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Astroworld investigation: ‘This is about learning’

Crowded space expert Professor Chris Kemp has spoken to IQ about concert safety following the deadly crowd surge at Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival in Houston, Texas.

Police have opened a criminal investigation after at least eight people, aged between 14-27, died and hundreds others were injured at the 50,000-capacity event at NRG Park on Friday (5 November). Multiple lawsuits have already been filed by Astroworld attendees.

Inquiries are expected to take “weeks if not months” to complete, and Kemp, of Mind Over Matter Consultancy, hopes the findings will go towards preventing similar tragedies in the future.

“These reports sometimes contain less than is actually needed because they tend to focus on blame, rather than support in delivery and development,” he tells IQ. “But what needs to be looked at is both the distal and proximate causations – those elements are so important for the industry to learn from – because this is about learning.”

He adds: “There are a lot of things going on at an event of that size and you have to make sure you’re mitigating risks as much as you possibly can. But I can’t cast aspersions about anything that happened to that event, because I don’t know and we don’t know. All we’re getting is snippets from the press, newspapers, TV, and remember, people like sensationalising things. We need to know the underpinning facts. And as those come out, to learn from them and take that on board.”

Kemp explains the key areas likely to be scrutinised by the authorities.

“It’s most likely going to focus on the planning of the event, the management of the event, the artist’s behaviour, the crowd behaviour,” he says. “It will focus on a range of things with those as major blocks, but also the interoperability between all the services that were there.

“We haven’t yet really got a full view from anybody about what happened. We know what the main elements are, but the overall timeline hasn’t been released yet.”

It’s about three key elements: security, safety and service

Such concert tragedies are infrequent, but not unprecedented. Eleven people died in a crush at a gig by The Who at Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1979, while two people were killed at a Guns N’ Roses performance at the UK’s Monsters of Rock festival in 1988 and three people died at an AC/DC concert at The Salt Palace in Salt Lake City in 1991.

Since the turn of the century, nine people died at Pearl Jam’s 2000 headline show at Denmark’s Roskilde Festival and 21 people died and more than 650 were injured in a July 2010 crush in a tunnel that served as the sole entrance to the Love Parade festival in Duisburg, Germany.

“The occurrences themselves are fairly rare,” says Kemp. “But there are thousands of near misses. And it’s about three key elements: security, safety and service, which are things that you balance to make the event work.

“Planning, communication and management, of course, are absolutely essential in ensuring the event is fit for purpose before people come into it.”

Kemp also addressed reports that a concert-goer was going around injecting people with drugs at the Astroworld event.

“Although that was probably not a contributing factor to the disaster, I think it’s something that we need to keep our eye on because it’s been brought up from all sorts of different events, starting in UK nightclubs,” he says. “So it’s very difficult to get a handle on.”


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Safe presents findings of three-year project

After three years of research, Safe, a pan-European project working to improve safety at live events, today (22 March) presented its conclusions.

Initiated and coordinated by French live music association Prodiss, in partnership with Le Laba (FR), Issue (CH), Mind Over Matter Consultancy (UK), TSC Crowd Management (NL), Wallifornia MusicTech (BE), ILMC (UK), BDKV (DE) and the European Arenas Association (NL), the Safe Project aims to improve the safety of live event spaces and develop the skills of safety and security professionals across the continent.

Initiated after the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, the project, funded by the EU’s Erasmus+ adult education programme, evolved with the Covid-19 crisis to ensure that health, safety and security continued to be seen as priorities during the pandemic.

As part of the project, Safe participants presented results of their research and experiments, including:

Five events were used to disseminate the results of the Safe project. These included an online webinar, broadcast in French on 26 February, and the recent 33rd International Live Music Conference (ILMC), which took place online from 3 to 5 March.

Following the initial broadcast of the webinar, which can be watched back on the Safe YouTube channel, 67% of participants said they plan to use Safe resources and 70% will to share the information presented with their colleagues.

Live events professionals may access the Safe project resources at www.thesafeproject.eu.


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Article 25: Keep guns out, urge French festivals

French festival associations De Concert! and France Festivals have expressed their concerns about a controversial new security bill that would allow off-duty police and gendarmes to carry their weapons into music festivals, entertainment venues and other places open to the public.

Article 25 of the proposed global security (sécurité globale) law, introduced last October by the incumbent Jean Castex government, would remove the right of so-called public establishments (établissements recevant du public, ERP) to deny entry to police officers or soldiers of National Gendarmery who are carrying guns when they are not on active service.

The bill, which is opposed by many civil liberties groups, also contains several other provisions strengthening police powers, including giving municipal police access to CCTV footage, restricting when police and gendarmes may be filmed by the public, and expanding the use of police drones.

Ahead of the bill reaching the Senate, the two associations – along with six other groups, including the SMA (Union of Contemporary Music), Fedelima (Federation of Contemporary Music Venues) and Profedim (Union of Producers, Festivals, Ensembles and Independent Music Distributors) – have urged politicians to act to keep weapons out of ERPs, which also include concert venues, rehearsal spaces, theatres, cinemas, hotels and restaurants.

“With the adoption of article 25, the presence of weapons within ERP, and therefore cultural places, would be facilitated or even trivialised, and we see a serious danger,” say the eight associations in a statement.

“Our teams are unable to absolutely check the validity of a potentially falsifiable police card”

The associations’ objection is two-fold: First, that anyone posing as a policeman or gendarme could smuggle a gun into a live event, and secondly, that it reduces ordinary concertgoers to second-class citizens not entitled to the same privileges the police would enjoy.

“Our teams and our private security agents are unable to absolutely check the validity of a potentially falsifiable police card,” they continue. “Nothing could be simpler, therefore, for those who would like to commit a mass murder.”

Secondly, the statement adds, “because an undercover police officer who is not on duty is a citizen like any other, and citizens remain free and equal in rights, we see in this difference in treatment as an attack on the founding principles of our Republic.

“Thus, it seems to us that the benefits that the extension of the authorisation to carry weapons within the ERP would represent [pale in comparison] to the heavy risks involved.”

The draft global security law returns to the French parliament next month.


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Safe to hold hackathon on Covid-19 solutions for live

Safe – a European project that deals with event safety, security and crowd management – is inviting the public to join its hackathon, which aims to find innovative and viable solutions to help festival and events manage the constraints caused by Covid-19.

The hackathon will take place in the form of an ideation camp with four different focus groups, which will be guided by experts from the live sector, safety management, technology, data, smart cities and sociology:

The Safe hackathon will take place on 21 and 22 January from 9:30 am –12:30 pm CET. Each group will host a maximum of 12 participants and registration is now open.

Safe is a project lead by Prodiss, with International Live Music Conference (ILMC), Le Laba, Issue, Wallifornia, TSC Group Management, Mind Over Matter Consultancy, BDV and European Arenas Association, and backed by the European Union via Erasmus Plus program.


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French biz laments “very partial” Collomb circular annulment

French industry association Prodiss and trade union SMA have deemed the State Council’s recent changes to the controversial Collomb circular as “very partial”, saying they will continue to “defend the sector against the directive”.

Proposed by former interior minister Gérard Collomb in May 2018, the so-called Collomb circular (circulaire Collomb) saw organisers pay the government for the deployment of police at live events, except in the case of terrorist-related incidents.

The idea was met with incredulity across most of the industry, with many citing a drastic increase to security bills as a result.

Under the new changes, organisers no longer have to pay a deposit – equalling 60% to 80% of the total security cost – when agreeing a contract with the state. The annulment also removes a deadline that obliged organisers to complete their payment within a month of an event’s conclusion.

An additional change dictates that an agreement must be signed between organisers and the government in advance of an event, if any law enforcement is to be deployed and billed for.

“Safety is a sovereign matter that should not be dealt with by the organiser of festivals and shows alone”

Although Prodiss and SMA, who took legal action to revoke the circular in 2018, call the partial annulment “a first step against the injustice of the circular”, they state that the key issue of organisers reimbursing the state for security costs has not been called into question.

“Event owners will continue to single handedly bear the costs of all police intervention that is directly associated with their events,” reads a statement from Prodiss and SMA.

“For professionals, safety is a sovereign matter that should not be dealt with by the organisers of festivals and shows alone,” continues the statement. “Our organisations will continue to fight to defend the sector against this directive that weakens its entire cultural and artistic ecosystem.”

The changes to the circular come following the French government’s creation of a new decree last year, which provided funding for security enforcement at live events. The law failed to appease Prodiss and SMA, with event organisers only being spared costs in the case of “exceptional circumstances”.

Photo: Arthur Empereur/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0) (cropped)


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Security security security

I first started working security at concerts 46 years ago, when I cut my event teeth in the Empire Theatre, Edinburgh. Prior to that I was a member of the audience.

Crucially, it was the experience of being a ticket buyer that gave me a unique and very early perspective – I was only 16 years old – on how audiences should be managed, and a sense that something had to change and improve.

Fast-forward to the present day and it would be a failure if there was not an acknowledgement that many individuals, some who are no longer with us, have given their entire careers and sacrificed much of their personal life to create a safer and more secure environment in which people can go out and enjoy themselves, and also to work and perform at events.

Many of those same individuals understood not only the greater good of sharing, collaborating and exploring new methods, but also of obtaining input from the eventgoing public, which was about seeing how we do our job – not introspectively, but from the view of that 16-year-old live music fan.

The past strides taken towards improving standards of planning, tactical awareness, operational delivery and customer expectations were, and still are, very much an experiential process, where good and bad lessons learned are then applied so that future incident and disaster can be avoided. I think this is best characterised by paraphrasing the words of Spanish philosopher, George Santayana: “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

There can be no secrets where public safety is concerned

The importance of analysing and prioritising the range of risks and threats underlines what Lord Kerslake said in his contribution last year in the eponymous Manchester Arena bombing report: that “we cannot afford to be complacent,” which is no less equal to Lord Justice Taylor’s comment in his Hillsborough Disaster report that “complacency is the enemy of safety.”

From what I saw at the Event Safety and Security Summit (E3S) in October, there is no sense of complacency among event security professionals today.

If there is any looking back, it is about preparing for the future. It is also about analysing current methods and trends with a critical eye, but also seeking out new theories and keeping pace with what technology has to offer while still aiming to share best practice, and in general to collaborate.

The latter, of course, can bring into play the debate about competition and commercial interest. However, there can be no secrets where public safety is concerned. Any agile business or service provider knows that quality in delivery of a ‘safe and secure event,’ from which there are no injuries or fatalities, and the prevailing public consciousness is about a good time experienced and not about security presence, is where the greatest amount of positive impact will be made on both the consumer and client’s ‘feelings’ about their own safety.

So what does the future look like? Technology is most certainly going to be a large part of how events are managed, where safety, security and customer service are assured and integrated.

‘Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it’

The threat of internal terrorists perhaps calls into question the need for more robust employee screening, vetting and supervising to minimise the opportunity for someone to become hostile within the organisation or event.

Of course, threats are not just focused around people, but increasingly our events are reliant on multiple systems that are vulnerable to cyber attack. The world is moving at pace towards the Internet of things, the advent of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Biometrics, facial matching and recognition, and utilising open-source intelligence are of great benefit, but create in themselves an asset-protection need. Therefore, it is essential to have a clear plan that addresses what security controls are required for each critical system, and contingencies.

Events are really about a gathering of people, usually for the purposes of seeking enjoyment and entertainment, and the physical and psychological factors that influence their actions. The industry has advanced quite considerably in the last few years and quite rightly is embracing technology, seeking out new ways to train, educate, plan, manage and communicate.

Yet we must never forget that we are dealing with people and all of the human factors arising from excitement, anticipation, fear, expectation and cultural influences that are ever present and always changing.


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Security today: distraction and stagnation

“What has changed since Manchester?” It’s a good question, with a mixed answer. An awful lot has changed. But the bigger question is: “Has it all been beneficial?”

The answer, according to many of my colleagues, would be a simple “no” – and I would have to agree. Yes, a lot of good work has been done, but the direction and focus has often been confused.

Better CCTV, behavioural detection, closer relationships (in some places) with police and some re-engagement have undoubtedly been among the improvements. One really positive action has been the closer scrutiny by safety advisory groups (SAGs) into matters of event security – although the advice has not always been quite as helpful as it might be if SAG members had some training and better understanding of events.

So much money, time and effort has been spent in keeping ramming vehicles away from crowds that other risks have been side-lined and the ‘old-fashioned’ model of risk assessment seems to have been lost in the process. Of course, the consequences of a vehicle attack are likely to be catastrophic, but how great is the likelihood of it occurring? When we look at the risk of drugs, weather and all the other methods of terrorism delivery, the ramming attack risk must be placed within a range of threats and assessed properly. Yet, for the last two years, it seems to have been almost the only focus of many who give security advice for events.

It has taken the mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham, to push for a wider review of event security overall, under the banner of ‘Martyn’s law’, after one of the victims of the Manchester attack.

I write this as the director of Gentian Events Limited, but I am also the chair of the United Kingdom Crowd Management Association (UKCMA), a group whose sole purpose is to try to keep crowds safe wherever they gather. The UKCMA wrote to Mr Burnham offering support for his cause two months ago and we are hopeful he will take us up on that offer.

When we look at the risk of drugs, weather and all the other methods of terrorism delivery, the ramming attack risk must be placed within a range of threats and assessed properly

We do believe more can be done, but a knee-jerk instigation of measures that are not commensurate with the threat cannot be the way.

For the last two years, we have exposed hundreds of thousands to lengthy waits outdoors in extremes of heat and rain while enhanced searches have been implemented. We may have deterrred and kept out terrorists, but we have created far higher-density crowds in vulnerable locations outside while doing so.

Worse in many ways, we have ‘locked down’ open street events by blocking off roads with concrete blockers, vans and HGVs to prevent hostile vehicle attacks. To date, none of those crowds have been impacted by other incidents, because if we had another Manchester, or a firearms/knife attack, a building fire, gas explosion or a drone crashing during these events, our policy of ‘run, hide, tell’ would immediately fail as people run towards blocked exit routes.

In the context of crowds, we are certainly seeing more ‘stampede-like’ behaviour, as frightened people misunderstand what their senses or other information sources are telling them and just run: The Black Friday 2017 incident at Oxford Circus in London (60+ injured as they “escaped” from an innocuous fight); the crowd-initiated evacuation at Global Gathering in New York (a fallen barrier sounding like a gun, with seven injured); and, just last month, self-evacuations at Bank tube station in London (another fight), and 22 injured in New York when a motorbike backfired. Free-running crowds will hurt themselves and each other. But if they run into a dead end caused by hostile-vehicle mitigation measures, the consequences will be worse.

So, yes, things have changed – and, in some ways, improved. But there is much more to do. We are doing our best, but the security industry cannot do this alone: we need help and we need to work together to improve.


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E3S showcases the human ‘heart’ of event safety

The annual Event Safety and Security Summit (E3S) took place yesterday (8 October) as experts dedicated to keeping venues, events and festivals safe descended on the Congress Centre in London for a packed schedule of panel discussions, keynote interviews, quick-fire presentations and interactive activities.

“Safety and security are the top priority for AEG and for the industry as a whole,” commented AEG’s senior vice president and chief security officer Matt Bettenhausen, as he took to the stage to deliver the opening address to a packed room of delegates.

Information sharing, technological innovations, training programmes, anti-terrorism strategies and crowd management techniques were all discussed at the conference, but it was the people behind the projects that came out as the heroes of the day.

“In the end, our most important resources are our people,” said Bettenhausen, explaining his mantra of enlisting, entrusting, empowering and encouraging, assuring every person in the chain of command has the knowledge, confidence and skills to act. “This is what allows me to do my job,” stressed Bettenhausen.

People also formed the centre of the closing remarks of this year’s E3S, delivered by Sir Paul McCartney’s director of security Mark Hamilton.

“People are at the heart of everything we do as safety and security professionals,” said Hamilton, noting that his experience as a young concertgoer gave him a “unique perspective on how audiences should be managed”, as well as an innate sense that something should be “changed and improved”.

“In the end, our most important resources are our people”

45 years on, the security veteran stated that the industry looked “better informed than ever” and commended the collaborative spirit and distinct lack of complacency of all those attending.

Bettenhausen commented on the success of wider industry, noting that the business is in rude health and referencing the ever-increasing demand from fans to attend events, as seen by the recent example of Glastonbury Festival’s recent rapid sell-out.

For Bettenhausen, this demand to attend events, especially before line-ups are even announced, is based on trust – trust both in the event organisers and in security teams and their capacity to keep fans safe and secure.

Terrorism, sadly, remains a serious threat for the events industry, albeit a low probability one, and was discussed by the AEG chief, as well as by representatives of Sportpaleis Antwerp, who recently conducted a major simulation of a terrorist attack in their Belgium arena.

This kind of activity paves the way for thorough planning, another key aspect of ensuring safety at live events. “An ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure,” former Californian governor Arnold Schwarzenegger likes to tell Bettenhausen, the AEG security chief mentioned casually.

Other E3S 2019 highlights included engaging discussions on the psychology and management of crowds, the safeguarding of vulnerable people and the threat of cyber incidents.

“We must never forget that we are dealing with people here, and all of the human factors arising from excitement, anticipation, fear, expectation and cultural influences”

The haphazard nature of much security training was a topic that cropped up throughout the day. Andrew Tatrai of Australia’s Aces Group presented his research on how to train crowd managers, explaining how technology can be used to “mimic human intuition” and make crowd management more measurable. Tatrai has now developed a crowd managers decision support tool, using technology to visualise crowd dynamics, predict behaviour, quickly identify risks and mitigate potential issues.

Crowd control has been a focus for Festival Republic in recent years, said the company’s health and safety events organiser Noel Painting, speaking on the ‘Dealing with high risk shows’ panel. “The key thing for events at a major London park is dividing the audience up so we have access to them,” Painting explained, referencing “incidents” at a festival this year, saying changes “certainly” needed to be made, with the introduction of more metalwork to ensure more effective crowd management.

The erratic nature of crowds was explored by Hamilton, as he concluded E3S 2019.

“We must never forget that we are dealing with people here,” concluded Hamilton, “and all of the human factors arising from excitement, anticipation, fear, expectation and cultural influences that are ever present and always changing.”


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MGM to pay $735m to Route 91 shooting victims

Hotel operator MGM Resorts International has reached a settlement of between US$735 million and $800m with the victims and survivors of the 2017 shooting at Route 91 Harvest festival (22,000-cap.) in Las Vegas.

According to Las Vegas law firm Eglet Adams, the final amount of the settlement is dependent on how many claimants come forward.

MGM subsidiary Mandalay Corps owns the Mandalay Bay hotel, from where gunman Stephen Paddock killed 58 and wounded a further 422 people attending the open-air country music festival in October 2017. A further 800 festivalgoers were injured in the panic following the shooting.

Hundreds of law suits have since been filed against the hotel giant, which also owns the venue at which the festival was taking place.

“Today’s agreement marks a milestone in the recovery process for the victims of the horrifying events of 1 October,” says attorney Robert Eglet, whose firm represents almost 2,500 victims of the massacre.

“While nothing will be able to bring back the lives lost or undo the horrors so many suffered on that day, this settlement will provide fair compensation for thousands of victims and their families.”

“While nothing will be able to bring back the lives lost or undo the horrors so many suffered on that day, this settlement will provide fair compensation for thousands of victims and their families”

“We hope this resolution will provide some sense of closure to our clients,” adds fellow attorney Mo Aziz, a partner at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Azi, which represents more than 1,300 victims and survivors. “In this era of mass shootings, this settlement sends a strong message to the hospitality industry that all steps necessary to prevent mass shootings must be taken.”

MGM Resorts chairman and CEO Jim Murren, who says the deals represents “good corporate citizenship” on his company’s behalf, says, “our goal has always been to resolve these matters so our community and the victims and their families can move forward in the healing process.

“This agreement with the plaintiffs’ counsel is a major step, and one that we hoped for a long time would be possible.”

MGM Resorts had previously filed its own litigation against the victims in a bid to avoid liability. This settlement does not act as an admission of liability.

An IQ timeline of terror attacks at live music events and festivals predating the Las Vegas massacre is available here.

Anti-terrorism efforts at live events will form one focus of discussions at the Event Safety and Security Summit (E3S) on 8 October.


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Security Solution Showdown: keeping events safe

Running a live event entails many security risks, be it keeping track of who exactly is attending or working at a venue; ensuring safety protocols are effectively implemented and staff suitably trained; managing crowds; or even dealing with lost property complaints.

Many safety aspects have been handled without any technological aid in the past, allowing for human error and often relying on guesswork or snap decision-making. In anticipation of their presentations at the Event Safety and Security Summit (E3S) on 8 October, IQ profiles some of the industry professionals who believe their solution is the next big thing…


Paul Foster, OnePlan

OnePlan is the world’s first centralised event-site-planning platform. It allows anyone to map, draw, plan and procure every aspect of their event site and operations.

The platform saves event planners time and money, generating consistent professional plans, reducing stress and, crucially, improving safety and security. OnePlan facilitates easy calculation of crowd density and evacuation rates by using intuitive space planning and measurement tools. These numbers can then be agreed upon and enforced.

A multiuser functionality lets event organisers share plans with security personnel and law enforcement at the click of a button, ensuring key safety and security stakeholders have full visibility of the event as plans develop.

This gives plenty of opportunity for identifying and minimising risks and threats as they emerge. Accurate real-time information about the event allows safety and security teams to plan and deliver their operations in the most effective way.

Interpol has recognised the value of a centralised event- planning system and is now using OnePlan to support immersive training for major global sporting events. With other law enforcement organisations showing a keen interest in the platform, and global events adopting the system, OnePlan is raising the bar for event safety and security.

OnePlan gives plenty of opportunity for identifying and minimising risks and threats as they emerge

Matthias Immel, Deep Impact

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of today’s biggest buzzwords. But the buzz is justified: AI will significantly change all areas of life – including the event and live music industry.

Deep Impact is passionate about AI and its possibilities. The company, based in the city of Winterthur, Switzerland, is developing state-of-the-art, AI-based applications. Its face-recognition solution is one of the most powerful worldwide.

Banks are using this software for running background checks on new customers, whereas stadiums and football clubs use it to identify troublemakers during a match.

Deep Impact has the ambition to cover several aspects of security around an event, starting with accreditation. Staff working at an event like a festival are a potential risk – as the temporary termination of Rock am Ring showed two years ago

The software provides a solution by performing an automatic background check (based on open source intelligence and/or blacklists from state authorities) of all event staff, as well as a verification of the person at the accreditation centre to check it is in fact the individual on the list.

Deep Impact can also be used to identify troublemakers and to analyse social media communication in a defined geo-fence, for example, the area around a festival site or arena.

The software analyses the communication in this fence related to security-focused keywords. When one is used on various social media channels, the system creates a notification. It doesn’t matter which language the message is written in, it will be captured and instantly translated via AI algorithms.

In addition to mitigating security threats, this tool can also monitor communication around black market ticket sales near a certain venue or event location.

AI will significantly change all areas of life – including the event and live music industry

Edo Haan, Safesight

Netherlands-based Safesight is a software application that ensures employees, suppliers, partners, volunteers and other parties know and execute their responsibilities, checklists, safety plans and protocols.

When incidents do occur, Safesight helps an organisation to take predictable, efficient and safe actions to control the situation.

Safesight software originated from the work that the company’s owner, Edo Haan, enacted as safety officer at music festivals. As well as being used at events such as Mysteryland, Pukkelpop and Zwarte Cross, the software is also implemented at stadiums and convention centres, including Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Borussia-Park in Germany, and RAI Amsterdam and Rotterdam’s De Kuip in the Netherlands.

Using Safesight software, event organisers are able to optimally inform and instruct all those involved in an event. For example, they can assign tasks or disseminate information in accordance with safety protocols to specific employees at any given moment. This could be to the security team, technical production staff, stage management or the cleaning department.

Via a centralised dashboard, management has an accurate overview of the people that have – or have not – completed their tasks. If an individual, or a whole team, lags behind, this is visible in real time, and management can take action accordingly.

Finally, using a cloud-based logbook available via a browser or through the mobile app, all information is collected and, if necessary, quickly shared with the event stakeholders. This helps those in charge to have a complete overview of what is happening in and around the event. The logbook also acts as an important tool for collecting a valuable database for management.

Safesight software originated from the work that the company’s owner, Edo Haan, enacted as safety officer at music festivals

Ian Kerr & Jennifer McLean, Raven Controls & ID Resilience

Security consultancy ID Resilience and management system Raven Controls are the creations of former policeman Ian Kerr. Kerr’s experience in security stems primarily through his ten-year career with Police Scotland where he worked in emergencies and counterterrorism, planning, designing and delivering contingency exercises for major events, political conferences and tier-one counterterrorist activities.

Having found a passion in resilience, Kerr set-up resilience consultancy business ID Resilience in 2015. Specialising in testing, exercising and crisis management consultation, Kerr and his team have gone on to work with a large number of arenas, stadia, venues and major events across the UK and internationally.

Through the work of ID Resilience, weaknesses in current market solutions for recording and managing issues became evident, with most venues using traditional processes such as office-based systems or outdated handwritten logs. These methods are time consuming, prone to human error, and do not facilitate clear communication, which is essential when it comes to safety and security.

Raven Controls is an integrated real-time issue management system that provides unparalleled levels of situational awareness, ensuring the right information is available to the right people at the right time. Kerr and his team continue to work closely with industry leaders to provide venues and organisers with the protection and accountability they deserve. Raven has been used at the Ryder Cup 2018, European Championships 2018, the Scottish Event Campus and Celtic FC, among others.

Raven Controls ensures the right information is available to the right people at the right time

Rory Cole, NotLost

NotLost is a simple online tool that enables organisations to modernise their lost-and-found process.

Despite being the norm within many organisations, antiquated lost-property systems are time-consuming and frustrating for staff. Not only is a good (or bad!) lost-property experience memorable for customers but it also acts as an unwelcome distraction for the busy security staff who often deal with it.

Mountains of items, endless phone calls and long queues are an all-too-familiar sight for anybody managing lost property at live events. These issues are exacerbated by analogue systems and poor process.

In 2017, a group of event experts recognised this and set about creating a 21st century solution. The result is NotLost, an innovative cloud-based platform that enables organisations to manage their lost property with speed and ease.
Found items are registered in under ten seconds using image recognition software, customer enquiries are handled promptly using keywords and images to search across the platform, and a simple one-click lost/found comparison helps staff to quickly identify and return items.

The platform is proven to save organisations between 50 to 80% of time spent managing lost property, freeing up valuable staff capacity for other important tasks. NotLost also allows venues and live events to deliver an excellent customer experience in this often-overlooked area.

With the O2 Arena on board as NotLost’s first client, the team is now proud to be working with many of the UK’s leading organisations and venues, including the SSE Arena Wembley, AEG Presents and Broadwick Live.

Despite being the norm within many organisations, antiquated lost-property systems are time-consuming and frustrating for staff

Chris Kemp, Pascal Viot & Gerard Van Duykeren, The Safe Project

The Safe Project, an Erasmus+-funded initiative aiming to improve safety and security training across Europe, consists of two programmes.

The first is for those at, or aspiring to be at, management level in the event, security and crowded space industry, while the second is for operational purposes and focuses on the practical elements of security and crowd management.

The programmes have been created to provide both subject-specific knowledge and skills that relate directly to the workplace. Those teaching the programmes are practitioners that can provide experiential, as well as theoretical underpinning for those participating.

The programmes cover six major aspects of managerial delivery and provide a wide range of subject areas and skills. During each module the participants study theoretical concepts, engage in case studies, and work in groups on scenario-based learning to ensure that they absorb both skills and knowledge. Each module has an assessment, which takes place during the programme.

The project is practical, applicable and specifically designed to be used by trainers in classroom scenarios to teach event professionals about the event environment. It comprises: ‘learning in the round,’ which captures the fluid relationships and engagements between the different actors in the work-based learning process (participant, specialist, and facilitator) in both the design and delivery phases.

The course brings together the perspectives of these three key actors, and the best practice in organisational culture is captured and perceived in a manner that would not be possible by any one of these actors individually.

A work-based learner no longer reflects upon workplace issues and challenges from a single aspect, or even ‘in the main,’ but now in the round. In a fully realised work-based learning process, the learner is fully engaged in that learning process.

The Safe project is practical, applicable and specifically designed to be used to teach event professionals about the event environment

Andrew Tatrai, Dynamic Crowd Management

Andrew Tatrai has taken 35 years of practical experience in major event management and crowd security back to school, researching technological pathways to replicate the human decision-making process involved in crowd management.

It has long been accepted that crowd management expertise resides within the realm of professionals making subjective judgements on how and when to intervene to keep crowds safe. The human intuition that drives crowd management decisions is a form of pattern recognition, that is, the memory of good and bad experiences assist a crowd manager to avoid or encourage situations for the preferred outcomes.

Working in accordance with the work of Israeli-American psychologist Daniel Kahneman, Tatrai believes the need for machine learning and observation to enhance decisionmaking is clear. People have limitations in assessing risk, which far exceed mere lack of experience, bias and poor observation.

Combining feature recognition, machine learning, data science modelling and visualisation, it is now possible to measure the changing mood of the crowd on a massive scale.

When modelling large volumes of data, patterns emerge and predictability is possible. This is quicker and more accurate than even the best current human crowd managers, and importantly provides evidence of a change in measurement of crowd metrics. Testing and trials have shown the model is responsive to management intervention.

This research has resulted in the digital measurement of crowd density in actual persons per square metre, the measurement of the velocity of a moving crowd and the estimation of crowd mood by feature extraction and data visualisation. The net result is a product software programme that can provide better crowd metric measurements for control room, police assessment and decision support.

E3S takes place on 8 October at the Congress Centre, London. More information is available here.


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