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How stadiums can benefit from crowd management solutions

How stadiums can benefit from crowd management solutions
Crowd management solutions have wide-ranging applications. Specifically, sports and entertainment events held at stadiums are key use cases, where organizers can use these solutions to deliver a safer and more pleasant experience for attendees.
Needless to say, stadiums are ideal locations for hosting sports games as well as other types of events, such as music festivals or concerts, and typically draw large crowds. However, crowds forming at the location can be dangerous and incur undesirable incidents. In one recent example, the Nedbank Cup semi-final held in Cape Town in April 2018 saw violence erupt at the end of the game, causing a total damage of some US$180,000.
According to a whitepaper by GSM Association, this is where stadium operators can be assisted with crowd management solutions, which have both security and non-security applications. “The managers are concerned with how to safely manage the crowds of people attending, how to ensure that they arrive and depart by appropriate means, how to ensure customers have a satisfactory experience and return again, and how they can maximize the revenue opportunities from having a sizeable crowd in place,” it said. “By utilizing appropriate crowd management technologies, the event managers can put plans in place before an event to ensure the above criteria are met, and then effectively view and manage a crowd during an event to ensure its success.”
The key to these crowd management solutions at stadiums lies in the data, generated by devices, from cameras to IoT sensors, that provides insights on where crowds are forming, how people are moving about or how long is the queue to certain stands. “Sports stadium managers can use these technologies to see how people flow through and around their venues, ensuring that enough staff are allocated to security gates and bars, and providing safety marshalling at appropriate times,” the paper said.

Role of video surveillance

Meanwhile, a separate blog post by Axis Communications cites the key role that video surveillance plays in crowd management at stadiums. “Stadium management will be able to efficiently monitor entrances, exits, ticket stands, escape routes, stairways and food as well as beverage stands, have an automatic camera tampering alarm to ensure continuous operation, along with vandal resistant cameras for cost-efficient operation and maintenance,” it said. “Furthermore, they will automatic alerts for trespassing and perimeter breach, be able to more efficiently investigate incidents through quick access to relevant video, and video quality that’s valid in court, while enabling centralized monitoring for optimal crowd and traffic control.”
Sporting or other events held outside stadiums, for example within a city, can also benefit. In a case study provided by the GSMA whitepaper, Orange Belgium has been collaborating with local service provider Cropland and the City of Antwerp to deploy a crowd management solution for local events, such as the hosting of the Tour de France and the Tall Ships Races event. According to the paper, Orange Belgium is able to provide a real-time data stream of the location of all mobile phones connected to its network within a given area.
“This positioning data is derived from an analysis of the connection of phones to masts across 2G, 3G and 4G networks, as well as use of a timestamp to accurately position a device. Mobile phones in the area are all given a unique, anonymous ID,” the whitepaper cites. “This data is displayed via a crowd monitoring tool developed by Orange Belgium and Cropland for the City of Antwerp to use for security, mobility and city marketing purposes. This dashboard shows the density of people within small squares across the given area, and allows the city to monitor the crowd in real-time.”

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