Green Guardians: Event Infrastructure
The Green Guardians Guide, spearheaded by the Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI) and IQ Magazine, is a new yearly initiative boosting the profiles of those working at the forefront of sustainability, in the hope that it might also inspire others.
The 2021 list, which originally ran in IQ 103, includes 40 entries across eight categories, highlighting some of the organisations and individuals who are working so tirelessly to reduce the carbon footprint of the live entertainment business.
This year’s winners have been chosen by a judging panel that includes experts from A Greener Festival, Greener Events, Julie’s Bicycle, the Sustainability in Production Alliance, the Sustainable Event Council and the Tour Production Group.
IQ will publish entries across all categories over the coming weeks. Catch up on the previous instalment of the Green Guardians Guide which looks at artists and activists.
Continest container units are a market-leading, award-winning and eco-friendly portable accommodation solution, utilising innovative foldable container technology. The flat-packed containers are specially constructed to enable quick and easy transportation, installation and relocation, and their groundbreaking design has won plaudits around the world.
A great solution for events, venues and brands looking to increase their facility and temporary accommodation capacity in an environmentally conscious way, Continest provides solutions to help meet sustainability targets. Due to their patented design, multiple units can be transported on a single truck, enabling huge savings on road.
In 2020, d&b launched its Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) programme offering customers reconditioned loudspeaker systems
Aware of the impact that the live entertainment industry has on the environment, d&b makes a conscious effort to ensure that sustainability is a permanent part of its mission with the company developing effective programmes to support this undertaking.
d&b is EMAS certified, meaning it observes a set of guiding principles, including upholding human rights and well-being, resource protection, energy and emission reduction, product responsibility, sustainable innovation, and much more.
In 2020, d&b launched its Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) programme offering customers reconditioned loudspeaker systems. Purchasers benefit from a rider-friendly sound reinforcement system while helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the consumption of raw materials.
This programme makes d&b one of the first sound companies to adopt an organised approach to sustainability and reliability in the pro audio industry. The first-ever CPO J-Series system was recently installed at Westville Music Bowl in Connecticut, USA.
d&b is committed to ensuring its new products are environmentally responsible as well. The recently launched D40 amplifier combines advanced voltage management to drive systems that demand less input power. The D40 includes enhanced energy-saving features, power efficiency and automatic wake-up for environmentally responsible and sustainable green building requirements.
Alongside recycling and responsible disposal of end-of-life equipment, PRG regularly rebalances equipment to reduce freight
Sustainable practices have been at the heart of PRG’s ongoing development throughout the pandemic. The company now boasts a huge global network, having set up a group of 22 digital studios around the world in one year, including xR Virtual Production Studios in Los Angeles, Hamburg and Paris.
This ensures that the company’s EMEA customer base has access to PRG’s state-of-the-art facilities and expertise wherever they are in the world.
This global reach is aided by The PRG Alliance, a series of 15 partner companies worldwide that support clients locally with an exceptional quality of innovative event production solutions.
The company’s commitment to providing consistent service locally is mobilised largely thanks to the PRG Crew Platform, which allows warehouses and events to be staffed with local talent, reducing the global carbon footprint involved in transporting employees.
PRG is also committed to sustainable practices in its technology and is a member of various industry accredited programmes, including Albert.
Alongside its recycling and responsible disposal of end-of-life equipment, PRG regularly rebalances equipment to reduce freight.
Its products adhere to this sustainable mission. The PRG SpaceframeTM, for example, is an ultra-lightweight, collapsible and fully wind-braced, carbon-fibre touring frame with integrated LED panels. This product dramatically reduces pre-tour engineering time, shipping footprint/weight, carbon emissions, load-in and load-out times, as well as labour required on tour and locally.
NNNN has succeeded in designing speaker solutions that reduce energy consumption by up to 90% compared to other brands
NNNN was created to target the audio market with a disruptive solution and mindset, combining acoustic quality with sustainability.
The company’s patents enable it to do with sound what LED did with light, and it has succeeded in designing speaker solutions that reduce energy consumption by up to 90% compared to other brands.
As yet another UN climate report has made abundantly clear, developing more sustainable solutions is a no-brainer. Yet, NNNN says it still experiences challenges with businesses that choose traditional solutions over greener alternatives. Therefore, it has been key for the company to both initiate and join conversations, both nationally and internationally, with regard to sustainable development in the live entertainment industry.
In spite of Covid, a lot has been happening at NNNN in the past year:
▶ The company has been developing new products, making better and more sustainable audio solutions available for green buildings, houses of culture, and consumers.
▶ In November 2020, NNNN won the Green Founder award – an initiative established by Drammen Rotary to accelerate green and sustainable development in the region.
▶ NNNN has been Eco-Lighthouse certified, which is the most widely used environmental certification scheme in Norway, verified to hold the quality and standard matching international eco-labeling schemes (EMAS and ISO 14001).
▶ The company also became an associate member of A Greener Festival.
Tait is continuing to build dedicated resources to empower clients and design teams to call on its vast library
During 2020 and into 2021, Tait focused on updating its library of assets, making all assets available for use globally and throughout the business.
This builds on practices that the company has developed over many years and optimises sustainable use and reuse of equipment.
Crucially, this also reduces reliance on virgin materials. In addition, Tait is continuing to build dedicated resources to empower clients and design teams to call on this vast library of existing components.
This year, Tait’s UK offices are beginning the transition to renewable energy, and its waste and recycling streams are being monitored to ensure it maximises recycling potential.
The company’s UK facilities in Neasden and Haverhill are now both ISO14001 accredited, and it has installed infrastructure to collate carbon emissions for Scope 1 & Scope 2 and key elements from Scope 3 globally. This will form the basis for Tait’s carbon reduction strategy.
The group has partnered with organisations such as the Sustainability in Production Alliance (SiPA), Theatre Green Book, and Live Green to help drive industry-wide change, educate teams, and further sustainability efforts.
In order to give back to the communities and institutions that helped build the success of the organisation, Tait’s principal sustainability advocate, Carol Scott, guest lectures at colleges and universities on incorporating sustainable practices into the ecosystem of live events.
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Covid kit: The tech helping fans stay safe at shows
As buildings, venues and public spaces start to tentatively reopen following months of lockdown, savvy businesses and operators are turning to technology to help them boost confidence, both among consumers and staff.
From simply supplying hand-sanitisation facilities at store entrances to sophisticated mobile phone apps, thermal testing and scanning devices, numerous products and systems are being developed to bolster personal protection measures, giving people confidence that they can safely return to the workplace and, ultimately, get back to enjoying live entertainment.
Here, IQ takes a look at just some of the products and services on offer to the live events industry, as venue owners and promoters contemplate how to entice people back to their shows, concerts and festivals…
Biosecurity-Systems offers a comprehensive range of products, facilities and staff to augment safety procedures that are implemented in buildings and venues. Rather than being in the business of selling kit, the company’s goal is to minimise infection risk and help businesses to protect customers, staff and anyone else who visits their premises.
CEO Paul Twomey observes that while many people view the Covid pandemic as a ‘once in 100 years’ phenomena, those living in Asia and the Pacific rim have a different viewpoint. “It’s a key thing for people to think about: in east Asia there has been Sars, HN1, swine flu, bird flu and now Covid. So there are major viruses every five to six years,” he says.
“In terms of pandemics, this is a bit like a 9/11 moment. There was terrorism before 9/11, but everyone thinks of terrorism differently post 9/11. Covid-19 will probably do the same for pandemics.”
Consequently, Biosecurity-Systems urges clients not to make the mistake of simply bringing in equipment purely to deal with the current coronavirus, but to rather see their actions as a long-term investment to deal with this pandemic, as well as all future pandemics.
Currently working with the likes of airports, airlines and logistics centres, Biosecurity-Systems offers a turnkey solution, as well as bespoke solutions that include disinfection technologies, triage technologies, testing technologies and artificial intelligence, if needed.
The company morphed out of an existing robotics operation in reaction to the coronavirus pandemic and has strategy solutions in place that cover everything from simple health questionnaires and disinfectant misting tunnels to blood oxygen testing and robots that can continuously – and conspicuously – clean the likes of floors in airport terminals (as they do in Hong Kong). The company’s robots can also automatically clean toilets, hence protecting cleaning staff in an environment that is known to be highly virulent for coronavirus infection.
Twomey adds: “Things like temperature testing are not particularly effective for Covid-19, but consumers are demanding it, as it makes them feel secure. However, those same systems are very important in detecting other diseases – ebola, for instance. Meanwhile, blood oxygen testing does have more relevancy for Covid-19. So having such equipment should be seen as a long-term investment that can basically show people that it’s safer to come back to your facilities then those of somebody else.”
“In terms of pandemics, this is a bit like a 9/11 moment”
Ticketing operation Seats.io is using the challenges presented by the coronavirus restrictions to leverage its technology and create opportunities that should help restore consumer confidence when it comes to attending shows and concerts. Seats.io is determined to give venues and event organisers additional tools to help restart the live entertainment sector and begin selling tickets again, as soon as possible.
The company notes a key factor in these transactions will be trust: many surveys indicate that people want to go back to live events, but only if they feel they can trust that they and their loved ones will be safe in doing so.
In an effort to rebuild that trust, Seats.io believes demonstrating at the moment of ticket purchase that people will be safe is the best approach. To achieve that, Seats.io can make sure customers are aware, when they select their seat, that social distancing rules will be applied and respected.
As a result, Seats.io has configured its ticketing system with an option that shows ticket buyers how the seats around theirs will be blocked out, as they select their tickets. For some theatres, the distance required will be one seat, for others two; sometimes aisle seats will always be blocked, sometimes, not. In addition, it is essential that such a system can be integrated into any existing ticketing system, negating the need for a complete overhaul.
Seats.io says its system answers all these needs. Easily integrated, with world-class UX and UI, Seats.io can allow any ticketing platform to offer ticket buyers exactly what they need: the reassurance that they are safe, and that they can trust the event organisers to respect social distancing.
Seats.io believes demonstrating at the moment of ticket purchase that people will be safe is the best approach
Staging company Megaforce has developed a range of products and facilities to help businesses protect staff and customers from the spread of coronavirus, and has already installed its equipment at everything from kindergartens to hardware stores.
Products include biometric fever screening, carried out using a thermal imaging camera, which can rapidly record body temperature with exceptional accuracy, and can thus make a significant contribution to the containment of pandemics.
The system uses state-of-the-art sensor technology to scan up to five people’s faces simultaneously in order to determine body temperatures. If an increased temperature is detected, the system triggers an alarm or can deny access – for example, as part of an automatic access control system. The temperature check also has an automatic mask detection option, so that if the camera detects a person without a mask, the system will politely remind them that they must wear one.
The system is already being used at border controls, airports, trade fairs and events, and is also suitable for protecting healthcare facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes; and at entrances to factories, offices, shopping malls, hotels, schools and public authority buildings.
Contactless hand-washing and hygiene stations are available as single, double or triple units with diverse areas of application such as shopping malls, DIY stores, bus stations, car parks, stadia/event locations, public places, wholesale markets etc. In short, anywhere with high footfall where there are too few or no sanitary or hygiene facilities.
Added value is provided by advertising/branding spaces on all sides of the stations with the option of integrating frames or dispensers for brochures etc, making them perfect for promotional campaigns. The stations can be branded accordingly depending on the theme.
Hygiene gates are gantries/locks based on a chlorinated water solution, much like swimming pools, and can be used for semi-disinfection of equipment and people.
The main area of application is access to work, backstage or production areas. Although it is not possible to ensure 100% disinfection, hygiene gates significantly increase hygiene standards and safety.
The gates are constructed using high-quality stainless steel; they are contactless and can be combined with Megaforce’s fever screening system.
Megaforce has developed a range of products and facilities to help businesses protect staff and customers
Realife Tech has developed a Covid Safety Hub – a customer-facing technology designed to help events safely relaunch once restrictions on large gatherings are lifted.
The Covid Safety Hub has a range of mobile-based features that will guide fans through new venue policies and procedures, with messaging delivered before, during, and after events. This includes digital ticketing, checklists, location- based directives, an AI Covid assistant (powered by Satisfi Labs), real-time safety tips, and post-event messaging.
At events, the location-based safety alerts share real-time information to help reduce congestion in high-traffic areas such as entrances and exits, and provide facility updates. The assistant also comes with touch-free mobile ticket scanning, as well as contactless ordering and collection of food, beverages, and merchandise. This is a powerful tool as it runs on Realife Tech’s platform, aggregating data from multiple systems at festivals and events. These include apps, ticketing, Wi-Fi, point-of-sale, digital advertising screens and access control points. In addition to the Covid safety features, organisers can capture a single view of the customer across their journey.
The Covid Safety Hub is being deployed across multiple events and will help welcome fans back this summer, as it aims to minimise event attendees´ fear and anxiety about the ‘new normal’ through dedicated messaging, features, and protocols put in place to mitigate risk.
Founded in 2014, with headquarters in London and Los Angeles, Realife Tech is an experience automation platform that unifies data from every event venue system, then analyses the data to provide truly personalised digital experiences. The company works with more than 65 of the world’s biggest venues and events, including The O2, London; Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London; Mercedes-Benz Arena, Berlin, and Outside Lands Festival, California.
Realife Tech is the recipient of three Event Technology Awards for Best Festival Technology, Best Venue Installation, and Best Venue Solution.
Realife’s Covid Safety Hub has a range of mobile-based features that will guide fans through new venue policies and procedures
Grid claims to be a game-changing new app that enables people to socialise in safe, socially distant and contactless ways. It has already received exceptional feedback from events, such as Kiesgrube’s Stay Wild Moonchild! in Duisburg, Germany.
Grid works by digitalising events and providing a safe way for social gatherings to take place by making ticketing, F&B orders and Covid-19 registration fully digitised – even the cloakroom is handled via the app, all in line with current Covid-19 safety regulations.
Using Grid, long lines and guest lists; cash transactions and face-to-face ordering; lost tickets and wristbands; and smudged morning-after stamps, are no longer an issue. The app can also incorporate loyalty rewards.
Solutions already built by the Grid team pre-pandemic, are now helping to prevent further job losses, as well as allowing economies to thrive again and providing people with the opportunity to go out and socialise whilst prioritising their safety.
Grid works by digitalising events and providing a safe way for social gatherings to take place
Rebuild the Chain
An international consortium led by Dragon Gateway, in collaboration with Accubits Technologies Inc, FutureTech, Nexus and LL Consultancy, has launched a pandemic management solution called Rebuild the Chain (RTC) to try to help the live event sector get back to business.
In brief, RTC Sport and RTC Entertainment create a Covid-free zone around a venue in which no person or surface is Covid infected. The two apps are similar in that they harness the speed, efficiency and accuracy of rapid test kits (98.6% accuracy), a mobile app, appropriate PPE and the security of blockchain technology.
With a global network of contacts and suppliers, RTC offers all the latest Covid safety tech such as thermal cameras, sanitiser mist tunnels and so on to ensure the public feels as safe as possible. At events, real-time test kits mean that a consumer’s ‘safe status’ can be uploaded immediately to their smartphone to be checked by stewards at a green zone checkpoint and again as they enter the venue at ticket collection.
With the aim of enabling audiences to safely return to sports, festivals, concerts and even B2B conferences and exhibitions, Dragon Gateway further claims to be in contractual discussions to deploy RTC government across entire nations.
RTC creates a Covid-free zone around a venue in which no person or surface is Covid infected
Social distancing within the live event industry is an obvious challenge. Static barriers and markers will never work in a fluid environment. However, a cost-effective alternative is already available. The Bubble Band is a simple wearable social distance alarm. Worn as a wristband or on a lanyard, the Bubble Band is ideal for artists and backstage event crew. When two Bubble Bands come within the set proximity to each other they will vibrate or alert the wearers.
Bubble Band settings are managed through an app available on Mac or android mobile devices. Connecting via Bluetooth they are easy to set up and fully rechargeable. Distance and alert settings can be adjusted to meet current government guidelines.
Groups of Bubble Bands can be linked with varying settings: e.g. lighting and rigging set at 1m, backline and catering set at 2m. Available in a range of colours, the bands help to easily distinguish between working teams, as requested in the UK’s Working Safely During Coronavirus guide.
The Bubble Band is a simple wearable social distance alarm, worn as a wristband or on a lanyard
Production Resource Group (PRG) has designed a temperature scanner that can easily be installed in entertainment venues, convention centres and workplaces. PRG’s SmartXcan is a portable thermal scanner that provides instantaneous feedback on up to 700 people per hour.
“The SmartXcan is much more accurate and faster than other devices that are being modified to meet current needs,” says Mark Peterson of PRG Scenic Technologies. “We use a diagnostic tool that measures temperature in the sinus cavity and behind the eyes in 0.6 seconds.”
The SmartXcan leverages advanced fever-scanning technology developed by Kentix, a German company that develops smart building security. The temperature data is protected and not connected to identifying technology, to meet privacy laws. “We wanted to ensure that people feel comfortable using the SmartXcan, so it does not have facial recognition capabilities,” adds Peterson. “Who you are is not important to us, we are just trying to assist in reopening as safely as possible.”
Portable SmartXcan options include a wheeled pedestal, kiosk, countertop, or built-in turnstiles for automated entry control. The devices can be plugged in or operated using a built-in battery that provides up to 24 hours of continuous use. Each scanner offers hands-free scanning that quickly notifies individuals via a green or red light that they are okay to proceed.
SmartXcan “measures temperature in the sinus cavity and behind the eyes in 0.6 seconds”
London Palladium pilot event suppliers
On 23 July, London’s iconic Palladium venue held a pilot event, featuring singer Beverley Knight, to test the theatre’s readiness to deal with audiences and overall safety, ahead of a mooted return for indoor shows in England in August.
In addition to limiting the venue’s capacity to 30%, attendees were given staggered arrival times and had to pre-order drinks to allow staff to organise in-seat service.
Assisting the Palladium in the trial were:
- Hikvision, which has a range of products and services that can be used by the live events sector to bolster coronavirus safety protocol. These include MinMoe touch-free, temperature-screening terminals; crowd-density control solutions; mask-detection solutions; and thermal-imaging cameras to detect skin surface temperatures.
- In addition to developing a room disinfectant system using ozone gas, Purehold has designed a range of hygienic door-handle covers that fit over existing handles, while its door push plates use a similar silver ion coating that works continuously to combat germs deposited onto the surface by users.
- MegaHertz uses the latest technology in decontamination fogging and sterilisation, with the chemical involved tested and proven not to be harmful to humans, animals, plants or electrical equipment. The company’s fogging devices distribute the chemical into the air so that it is able to make contact with every part of the decontamination area, killing 99.999% of bacteria and viruses.
Purehold has designed a range of hygienic door-handle covers that fit over existing handles
CrowdBlink Protect has been used by essential businesses during the shutdown to assess employees daily for symptoms of Covid-19, allowing them to safely continue operating. Now, as economies start operating once again, other organisations are beginning to use the same system to reopen safely.
From construction, manufacturing, and retirement/senior care facilities to childcare centres, office buildings and more, CrowdBlink Protect is an easy, affordable solution to help keep communities safe. The company charges $49 per ‘screener’ per month, with screeners being individuals who assess others, or who can scan QR codes for people who have completed CrowdBlink’s self-assessment procedures.
The CrowdBlink plug-and-play system also allows event organisers to create and sell tickets to their events, scan tickets as people enter, and use CrowdBlink’s point-of-sale facility to sell items during the event.
On the attendee side, fans can use the Patron app to buy tickets, enter the event, add funds to their cashless accounts, make purchases on-site, and even interact with sponsors. Patron allows attendees to use the app if they lose Internet connectivity. And for anyone that doesn’t want attendees using an app, CrowdBlink can run events via NFC or RFID wristbands or even traditional printed tickets.
Screeners can scan QR codes for people who have completed CrowdBlink’s self-assessment procedures
This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.
PRG lends hand to combatting coronavirus
Production Resource Group (PRG) is the latest in a string of event production companies to lend its skills to the medical manufacturing sector in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
The event production giant is helping to equip a temporary hospital in Berlin and manufacturing face shields for medical workers in New York, joining event infrastructure suppliers and staging companies all over the work in the fight against Covid-19.
“We are responding to the rapidly changing needs of our customers during this emergency, and, with projects like these taking shape around the globe, we are actively at work in the fight against the coronavirus,” comments PRG chairman and CEO, Jere Harris.
“PRG has resources with direct applicability to this important cause, and we take great pride in playing a role.”
In Berlin, PRG Germany is working to fully equip a field hospital built in Hall 26 of the Berlin Expo Center, one of a number of makeshift hospitals in exhibition centres, arenas and other venues around the world.
The Corona – Jafféstraße Treatment Centre will serve as an overflow hospital receiving respiratory patients who can no longer find a place in Berlin’s clinics.
Construction started on 30 March, with the hospital on track to be fully operation within 25 days. PRG will deliver and install lighting, truss and hoists for the suspension of the lighting fixtures, gas and water pipes, as well as IT infrastructure and approximately 25 tons of cabling for the basic supply of electricity.
“PRG has resources with direct applicability to this important cause, and we take great pride in playing a role”
“PRG is taking its significant resources directly to the battle against COVID-19,” says PRG president and COO, Stephan Paridaen. “We are proud to support this temporary hospital and hope to help bring the global pandemic to an end.”
Meanwhile, in New York, PRG Scenic Technologies is working alongside two other local companies and NYU Langone Health to manufacture face shields for use by health workers. The project aims to produce around 300,000 items in under two weeks.
“We’re proud to be a part of this initiative and hope to continue to help those who are aiding in this crisis,” says PRG general manager Mark Peterson, who is leading the effort. “By utilising versatile production methods and intelligent design and in working with Local 311 stagehand labour, we’re going to be able to turn out these shields in record time.”
PRG was among companies to form the Live Events Coalition in the US last month, calling on the government to “rescue the industry in the face of total collapse” due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Leading event production specialists gathered at the ILMC Production Meeting (IPM) on 3 March in London. Read the IPM 2020 report here.
Live Events Coalition: US events biz calls for aid
A coalition of American event production and technology businesses have called on the Trump government and US Congress to establish a special taskforce to “rescue their industry in the face of total collapse” caused by the spread of the coronavirus.
“The coronavirus outbreak is threatening to eliminate the livelihoods of millions of Americans and their companies, with the possibility of wiping them out for good if action is not taken right now,” says Isaac Rothwell, national director of operations at Digerati Productions and a spokesman for the new Live Events Coalition.
“The White House is holding talks with representatives from many different sectors of the economy and we are asking to be brought in to those talks right away. We represent people in every state of the union and make a major contribution to the US economy.”
On the direction of the Centers for Disease Control and US president Donald Trump, who last week warned against gatherings of more than ten people, entertainment venues and other public places have closed across the US in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
“This work stoppage within the industry that produces them is creating a domino effect threatening a significant portion of the US economy,” according to the Live Events Coalition, which also counts PRG, VER, Detroit’s 360 Event Productions, Los Angeles’ Sterling Engagements and the International Live Events Association (ILEA) among its supporters.
“We want to ensure our industry is part of the national conversation during this time of crisis”
The formation of the coalition comes on the back of a Change.org petition which calls for Trump to introduce a federal aid package for small businesses in the live events industry. At press time, the petition had been signed by nearly 350,000 people.
“The petition was put together by Isaac as a gut reaction to help our most vulnerable: small businesses and independent contractors. Many of us saw his initiative as a call to action, and the Live Events Coalition was formed,” explains PRG’s senior vice-president of market strategy in the US, Eileen Valois. “We want to ensure that our industry, which is highly complex and varied, is part of the national conversation during this time of crisis.
“Our mission is to ensure that events-related businesses – and the millions of Americans in our displaced workforce, including full- and part-time workers, independent contractors and freelance professionals that we employ – are included in future supplemental relief aid packages.”