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Six ways AI and video analytics can deliver a winning stadium experience

The nail-biting thrill of the game. Roaring cheers from the stands.

A true sports fan can tell you that there’s nothing quite as exciting as watching a live match unfold before your eyes in a stadium filled with other sports fanatics. With pandemic restrictions disappearing and fan interest growing, it appears that most sports leagues are returning to packed stadiums. But how can club owners prepare for the challenges that come with it?

Challenges faced by stadium management teams

While fans and spectators have a ball of a time in the stands, stadium managers and club owners have a very different task at hand. Stadium management and venue security are fraught with risks, challenges and compliance issues. Even on the best days, it can be a tall order to manage players and coaches, maintain secure premises, comply with league protocols, ensure attendee safety, handle reporters and broadcasters, and provide a unique matchday experience.

Now imagine doing all these tasks simultaneously. How about during peak season?

Thankfully, the Digital Age has ushered in cutting-edge technology to help prioritize your tasks, streamline your activities and provide you with insights and control over every aspect of stadium operations.

Beyond the playing field

Today, spacious stadiums with premium seating arrangements, first-class amenities and quality designs function as multi-purpose arenas, complete with merchandise stores, gaming studios, lounges, feature bars, and photo booths. This doesn’t just level the playing field but transforms the game by bridging the gap between sports and entertainment for that unparalleled digital fan experience.

However, there are many elements that can disrupt these plans. Crowded stadiums are not just for the fans, but may be hotspots for thieves and con artists, or even worse, professional hackers or terrorists looking to make headlines and cause mass-scale panic.

In view of such threats, stadium owners and staff need to adhere to strict safety protocols and failproof security measures to ensure nothing affects or dampens the fan experience.

Six ways AI and video analytics are changing the game

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the game-changing digital enabler that you are looking for. Here’s how. It equips stadiums with video analytics for a safer and enhanced end-user experience, both for fans and stadium managers. AI-enabled video analytics ensures security across various access areas like entrances, parking lots, dressing rooms, staff rooms and queues.

It also works in real time, enabling rapid incident response and crowd management to improve visitor experiences and optimize your staff’s time and efforts. If a threat is detected or a potential risk is identified, your staff members are immediately alerted to tackle the situation. However crowded the venue may be, whatever the conditions are, computer vision detects and helps you and your security operators make the right decisions quickly.

While video feeds and analytics can obviously help you with queue monitoring, ticketing and accessibility to stands, they can also be used for more advanced capabilities. We have outlined six of these potential use cases below.

1. Facial recognition helps fast-track VIP queues and expedite smoother entry and vehicle parking for distinguished guests.

2. On an entirely different note, the same solution’s video analytics can help you separate fans from troublemakers by scanning individual facial prints through a watchlist to identify any hooligans on the premises. Similarly, it can identify scalpers from a watchlist or even pinpoint new scalpers trying to resell their tickets to enthusiastic unsuspecting fans.

3. Your team can be quickly alerted in case of intrusions, overcrowding or slow-moving queues, so that they can deploy the necessary measures to address a potential issue.

4. Crowded places pose a public safety risk, since they are hotspots for abandoned objects or luggage — the contents of which may be harmless or a real threat. With today’s advanced video capabilities, stadium managers can quickly detect these abandoned objects and mitigate a potential risk before it takes place.

5. On an equally serious note, children and even adults often get lost in crowded spaces like stadium stands. Armed with multiple feeds and facial recognition capabilities, next-generation video analytics can quickly upload a picture of the missing person then scan all the video feeds to quickly locate them.

6. The safety of players and coaches is of paramount importance, and video analytics ensure restricted access to the locker rooms, practice facilities, weight room, cafeterias, sports medicine and recovery room, and executive areas. You can also backtrack and analyze incidents after a match, such as tracing contact and proximity in case of sicknesses and outbreaks — an important capability in today’s post-pandemic world.

The above-mentioned points reiterate how AI and video analytics can be leveraged to help your team achieve their goal of providing a better, more secure matchday experience.

AI on the ball: Recommended next steps

While physical security at the venue is important, it is equally critical to have a bird’s eye view of what is happening on the ground in real time, at all times. This demands significant manpower, time and efforts, with hundreds of staff members deployed to view video footage and manually scan for troublesome elements. Collaborating with a technology partner enables you to enhance your security protocols, and a robust AI solution can multiply your manpower to do more with less. It can scan hundreds of video feeds, provide real-time analysis and alert your teams about possible risks or threats.

Ipsotek is a software solution that uses pre-trained AI models and GPU-enabled hardware to provide you with real-time information, alerts and dynamic insights. It works in a plug-and-play model that can be seamlessly integrated with the existing cameras at your venue for fast deployment and quicker results.

It extracts metadata from live video streams to improve response time, boost your operational efficiency, alert you to specific behavior and events, and even allow operators to perform forensic searches with dynamic dashboards, creating a seamless, secure experience for your teams and fans.

It works hand-in-hand with the Atos Computer Vision Platform, a highly scalable end-to-end solution powered by the industry-leading BullSequana server range and backed up with years of expertise. If you are looking for an optimizable, scalable security solution for your stadium without compromising on the ultimate fan experience, Atos experts are ready to help. Don’t get blindsided by the challenges that come your way. Keep your eye on the ball and leverage the power of AI to enhance security and experience at your events. It’s truly a winning combination.

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About Chris Bishop
Sales Director APAC at Ipsotek
An experienced senior management professional with a proven track record of growing new business in established and emerging markets and successfully delivering enterprise solutions in the UK, EMEA and APAC regions. Success has been built through excellent leadership, managerial, communication and team building skills, combined with extensive business management and commercial acumen. Key vertical markets include: Transportation (Air, Rail, Road), CNI, Smart City and Security. Professional track record includes senior positions in: Sales, Strategic Business Development, Professional Services, Systems Integration and Product Innovation.

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