The importance of video technology in a post-pandemic era

Lund, Sweden

Intelligent network video technology is not only limited to health and safety, but stadium organisers are also using the technology to improve situational awareness across their entire operation.

As with many industries, changes made during and following the pandemic have showcased the extent that smart technology can help ensure the health and safety of live sports audiences.  Here, Mark McCormack, Senior National Sales Manager Global and National Accounts at Axis Communications explains how network surveillance cameras can play a central role, providing a comprehensive view of stadium car parks, the benefits of touchless, cashless operations in and around stadiums, as well as the technology solutions for managing the movement of large crowds.

Full car park coverage

To begin with, for many fans parking has a big impact on shaping their game day experience. Smart technology can play a key role in the management of parking areas to ensure the safety and security of these fans.

Network surveillance cameras enable a comprehensive view of car parks which can help prevent, detect, and deter unwanted activities, thereby improving visitor confidence. These surveillance cameras can be combined with video and audio analytics and speaker horns, alerting responders to react quickly to incidents in real time.

For example, security can be alerted when a party grows larger than desired or exhibit any anti-social behaviour likely to make other fans feel uncomfortable or representing a safety risk. Staff would have the option of physically intervening or broadcasting a warning to fans before events get out of hand. Automatic audio messages can be used to deter disruptive behaviours.

In the event of an incident, the presence of an integrated network surveillance solution also provides easy access to accurate and detailed visual evidence for investigations.

The move to smartphones and analytics solutions

The transition from printing and mailing game tickets to electronic ticketing was underway prior to the pandemic. Scanning a fan’s smartphone is not only much more sanitary than exchanging pieces of paper upon entry, but also more cost efficient and sustainable.

Smartphones can also support in organising entry times into stadiums. Rather than having to deal with the chaos of a traditional stampede as stadium gates first open, a smartphone app can be used to alert fans of when their specific gates are open, or even manage the timing of entry to specific blocks of seats in the stadium.

In relation to queue management, analytics can address bottlenecks at the entrances in real-time and automatically notify staff when they need to move some fans to a less congested gate. As a result preventing the harmful incidents that can occur in an overcrowded space.

The increasing use of touchless, cashless operations

The less congested an area can be made, the safer and easier to manage it is. Organisers are shifting to touchless, cashless operations in efforts to reduce congestion and thus keep their fans and staff protected.

Rather than fans lining up to purchase food and souvenirs, stadiums are adopting their own version of ‘click and collect’. Fans can place and pay for their orders through their smartphones and are notified when they’re ready for pickup. Once they pick up their order, the new norm will then be to return to their seats to eat rather than gather in stadium concourses, potentially causing overcrowding.

Following the pandemic and the push for a touchless experience, stadiums can now have fitted bathrooms with touchless door controls, taps, hand dryers and towel dispensers. Additionally, video analytics and network speakers can be used to track and limit how many people can be in a bathroom at a time.

In VIP lounges and bars, occupancy management analytics are also being used to enforce assembly limits dictated by local guidelines. If a gathering crowd reaches a threshold, stadium personnel automatically receive an alert to disperse the group into smaller parties.

Intelligent network video technology is not only limited to health and safety, but stadium organisers are also using the technology to improve situational awareness across their entire operation. This includes monitoring the kitchens to assure staff follow the official health and safety protocols when handling and preparing food. Intelligent technology can also be used to record loading dock deliveries and provide forensic evidence to reconcile discrepancies.

Full capacity stadiums are back

Smart technology solutions can help manage the movement of a large crowd to maintain health and safety, along with the all-important audio communications to keep everyone informed. This accounts for the moment fans enter the car parks, to entering the stadium, accessing food and souvenirs, and exiting.

Since the Coronavirus pandemic there has been a new norm of heightened health and safety. The return to stadiums at full capacity has also brought with it unanticipated new challenges. Now more than ever, for stadiums to continue to deliver the full fan experience in all its exciting glory, intelligent network technology is proving to be the way forward.


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