “The drone technology evolves quickly, and packed locations represent prime opportunity for terrorists, but also competition spying on sports team practices, fans filming games and infringing on TV networks rights, and endangering players and public.”

DroneShield offers DroneSentinel, a hardware and software system that can detect incoming drones using a combination of radar, radio frequency, acoustics, thermal and optical cameras; it can also combine with jamming to neutralize a drone where legal for the venue’s security. In fact, DroneShield has been working with Boston Police to provide drone security to the Boston Marathon for last three years.

DroneShield’s anti-drone technologies integrate via a common API protocol to the main security control centers of a stadium. By utilizing a common API protocol, it gives it the ability to ingrate with more custom systems as appropriate. The system provides an advanced warning with a detection and location service for an intruding drone, allowing for a timely reaction of relevant authorities.

Social Media Monitoring

Social media monitoring services came under fire in the fall of 2016 when Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all cut access to well-known social media monitoring firm Geofeedia. At the time, the service had been revealed by the ACLU as a tool being used by the government to track in real-time protests. Still, though, Miller noted that “social media intelligence is gaining more widespread support as an effective tool to better understand potential threats to a facility, the players/performers or fans.”

In its resource guide for best practices in anti-terrorism security for sporting and entertainment venues, the Command, Control and Interoperability Center for Advanced Data Analysis (CCICADA) states, “The use of social media for stadium security is growing rapidly and new uses are still developing. Social media may be an effective way to distribute pre-event information updates to patrons expecting to attend an event. Following an event, social media may present efficient ways to collect data concerning patron satisfaction and fan experience.”

The CCICADA also highlights the use of social media feeds as useful investigative or security risk tools. “Crowd sourcing through social media provides a method to obtain situational information and awareness that otherwise might not be easily available,” it said.

Aside from security, the use of social media intelligence is also great way to engage event goers and an important tool for brand marketing.

Getting More Intelligent

Stadiums will continue to get smarter as more and more advanced technologies reveal their usefulness. Furthermore, artificial intelligence and machine learning have become increasingly important in the security market, and as such, will also find a place in stadium security.

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