June 29, 2020

2114 words 10 mins read

Returning to Venues: Technologys Role

Returning to Venues: Technologys Role

The COVID-19 pandemic has had huge impacts on life around the world, and perhaps the largest of these is the loss of confidence among venue operators, venue visitors, workers and other participants in the global economy.{loadads} While businesses of all kinds had to close with devastating effects and most Australians staying home for months in order to stop the spread, what’s clear is that COVID-1

9 is not likely to disappear any time soon. With the businesses and services that we have missed for so long now finally reopened, we feel like we are on a slow and steady path to normalcy. Restrictions have been easing more and businesses including venue owners of all kinds are anxious to keep their newly reopened businesses up and running again. Today, technology can help restore confidence in returning to large venues. In fact, the pandemic is creating a global sense of urgency to evolve new systems that can monitor and protect people in public venues so that they can return. There’s nothing like an emergency to provide a catalyst for change. This is especially true as we see additional restrictions lifted in New South Wales, with the 4 square metre rule now being relaxed to 2 square metres in outdoor areas for hospitality venues with a COVID-19 Safety Plan. With twice as many people allowed in outdoor settings, venues must be leveraging the right technology to monitor and protect patrons. {loadads} Basic Safety and Technology Requirements Doctors and scientists have created several protocols to protect the public against COVID-19 infection, including masking, social distancing, temperature checks, capacity/congestion thresholds, and post-exposure contact tracing. Venue operators must find ways to implement these protocols and monitor compliance, and technology is the answer. “Technology” is a pretty generic term, so let’s be more specific. Solutions to COVID-19 monitoring and compliance require an ecosystem of technology manufacturers, working together to develop solutions for venues of all types. There are four key technologies that provide solutions: Network Connectivity – Wireless and wireline connectivity are essential for providing conduits through which protocol implementation and monitoring information can flow. Networks must be flexible enough to reach any portion of a venue, robust enough to deliver high performance with low latency, and reliable enough to virtually eliminate downtime. Location and Analytics Systems – Using complementary wireless technologies such as BLE Beacons and ZigBee embedded in WLAN access points, coupled with local machine learning and cloud-based Artificial Intelligence, Wi-Fi- and IoT-enabled venues can nowturn their wireless infrastructure into an indoor location engine to better help their visitor base stay safe. Wireless networks in particular enable location tracking by receiving beacons from mobile phones or tracking devices such as tokens or wristbands, and they transfer this information to analytics systems that can make sense of what is being received. Many commercial Wi-Fi systems include analytics systems. Sensors – From infrared temperature sensors to contactless payment systems and cameras, monitoring large populations requires a range of devices that see, hear and feel crowd and individual activities. In addition to leveraging the use of Wi-Fi to determine location information, venues are also looking at integrating the use of smart devices and IoT to complement their deployment. These devices include forward-looking infrared (FLIR) cameras to determine elevated temperatures and other items such as smart sensors and BLE beacons for applications to look at air quality, tracking of critical assets, panic buttons, and geo-fencing. Software Applications – Application-specific software takes raw data from the network analytics system and evaluates it against pre-established criteria such as venue density or temperature thresholds and notifies the venue operator of problem areas. A Use Case

In a large public venue such as an arena or airport, for example, the operators must monitor tens of thousands of visitors. In this case the technology ecosystem works to provide temperature checks through infrared cameras at points of entry. Wi-Fi-based location systems then monitor visitor movements, traffic density, and assist in contact tracing, alerting venue operators when density thresholds are reached. The network can also connect contactless ticketing or payment systems to reduce person-to-person exposure. For instance at Sydney’s landmark International Convention Centre (ICC), the implementation of the EventSafe Operating Framework includes incorporating technological devices such as temperature measurement, people counting technology and contact tracing, virtual site inspections, contactless payments and contactless ticket validation.

Location Technology Challenges and Solutions Location information is key for many health and safety applications, but indoor GPS has always been challenging given that the frequencies in which GPS satellites operate have difficulty penetrating structures. For visitors who are walking through a building or arena, this can be a real problem. And from a safety perspective, the lack of indoor GPS can be problematic for E-911 services as many of these locations are also served by a Distributed Antenna System (DAS) vs. macro cell towers which can help triangulate their position in an emergency. This is where Wi-Fi positioning technology can help. Using signal triangulations and RF fingerprinting techniques, positioning technology can record X,Y and Z coordinates and pass it to the location engine for mapping. This information can be provided northbound through a robust set of application programming interfaces (APIs) and used by many ecosystem partners who specialize in these indoor and venue positioning applications. Many companies have not only done location and IoT integration leveraging the built-in APIs and gateway functions of the Wi-Fi access points, but have customized their dashboards specific to managing COVID-19 risk events and triggers, such as social distancing, capacity thresholds, contract tracing, and the like. Wi-Fi complements DAS deployments for Public Safety An added benefit of deploying Wi-Fi in venues (beyond the obvious mobile broadband availability) is that where a venue has Wi-Fi deployed, there is no additional Wi-Fi hardware needed when deploying a distributed antenna solution (DAS) to comply with E‐911 requirements. The venue can provide the Wi-Fi deployment reference to the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) When a user dials 000 on a wireless device, the device scans for nearby Wi‐Fi access points and Bluetooth beacons to helpdetermine its indoor location. If those access points are stored in a national emergency database with dispatchable addresses that includes street address and any additional information like the floor, VIP suite, or concourse level location, that information can be sent directly to first responders from the 000 call center. This all happens automatically as part of dialing an emergency number on a mobile device, and there is no need to overlay an existing Wi-Fi or Bluetooth beacon network dedicated for this service. Bringing it all Together Using these technologies means the infrastructure can be programmed to look at trends and predict problems wherealarms and alerts can proactively monitor the venues and each visitor’s risk for transmission. In essence, data can be collected, analyzed, and the system can make a real-time risk assessments. Going a step further, actual logical or physical changes could be recommended to the network or venue environment which can be implemented to help keep the public safe. Wi-Fi location analytics can, for example, not only help to determine whether there is traffic congestion, but to determine the dwell times which can measure exposure. This sort of data can be used to determine if certain areas of the venues are posing a higher risk for COVID-19 transmission, or if a new configuration for traffic flow can better space out visitors or employees in a given area. When Connectivity Matters These are only a few examples of the modified public health and safety use-cases which are emerging where wireless broadband and location information is playing a role for a safer return to sports, travel, hospitality, transportation and business venues. When device, proximity, and location data can be properly correlated, and communication can be transmitted, received, and shared in real-time on a converged intelligent network infrastructure, countless health and safety opportunities and outcomes can be created. Network connectivity has become an expected amenity for billions of internet users, and it can provide connections and services to assist with returning fans, visitors, patients, travelers, and workers to normal operating procedures with confidence. For the past decade, network system providers and their ecosystem partners have focused on supporting user experiences and commercial operations. Now we must take the capabilities we’ve developed along the way, and put them to work in the service of health and safety. {loadmtreelistings 24488}

Author: webmaster@whatech.com.au (Joshua Eum, Head of Service Provider Sales ANZ, CommScope)

Date: 2020-11-02

URL: https://www.whatech.com/wireless/blog/671743-returning-to-venues-technology-s-role


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