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How 5G makes events safer

How 5G makes events safer

Crowd management in Nijmegen

Thanks to 5G technology, large events can be made safer for participants and audiences. VodafoneZiggo is experimenting with this technology together with the municipality of Nijmegen and other partners, as part of the 5G Hub.

5G mobile network connections with guaranteed bandwidth now allow live images from mobile cameras to be analysed directly. This has multiple applications: for example, a municipality can divert traffic flows in time before they become excessive, and prevent unmanageable congestion. The municipality of Nijmegen is going to test the technology at major events next year, in partnership with 5G Hub and GIGTECH.

For the municipality of Nijmegen, the RF technology of innovative companies at its own Novio Tech Campus is high on the economic agenda. Monique Esselbrugge, alderperson for Finance, Economy and Inner Cityfor D66, says, “We want to make promising RF technology broadly applicable in society. We’re looking for projects which can make an impact. In 2020, we and our partners started building a lab environment where 5G mobile internet can be used during events for the transmission of high-resolution camera images, as an example of RF technology."

5G real-time video images
Together with 5G Hub Eindhoven and GIGTECH, the municipality is preparing a field lab test to study how traffic during crowded concerts, such as those in Goffert Park, can be handled better. "Unmanned mobile cameras will be installed at a number of strategically chosen locations for this. These cameras will send real-time video images to a central station, where the authorities can immediately read and analyse them. That means they can divert traffic flows in time before they build up to excessive levels, and prevent congestion."

Paul Geurts, strategic advisor for information management at the municipality of Nijmegen, says that the use of camera images is just one of the many examples of crowd management during major events. "Camera images are an indispensable tool in getting chaotic situations, such as traffic, under control. The new network slicing 5G technology which will be used in this planned pilot is very interesting. It should guarantee that mobile bandwidth is available to the authorities and emergency responders in even the most critical situations, so that they always have access to the latest data and can communicate efficiently with each other.”

Reliable data
At the 5G Hub test environment in Eindhoven, VodafoneZiggo, Ericsson, High Tech Campus and Brainport Development support external parties in socially relevant innovations where 5G mobile network technology plays a key role. Richard Prins, who works on behalf of VodafoneZiggo for the 5G Hub: "Our challenge at any busy event is to send images from the mobile camera application to a central station, where they can be read and monitored, with no delay."

Network slicing
How does 5G network slicing technology work? “We have set aside mobile bandwidth in our mobile network for an industrial modem, so that we can send these mobile camera images with no delay at any time, no matter how busy the network is. We conducted our previous test with unmanned mobile cameras and network slicing during the European Hockey Championships in Amstelveen, where it proved successful. In the new test in Nijmegen, we will use improved, industrial modems, that hopefully perform better at high temperatures."

Concerts in Goffert Park

GIGTECH is a specialist in stable infrastructure for efficient connections at major events such as Lowlands and Pinkpop, as well as the Goffertpark concerts in Nijmegen. Director Andrew Rijnbeek: “We’re involved in this new 5G field lab test as executor of the mobile camera application, and the technology in the central station. The camera images are read at this station on systems we have installed. Employees can zoom in on the external camera images, quickly switch between images, and move the cameras in any direction.”

Mobile connectivity
Rijnbeek sees important advantages in sending camera images via a 5G network slice: "In this pilot, Vodafone is taking care of the mobile connectivity for us. GIGTECH is an infrastructure builder, and it’s very reassuring for us if we can rely on a public mobile network as a result of this slicing, with the bandwidth we need in extreme situations guaranteed. We then no longer have to install an expensive physical network ourselves. It takes just a few hours to build a radio link for a mobile camera. This mobile network infrastructure is also much easier to move, if we want to."

Rijnbeek says that it’s essential to test this virtual network slice. “It might all look fantastic in theory, but, with rough camera images, you notice any delay in the connection immediately. A delay results in the image breaking up, and you can’t operate the camera smoothly. And when is such a connection most important? At exactly the time an emergency arises, when large numbers of people go online to contact each other. It is precisely then that the organisation and emergency services must be able to act quickly. This is the very moment that the otherwise reliable 4G internet connection can fail. 5G via network slicing can make all the difference in such a situation."

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