BriefCam: Adapting stadium security and safety to the modern age

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.”

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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.

Staff Writer
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FC Barcelona reach Latin American fans with Rappi

FC Barcelona and Rappi

FC Barcelona added Latin American home-delivery service Rappi to its existing group of partners, in what is being described as a hugely beneficial moment for fans in the region.

The current two-and-half year deal is a part of FC Barcelona’s continued brand expansion in the Americas, meeting several of its commercial targets as it asserts itself as one of the world’s leading sports brands.

Football is not new territory for home-delivery company Rappi. They actively sponsor several men’s and women’s football clubs across Central and South America, which has helped achieve its current status as one of the leading home-delivery services in the region.

This status as one of Latin America’s leading technology brands is evidenced by its mobile service that connects customers to food and e-commerce products and delivers them to homes within 10 minutes.

FC Barcelona Marketing Area Vice-President, Juli Guiu, highlighted the deal will be a win for Barca fans in Latin America.

“Through this partnership with Rappi, we are boosting our privileged position in this region and helping to improve the fan experience by connecting with them via imaginative, disruptive actions that drive emotions and empathy,” he said in a statement.

Astrid Mirkin, Chief Marketing Officer of Spanish Markets and Head of Brand/Sponsorships at Rappi, elaborated further on Guiu’s comments regarding fan experience.

“With Rappi becoming the exclusive delivery partner of FC Barcelona in Latin America, we will significantly improve the experiences of both the Rappi customer and the FC Barcelona fan at a key consumption moment,” Mirkin added via press release.

“This partnership with FC Barcelona will allow customers to receive additional special offers during games and drive additional orders to our merchants and couriers.”

FC Barcelona will provide Rappi with LED hoardings at the Olympic Stadium and its spiritual home, Camp Nou, when its renovation is completed. Further benefits for the company come in the shape of hospitality packages and brand association with the Barca Legends team.

Inter-continental relationships, particularly between European football clubs and non-European companies, offer substantial economic benefits that can enrich its impact on both football and society.

In addition, fans across the globe not only benefit from exclusive offers in their region, but get a deeper connection to clubs they support from afar.

Sporting codes unite to give ‘red card’ to online abuse in sport

eSafety

Football institutions across Australia are demonstrating its unequivocal support for Australia’s independent regulator for online safety, eSafety.

The program rolls out a series of new resources connected to tackling online abuse in sport.

Recognised as a growing problem across all levels of Australian sport, online abuse can now be tackled head-on by sports associations, clubs and individuals, through consulting resources on eSafety’s website, such as:

Importantly, eSafety also provides further specific resources for sports administrators, coaches and officials, athletes and competitors, and sports parents.

Minister for Communications, the Hon Michelle Rowland MP, believes the importance of these new resources to sport should not be understated.

“Whatever your code, team or position, I strongly encourage you to use these new eSafety resources and encourage your teams, members and supporters to uphold values of respect, fairness and sportsmanship – both on the field and online,” she stated via media release.

The Commissioner for eSafety, Julie Inman Grant, claims that online abuse in sport should receive the same attention and rules as physical abuse does from the sideline.

“This insidious problem is casting a dark shadow over sporting activities that more than 11 million Australians enjoy every week. Targeted online harassment takes a mental and emotional toll on the very people who make sport happen: our coaches, umpires and players,” Inman Grant added via press release.

“On the receiving end of every piece of online vitriol is a person: someone’s child, mum, neighbour, friend, uncle or sister. We cannot let our passion for the game blind us to the damaging impact of harmful online words and actions,” Inman Grant added.

Given the recent increases in popularity of women’s football, eSafety’s newest resources come at a crucial time to help safeguard the women’s football community.

As a whole, it will be vital to all stakeholders within the game, to assist in promoting a healthy environment free from online abuse.

Visit eSafety.gov.au/Sport to access the community sport resources and online safety advice.

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