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Unlock the secrets of human movement to inform strategy and improve security

Unlock the secrets of human movement to inform strategy and improve security

Posted on February 3rd, 2020 in Blog, Event Safety, Event Security

Kenneth W. Gronbach (a demographer and generational marketing specialist) said: “it is never a good idea to project the present infinitely into the future” in relation to understanding demographics and its effects to the business.   Events, large or small, are a micro aspect of demography at work.

Counting people, while beneficial, provides limited contextual information.  It is excellent to know that 5000 or even 1 million tickets were sold, with a breakdown of the demographics of the person making the purchase.  But if 20% purchase tickets for the remaining 80% (i.e. one person buys five tickets) what is the demographic breakdown of those 80% attendees?

The retail and commercial sector has led the way in people counting within their environments.  Utilising device counting (via Bluetooth of free Wi-Fi usage) and they have been able to understand the flow of people throughout their venue. This information has also been critical to understanding the requirements of staffing levels relating to the number of visitors at that moment in time.

While the use of Bluetooth beacons and Wi-Fi nodes to count people are beneficial, it is the data they do not collect that is the most important to event operators.  The missing data of demographics.

Utilising emerging technology such as Computer Vision and Machine Learning, event operators are now able to access a new level of rich data that has been inaccessible in the past.

Having a breakdown of the number of males vs females, or adults vs children or even able-bodied vs physically impaired may be useful, however, the real value in this data is having it when developing your strategy for future events.

An example, as an event director, you hire a children’s act to perform at your Christmas event.  Is this the correct choice?  What is the best time to have them play?  With the demographic data of breakdown of age and gender, you may discover that only 10% of attendees are children, therefore potentially 90% will never see that performance, or that the data shows the highest number of children present is at 2:00 pm.

Security and the safety of eventgoers are also a high priority for all event operators.  Being able to count the number of people in an area will provide security personnel with a proactive approach to mitigation as threshold alarms may be triggered automatically.

Event organisers need more significant levels of finely tuned data to allow to continuously improve on existing knowledge and gain insights into those entering and moving through your event space.

Circling back to Kenneth’s quote, merely projecting forwards indefinitely, without demographically understanding what is occurring will lead to the eventual demise of a once leading-edge and innovative event.

 Luis Catarino is an event insight specialist with Tomorro, an innovative company that assists event operators better understand demographic breakdown, flow and amenity usage at events by providing DataCollection-as-a-Service.

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