The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way that football stadiums need to approach match days.
While many cities across Australia and the world have lowered restrictions as vaccination rates have skyrocketed, the safety of fans is still crucial – ensuring that crowds are minimising risk remains a priority.
Some are turning to technology to help assist in these processes. American-based company BriefCam is leading the way in developing answers to the many new questions of the last two years.
Founded in 2008, BriefCam was originally based on technology developed at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem by Prof. Shmuel Peleg – a renowned computer vision researcher.
BriefCam develops video analysis tools to be used in cameras for law enforcement, retail, transport and stadiums. These tools can be used in a number of ways to help identify potential security and safety issues long before they happen.
With infection numbers still high across the world, many believe that face masks should still be worn in high capacity locations, even if that particular city or country no longer enforces those restrictions. Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola spoke on this in December last year.
“There are people in the stadiums who don’t use masks, and that surprises me the most. You walk in the street, you go to the big malls, to places to buy presents for the family and no one uses masks,” Guardiola said.
“Vaccinations, booster jabs, the people [can] decide – but a part of that has to be social distancing and masks. It’s the best way to protect ourselves, our families and the rest of the people.”
In England, face masks are currently required to be worn by law in healthcare settings, but not on public transport or in stadiums or airports. Fliers don’t have to keep their faces covered unless the country they are flying to require them to do so.
BriefCam video analysis technology can help to control this. Footage captured through its stadium cameras can identify patrons not wearing masks, areas within stadiums where masks are largely unworn, and even perform proximity analysis to see whether football fans are observing social distancing.
This analysis can be used to direct security to those risk-averse areas of the stadium to ensure patrons are following guidelines, or to strategically place signage directing patrons to wear a mask or socially distance.
Assisting in safety and observance of COVID regulations is just one of the ways that BriefCam’s analysis tools can be used. It is also useful when considering how to make the security and financial output of the stadium and its facilities as best as they can be.
Facial recognition software can be applied when working with stadium security or other authorities in cases of offenders on premises. The tools can filter through characteristics of those captured in video footage to track and locate the movement of anyone that needs to be removed or banned from the stadium.
This can be also used to locate lost children that may have become separated from family in large crowded areas.
As most stadiums also include food and drink stands, the video analysis tools can be used to maximise the efficiency of those, along with merchandise stalls and other sales areas throughout the stadium. The analysis can pinpoint which stands receive the most traffic, and can help stadium staff to either direct people elsewhere or put more resources towards the running of those areas.
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