Johan Cruijff ArenA ‘smart’ move


Johan Cruijff Arena video experience Image: Johan Cruijff ArenA

The 55,500-capacity Johan Cruijff ArenA, the largest stadium in the Netherlands located in its capital City Amsterdam, has tied up recently with Germany’s Munich-based firm, Security & Safety Things GmbH, to improve health and safety aspects of visitors coming to the arena through an innovative use of surveillance cameras – all with an eye on reopening the venue amid the pandemic.

The Netherlands has extended COVID-19-related lockdown measures until March 2nd, 2021. Despite falling infection rates, authorities are concerned by the rapid spread of the UK variant of COVID-19.

The platform Germany’s Munich-based firm, Security & Safety Things GmbH, offer is based on a camera operating system that powers cameras from various manufacturers in the market. It connects to their Application Store where leading video analytics development companies offer cutting-edge apps.

The Johan Cruijff ArenA is the main stadium of the Dutch capital City of Amsterdam and the home stadium of football club AFC Ajax since its opening. Built from 1993 to 1996 at a cost equivalent to €140 million, it is the largest stadium in the country. Ajax Amsterdam is a Dutch professional football club based in Amsterdam, which plays in the Eredivisie, the top tier of Dutch football. The club is the primary tenant of the Johan Cruijff ArenA. It also houses the globally renowned Amsterdam Innovation ArenA (AIA).

Henk Markerink, CEO, Johan Cruijff ArenA, Netherlands, is a Member of Coliseum Strategic Committee.

Innovation ArenA (AIA) is a community and open call for innovators who collaborate to create the most innovative stadium in the world, powered by the Johan Cruijff ArenA. sources stated that this open innovation field lab was founded by the ArenA and the City of Amsterdam to enable the development and testing of technologies that would generate innovative stadium and smart city products and services for fans and visitors.

The collaboration will provide a potential hi-tech model for other organizations that want to deploy technology solutions for a safe reopening.

“Each technology selected for our innovation environment is strategic because of its potential benefits not only to our ArenA, but also to the City of Amsterdam and other stadiums and large event venues looking for technological solutions to safely reopen their facility and smarter operation,” remarked Sander van Stiphout, Director International, Johan Cruijff ArenA.

“The unique flexibility of the Security & Safety Things (S&ST’s) approach allows us to deploy COVID-19 health and safety analytics and business optimization tools simultaneously and easily retrofit the cameras with other analytical applications as our needs change,” he explained.

Sander van Stiphout, Director International, Johan Cruijff ArenA, Netherlands, is a Member of Coliseum – Global Sports Venue Alliance. further reported that the partnership would elevate the overall fan experience, augment ArenA activities and increase the safety and privacy of visitors through a system in which S&ST’s IoT (Internet of Things) platform for smart surveillance cameras would be integrated into the ArenA’s operational software.

The Internet of Things (IoT) describes the network of physical objects – ‘things’ – that are embedded with sensors, software and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the Internet.

Modus operandi

  • A series of smart cameras on the S&ST IoT platform will be deployed in strategic locations in the stadium;
  • Specialized artificial intelligence (AI)-based video analytics applications from the S&ST Application Store will stream directly into any camera and each device will provide the ArenA with valuable operational insights;
  • The crowd detection analytics will monitor compliance with stipulated social distancing norms and the flow of visitors around entrances and food or merchandise outlets;
  • Licence plate recognition cameras will help in real-time monitoring of parking location occupancy and optimizing traffic flows;
  • Queue detection applications can be used to shorten waiting times for visitors by directing fans to less crowded areas and by providing insight into staffing at peak times;
  • These cameras are equipped with powerful processors that analyze the images directly on the camera, eliminating the need to forward a constant video stream to a central location where it can be monitored or further processed;
  • The smart cameras can be configured to only relay information about relevant events, such as when a long queue forms, groups of people are too close together, or if people are not wearing the mandatory face cover. Only then will the relevant images be passed on;
  • In one specific area, a camera also allows attendees to provide anonymous and contactless feedback about their stadium experience by detecting the visual of a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” from a visitor, thus collecting pointers without interrupting the flow of visitors; and
  • The camera system and the way it is used comply with all European and Dutch privacy rules.

“The flexibility of our smart camera platform and the ArenA’s innovation mission are very well matched to produce the intelligence needed to tackle real world privacy, health and safety issues, as well as new and creative ideas for stadium and event management,” said Hartmut Schaper, Chief Executive Officer, Security & Safety Things.

“We are honored to join the ArenA as an innovation partner and help them provide a seamless and safe visitor experience,” Schaper added.

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