Advantages of Leveraging AI for Event Security
With any live public gathering, there is always the risk of something going wrong. Large crowds bring a special atmosphere to the event but at the same time create a range of security exposures ranging from petty theft and disagreements between attendees to gun violence and terrorist attacks.
Regardless of the event size and type, event organizers must take all the measures necessary to ensure safe and secure experiences for event-goers. Much depends on preparation. The more meticulous it is the better. However, unexpected threats can pop up and put people’s lives at risk. That is why it is critical to anticipate potential risks and prepare for them properly and also to have effective tools to react to unforeseen incidents if those occur. That’s the ability that AI can empower event security with.
How can AI-powered solutions help enhance event security and heighten awareness of possible incidents and the readiness to deal with them? Keep reading to find out.
Assessing security risks
Event security is a quite complex process that entails proper preparedness, advanced planning and training. As many situations can be predicted the first thing to do is to assess security risks. That means overseeing every detail and every possible incident that could happen and preparing adequately to handle them. It is also important to build strong relations with vendors and screen the staff as a threat can often go from inside.
The emergency response plan is imperative for all but the smallest gathering to maintain safety for everyone involved. Many things should be considered well in advance including ways to mass evacuation, active shooter response measures, how to communicate during an emergency, signage, and notifications for guests regarding how to respond.
The size, scope, location and type of the event determine security measures. For high-profile events, major celebrations, highly publicized conferences it is reasonable to hire security experts and utilize advanced security technologies. While security professionals can help consider every single potential threat and respond to them adequately, security technologies and AI can reduce the likelihood of risks and make security personnel better aware of the situation, faster in response, thus more effective. When the lives of thousands of people are on the line, no effort is too much.
Effective access control
Access control is an essential component of event security. When organizing an event, it’s important to assure that the attendees who are allowed to enter an event are doing so easily, event staff gets access to the areas and equipment they need with no hindrance while everyone unauthorized is kept out.
The entrance is one of the most critical points for access control. The proof of access should be checked carefully while making visitors feel welcome and producing a positive first experience. However, it can be a problem as an entrance is a crowd flow bottleneck where long queues can form quickly.
With AI-powered access control systems utilizing face recognition technology the process of screening attendees, visitors, event workers or media at the entrance points will go faster and more smoothly. The system scans the crowd and approves entry of individuals without needing a human to check the credentials of everyone. It also helps prevent such situations as sneaking in, sharing badges, and misusing the stolen ones.
Registering with no lines looks like a dream but it is possible with AI technologies like biometric registration. First and foremost, the system will allow a more efficient and accurate way to verify attendees’ identities while reducing human error and oversight. Besides, it will make the registration process fast and help avoid hassle and delays, thus reducing the negative impact on the attendees’ experience.
Some areas around the event venue are only permitted for certain groups of people, like artists wanting to be left in peace, VIP areas or technical rooms where there is expensive equipment. Incorporating AI into the access control system ensures that curious guests don’t stray into those areas and prevent thefts of valuable assets.
It’s also important to ensure that the crowd in the venue never grows beyond the capacity limit. AI-powered access control makes it possible to keep track of total numbers counting the number of people who have already been admitted to a certain area. That allows event organizers to control access to the same space and maintain the right flow.
Enhanced video surveillance
Another prerequisite of a safe event is awareness of what is going on at every point of the event area at all times. Security guards cannot be everywhere 24/7. As such, they need an effective video surveillance system that will function as the second set of eyes for the security guards and enable them to monitor not only public areas such as entries, parking lots, garages and seating but also backstage areas and offices.
With hundreds of cameras across the venue, operators can keep an entire facility under safe watch. The problem is that it’s unrealistic for the security staff to constantly and efficiently monitor a large number of cameras in real-time or review the high volumes of video streams. AI analytics can do that for them, detecting all the pending threats and alerting security staff to them. What takes hours of valuable time and staff resources – while being subject to human error – an intelligent analytics system does in seconds with high accuracy and effectiveness. Potentially dangerous situations like intrusions, vandalism, thefts or violent behavior can be spotted, prevented or managed before they lead to problems or deteriorate into accidents.
Where there are crowds, it’s not uncommon for slips and falls to transpire. In the aftermath, security teams must quickly understand the scene and initiate appropriate actions. Video analytics helps them efficiently receive information from multiple cameras and be fast in their response.
Large gatherings such as conferences, trade shows, sporting events, festivals, concerts, or large weddings and parties bring together many people from multiple households in a private or public space. That increases the risks associated with the COVID-19. As such, organizers have to assess whether they are able to put proper safety measures in place during large gatherings. Otherwise, an event should be canceled, postponed or be held virtually instead.
Live events have to comply with CDC’s large events guidance which recommends conducting health checks such as temperature screening and another symptom checking of staff and attendees, considering limiting the number of people in public areas and ensuring that people maintain a 6-foot distance from one another. It is a daunting task given the number of attendees, event workers, mass media and other people involved. It takes much time and requires much more staff to carry out all these checks and causes many inconveniences to the event guests.
With artificial intelligence, event organizers get an efficient tool to address these challenges in a way that is contactless, fast and respectful. Integrated with the cameras across all the venues, AI solutions continuously count the number of people who occupy the restroom at one time, check whether the social distance is observed, control mask usage and remotely scan skin temperatures. It takes AI seconds to detect violations and notify security personnel about them. AI-powered solutions also allow touchless access control which meets a growing need for contactless security in the time of COVID-19.
Preventing active shooting and violent incidents
There’s a security threat any time you collect a large number of people together. Big crowds present an easy target for terrorists and active shooters. Large gatherings, especially high-profile events are like magnets for perpetrators. Awful catastrophes at the Boston Marathon, the Bataclan music hall in Paris or the Las Vegas concert shooting are just a few examples. Those have made it obvious that preparedness for such scenarios needs to be at the top of the event preparation list. Though public mass shootings account for a tiny fraction of the gun deaths, you can never be sure that it will not happen with you as most of the victims are chosen not for what they have done but simply for where they happen to be. Thus, it’s critical to have some measures in place.
Antisocial behavior is another bitter reality at many events. The crowd comes not only to see the performance but also to party and hang out. Time and again their emotions can get heated and end up in conflicts and even fights. If actions are not taken in due time, such situations can escalate into serious accidents. Therefore, event organizers should take enhanced security measures to mitigate these risks, and if an emergency occurs during an event, security should be prepared to respond at a moment’s notice.
Aside from screening attendees and staff, checking their bags to prevent bringing weapons and items that are not allowed to the venue, security personnel should monitor the site 24/7 to have a clear situational awareness and look out for intrusions and suspicious behavior both inside and in the vicinity of the venue.
AI-powered gun and anomaly detection technologies effectively help identify a threat if a critical situation should arise. Integrated with the existing video surveillance, the system automatically detects weapons and potentially dangerous behavior, analyses the situation in real-time and automatically triggers an alert. As a result, security officers can assess potential danger and be one step ahead of the progress of events at all times. If the perpetrators are still at large in the venue, with an AI-powered Object Tracking solution security managers can track their movements across all connected cameras and, ultimately, apprehend them. Thus, intelligent video surveillance accelerates real-time response to developing situations or any suspicious behavior that requires closer monitoring or intervention.
Looking for missing persons
Intelligent object recognition can also be leveraged for locating missing persons, for example, children who often get lost in the crowd. Present-day AI-powered technologies like Scylla take only a few seconds to find and detect the missing person from thousands on the video feed and even trace their movement inside the event venue across the connected cameras. It’s just required to upload a few photos of the person of interest, and the search based on the person’s appearance will be initiated.
In case of a fire at the event venue, it’s important to take immediate measures before the fire gets uncontrollable. Thus, early and accurate fire detection is critical. With AI-powered solutions it is possible as the system detects smoke and fire, and alerts officials so that they can confirm a threat and rapidly dispatch appropriate response, t.e. notify local fire departments and take everyone out of the venue safely.
Intelligent fire detection has a number of advantages over legacy fire detection systems. For example, unlike conventional smoke detectors, computer vision-based solutions can detect smoke at first sight.
Another concern is that conventional fire sensors are typically not fitted outside the building, so in case of an outdoor fire, like the one that recently broke out on the roof of the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, no alarm will be triggered to notify the security. AI-powered solutions work well both inside and outside and initiate fire protocols as soon as video-surveillance cameras catch sight of smoke or fire.
Getting advanced insights
Finally, using AI at events is not just about event safety and security. Event producers use artificial intelligence to increase event attendance, raise revenues, and improve attendees’ engagement.
Due to AI analytics event organizers get insight into the number of event visitors and what days and hours the occupancy is at the most. It helps to create smart heatmaps and understand what draws most attention of the attendees, where visitors dwell and the durations they stay at certain exhibits or areas. The received information can also improve attendees’ engagement and make personalization easier and more effective.
Thus, event planners can use the deep learning capabilities of AI solutions to learn more about event attendees and their experience of previous events to help improve the outcomes of future events.
Providing the best possible conditions for a safe and pleasant event is the main challenge event professionals strive to meet. That requires meticulous preparation and comprehensive planning to consider all potential threats and utilizing modern security technology to be ready to handle them. These days event organizers see the necessity to leverage AI to enhance event safety and security. By making video monitoring and analysis of the situation real-time AI-powered solutions help heighten the awareness of possible incidents and increase security’s readiness to deal with them. Additionally, AI analysis provides event hosts with smart heatmaps and insights used for better engagement of the event-goers.
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