Technologies like facial recognition software and gunshot detection devices offer security teams and law enforcement a smarter, more efficient approach to overall crowd management.
There is power in a crowd, to be sure — but large public gatherings also present a number of challenges to law enforcement agencies and private security teams. From the merely inconvenient frustrations like foot traffic congestion to the threat of terrorist attacks, crowds have the potential to cause (or attract) problems — if, that is, they are not managed properly.
That is where crowd control comes in. “Crowd control” refers to the ability to monitor, direct, and manage large groups of people — with an eye towards safety, efficiency, and satisfaction. In practice, it typically combines a number of different disciplines, bringing engineering, technology, and psychology together to inform the design and implementation of proactive solutions.
With the growth of urban populations, rising crowd sizes, and new and emerging threats, crowd control has taken on greater importance for cities and towns in recent years. New solutions to an ever-more urgent problem are being sought. Enter “smart crowd management,” a term defined by the use of intelligent technologies and tactics in preparing for and controlling large crowds. Smart crowd management technology from AI-enabled cameras with facial recognition to connected bomb detection devices is helping law enforcement agencies across the country improve their situational awareness and manage crowds more effectively.
As security threats become more advanced, so too must the tools used to combat them. Decision-makers need to implement connected systems that can handle a broad and diverse array of threats — and be able to adapt to changing crowd sizes. The most effective of these will likely use a combination of smart crowd management technology like cameras, sensors, Artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics, and situational awareness.
With all the advanced technology that is now available, how can public safety professionals determine which crowd control tools will meet their needs? The first considerations should be the fundamentals: expected crowd densities and the particularities of the surrounding environments in question.
But beyond the basics, stakeholders should also take into account how precise their data needs to be in order for it to be impactful, in addition to the cost of obtaining this data. Finally, decision-makers will want to consider how long the technology will take to deploy, and if it will deliver results in time to be effective.
Generally, an efficient crowd management solution will bring together various data streams that offer both a wide-area view of the location as well as a detailed perspective on specific points of interest. This combination of diverse technology enables those managing crowd control strategy to build an accurate, actionable common operational picture.
Most importantly, these technologies will need to be integrated with a robust situational awareness platform — one that puts the right information into the right hands at the right time. Connected security assets need to be able to communicate — both with one another, as well as decision-makers on the ground. Huge volumes of security data are only useful if they can be turned into actionable insights.
As public safety stakeholders lean into emerging security technologies, they’ll need to do more than implement discrete solutions — to achieve true smart crowd monitoring, they’ll need the piece that ties it all together.
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