Public gatherings are both challenging and exciting as much as they comprise a promise of mega-success they also present the threat of attacks or foot traffic congestion. The solution is in two words; crowd control, which is the art of monitoring, directing, and managing large groups of people with efficiency.
Artificial Intelligence systems and IoT have recently emerged with an automated form of crowd control. Enter smart crowd monitoring which uses intelligent technologies and tactics in controlling large crowds through detecting and ultimately preventing potential threats, optimizing the crowd flow, and shortening queues. Smart crowd monitoring technologies enhance safety, cut costs, and ensure a positive customer experience. They also empower event organizers to manage and optimize traffic flow through various venues.
One of the key features of AI-enabled crowd management is achieved by installing smart cameras with facial recognition software to help local authorities and identify certain suspicious individuals, identify abnormal or violent behavior and alert the authorities to any suspicious activity by comparing real-time video data against stored data of “normal movements and expressions”. On the other hand, infrared cameras track crowd densities and provide police officers and security guards with valuable insights to prevent harm and contain threatening situations.
Connected motion sensors that identify the busiest areas during sports and entertainment events can also determine when and where crowds are expected to move while informing event organizers of the location of barriers, street closure, and the nearest authority figure. Connected motion sensors solve problems such as traffic jams and crowded event venues by redistributing resources and creating a real-time map of attendees.
Other examples of AI-enabled crowd management technologies include bomb sensors and gunshot detection devices which are handy in fighting terrorism and riots. The most effective crowd management systems combine cameras, sensors, AI, data analytics, and situational awareness. Selecting the crowd management system of choice depends requires an accurate, actionable strategy with a focus on two factors: expected crowd densities and the surrounding environment where the crowded event or religious ritual takes place. More factors to take into consideration should be time spent until the technology is deployed, the cost of the smart crowd monitoring software of choice, as well as how impactful collected data is in determining dangers, averting threats, or simplifying complex processes.
An ideal crowd management system features a wide-area view of the location and detailed perspective on the points of interest; whether crowds, suspected individuals, or moving vehicles. It delivers the right information into the right hands at the right time.
The age of AI has arrived changing crowd management as everybody knows it in exciting and unpredictable ways. Event organizers and local authorities are getting accustomed to and dependent on it. AI will continue to influence their interaction with crowds and increase their understanding of how resources could be reallocated and chaos could be contained. One day it may be the main force behind holding large religious gatherings such as Hajj and visits to the Vatican or strategically plan major music concerts at stadiums. In the not too distant future, AI will be a core part of every individual’s daily routine.