Food and drink festival uses smartphone scanner tech for crowd safety

The organisers of the Bolton Food and Drink Festival have used technology from Innotech Concepts and Libelium to keep attendees moving freely and safely around the event.

Held annually in the Greater Manchester town, the Bolton Food and Drink Festival gives attendees the chance to taste cuisine from all over the world. Last summer, over the August Bank Holiday, it broke all previous records, attracting 267,000 visitors. But pulling in such numbers comes with its own challenges in terms of keeping attendees moving around, freely and safely. 

Looking for a better way to understand and manage the crowds, the festival organisers enlisted the support of Innotech Concepts on a project focused on visitor data monitoring. The Castleford, West Yorkshire-based start-up specialises in data collection for the transport and events sectors, with an emphasis on areas including connectivity, public safety and evacuation. 

Innotech provided the event’s management team with sensor specialist Libelium’s Meshlium IoT platform, to study the behaviour and activities of visitors in real time, based on detection of smartphones via the Meshlium Scanner. 

Food and drink festival uses smartphone scanner tech for crowd safety

(Credit: Libelium)

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Data to the rescue

Two connected scanners were installed at the main entrance of the event venue and a third was deployed in the car park, as a means of monitoring the location, length of stay and individual journey routes of visitors. These scanned for smartphones every 15 minutes via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. 

To protect customers’ identifies, all information was kept anonymous and sent over a secure 4G network to Innotech’s proprietary analysis platform, Innotech Insights Crowded. Here, data can be transformed into visual charts to convey key data more easily, but the platform also offers a raw data download option, enabling users to slice and dice data in the ways that most interest them. 

From this, the event’s organiser were able to establish a number of metrics: duration of stay; visitor volume per location; visitor volume per day; most popular locations; most popular individual and group routes; total visitors.

Read more: Athens International Airport turns to IoT for environmental monitoring

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EE unveils 4G ‘smart tent’ at Glastonbury Festival

EE's smart tent at Glastonbury

Mobile network operator EE is to trial a ‘smart tent’ at Glastonbury Festival, currently getting underway in Somerset, UK, offering music fans a range of internet-connected features.

EE’s tent, which will be set up on the 900-acre site at Worthy Farm, features a fridge that will tweet users when stocks run low and an entertainment centre that will show the BBC’s live streams of the six stages across the festival, using six 4G-connected mobile devices suspended from the ceiling.

It also boasts the latest Google Daydream virtual reality (VR) headsets, with exclusive Glastonbury Festival highlights in 360-degree video, and voice-activated ‘party settings’, allowing guests to set the music and lighting mood using voice commands.

The connected tent will also feature a number of solar-powered technologies including a wellington boot warmer, a kettle, and fans to keep the smart tent cool throughout the day. There is also a connected security camera which will live stream the interior of the tent to an app.

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Wi-Fi hotspot

The tent will also act as a 4G WiFi hotspot from between 10am and 10pm every day.

EE is offering one Glastonbury ticket holder and a friend the chance to spend a night in the tent during the festival. They will also receive a brand new Pixel Phone by Google each and be served breakfast in bed on Saturday morning.

Mat Sears, director of communications and sponsorship at EE said that the on-site 4G network that the company will provide to Glastonbury revelers this year is “the most powerful we’ve ever put in, and will help create the ultimate connected camping experience”.

That’s important, because unreliable, patchy mobile service due to the high concentration of phone users at Glastonbury has been an issue in the past.

“While camping is a massive part of any music festival, it’s not always the most comfortable experience, so we wanted to create a 4GEE Smart Tent that tested the latest tech-inspired comforts,” Sears added.

Read more: Researchers at Kingston Uni explore ways to make concerts safer

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