Crowd control

Less queues, traffic jams or unsafe situations thanks to the Internet of Things

Imagine a popular festival. Swarming crowds that run right through each other towards different stages, snack bars and toilets. Or consider airports, where thousands of people run from hall to gate every day to catch a flight. Thanks to the Internet of Things, these crowds can be analysed and important questions quickly answered.

Which performance attracts the most visitors? Where is extra security needed? Remoticom, a company from Tilburg, is able to shed light on this information. These are very relevant questions and answers for festival organisations, for example. The Internet of Things can provide insight into this. “During Paaspop and in collaboration with Vodafone, we showed how we use our technologies to shed light on crowds", says Joost van der Velden, CEO of Remoticom.

Conveniently arranged dashboard
How does that work? The smartphones of visitors are traced using Bluetooth and Wi-Fi signals. This only concerns the signal transmitted by telephones. Who those telephones belong to precisely is not known. In this way, privacy is safeguarded. Thanks to the telephone signals, Remoticom can show the exact locations of all the visitors on the site. This is valuable information for the festival organisation and security officers, but also for the catering operators present. Which act draws the most visitors can be seen precisely. This is displayed in a conveniently arranged dashboard. That helps security with crowd control.

Added value for the disabled traveller
Airports also have to deal with a daily stream of thousands of people. Some of them are disabled and must be transported through the airport in wheelchairs. It is important for Facilicom, one of the facility service providers at Schiphol, that 450,000 passengers have access to a wheelchair as quickly as possible each year. In the year 2018, this is often a case of ‘searching and accidentally finding’, states Ron Knaap, Director Monitoring & Response of Facilicom. “Not very efficient and quite annoying if you have a flight to catch.”

This was reason enough for Facilicom to participate in the Vodafone The Next Web IoT Challenge. Here big companies organise challenges, in which start-ups are challenged to come up with solutions by means of IoT. Vodafone and TNW bring these parties together. “It’s about the person, not the technology”, says Knaap. “We’re aiming at a seamless passenger flow. Disabled passengers are immediately linked to available staff and the nearest available wheelchair via tracking.”

No long queues
The most famous amusement park in the Netherlands, De Efteling, also organised a challenge. They want to monitor the visitor volume in each attraction at all times. That gives them insight into their capacity. Ultimately, this should enhance the guest experience. “Nothing is more annoying that standing in a very long queue together with your family”, according to Jonas Rietbergen, innovation strategist of De Efteling. Through monitoring and tracking, the Vodafone TNW IoT Challenge found a solution for them as well.

A safe city
For Tilburg company Remoticom, security goes further than just collecting data for events. “If we can measure the movement flows in a city, we can also take measures to prevent incidents from occurring. This contributes to a safe and comfortable feeling”, according to Van der Velden. “We are already offering technological solutions for the smart city. Using sensor technology, we can measure temperature, humidity, movement, energy, vibration and sound. In this respect, we are mainly focusing on systems that – with the help of IoT – make cities more sustainable, safer and more pleasant. Most people cannot immediately picture this.”

One example is the long traffic jams during morning rush hour, particularly in the city centre. By measuring where and at which time congestions occur, diversion routes can be used for a better flow. “In this way, traffic jams can be prevented and inhabitants offered a better experience.” This is what Remoticom and IoT can do for a city.

Long queues, overfull concert halls and annoying traffic jams. Together with Vodafone, the Internet of Things can provide solutions to these situations. IoT is not really about things, but about people and what this technology can do for them.

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