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Real-world Crowd Intelligence Value at your Campus or Venue

When I talk to partners and clients around the globe, I hear two common threads, whether it’s a premier sporting event venue or a small college campus. One is focused on real-time response,  and the other on improving long-term space management.

The security and facilities teams I talk to want real-time, actionable insights.

They want to know in real-time when a room or section is overcrowded, or whether a restricted-access zone is filling up.  At the same time, those same teams want to optimize spaces for the long run.  

They want to move away from spreadsheets and instead make data-driven decisions with easy-to-understand dashboard metrics. 

In short, they want to future-proof their operations, and they don’t want to hire data scientists to do it. And that’s where crowd intelligence software comes in.

“With crowd intelligence software, there’s no reason for data to overwhelm operations teams. Your existing data can go to work for you, and can surface insights to guide the way to smarter space management.”

Understanding Crowd Intelligence

A search of the term “crowd intelligence” generates a few definitions, but the one I want to focus on has to do with understanding how “crowds” or groups of people move in and around a physical space or venue. This “intelligence” can be used to predict behavior, anticipate crowd flow, and optimize the experience — for both the people interacting in the space and the people responsible for managing it.

Crowd intelligence helps facilities management, venue operators, and security staff know where people are, whether they are clustered in crowds, and where they are likely headed. At Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, the Cleveland Cavaliers rely on Armored Things for full-venue transparency, so they can see where crowds are headed and gathered, and if foot traffic is flowing as planned.

“The ability to understand the flow of people in the venue equips us to stay one step ahead of their needs, deploy resources more intelligently, and optimize the
event environment.”

– Mike Conley, CIO, Cavaliers, Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse

Venue-wide Use Cases

  • Staffing: Security staff can reposition personnel to redirect crowds ahead of congestion, deploy service staff based on crowd density, manage ticketing or event entrances, monitor security risks, and respond quickly to incidents. And it doesn’t always have to be safety related. Our work at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville helped them make staffing decisions around peak usage hours at their library and help desk.
  • Space Management: By understanding the flow of people in a given space, facilities management can optimize room and event occupancy, identify workspaces for more efficient hybrid use, flex different spaces for changing traffic flows, manage de-densification efforts, and enhance energy efficiency.
  • Concessions/Sponsorship ROI: With crowd intelligence, business teams can test and measure the best placements for concessions and portable carts, redirect traffic to reduce wait times, and test service styles for optimal event experiences. This type of data can also be used to prove sponsorship ROI and adjust sponsorship pricing models based on actual traffic flow.

Crowd Intelligence Works By:

  • Using existing Wi-Fi and security infrastructure to collect real-time crowd data. 
  • Applying data analytics and machine learning to understand density attributes and patterns, anticipate movement, and predict future density.
  • Surfacing contextual data via dashboards and graphic visualizations on command center desktops and mobile devices.

Importantly, crowd intelligence should also be:  

  • Anonymous. It analyzes patterns, not people. 
  • Secure. All data should be protected with VPN, TLS and restricted access.
  • Resilient. Geo-redundant infrastructure and auto-scaling ensure uptime.
  • Flexible. Crowd intelligence uses edge services running locally, in the cloud, or both.

With crowd intelligence software, there’s no reason for data to overwhelm operations teams. Your existing data can go to work for you, and can surface insights to guide the way to smarter space management.

David Smentek is the Director of Partners and Federal at Armored Things. You can reach him at David.Smentek@ArmoredThings.com.

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