How Video Analytics Are Improving Stadium Security

Oct 26, 2021 | Blog

Sports stadiums face some of the most challenging security obstacles in the business. Because they are designed to seat tens of thousands of guests at a time, designing a video system with enough cameras to monitor every area can be daunting. When factoring in parking lots and tailgating spaces, the sheer square footage of the area under surveillance is massive.

The United States’ 30 National Football League (NFL) stadiums, for example, have a seating capacity of at least 60,000, with at least five of them holding up to 80,000. On average, these sites cover anywhere from 10 to 15 acres—and that’s just accounting for the size of the buildings themselves. This is why stadium security directors are relying on system integrators to design security solutions that leverage the latest video, analytic and storage technologies to make recording, playback, detection and other video processes more efficient.

Challenges Stadiums Face

When it comes to stadium security, there are many pain points. From an operations perspective, staffing is limited, and security officers cannot cover the entire site. The Security Operation Centers (SOC), the most visible part of the entire video surveillance deployment, is often undersized; SOCs often have limited funding to make the desired upgrades to effectively run video operations. Many times, the general contractor is responsible for video surveillance deployments, but has little to no experience in the needs for a properly working system that is purpose-built for large-scale security efforts. Additionally, consultant-supplied documents often neglect to reflect what the actual end-user needs, relative to their available budget.

Stadiums also present unique demands on video surveillance equipment. On game days, for example, image complexities can constantly change, resulting in greater bandwidth in recording than non-game days. Different stadium areas—from seating to concession stands to parking lots— have different application needs that require different cameras with distinct functionalities. Determining the right camera angles and detection ranges requires skill to ensure all key areas are covered and that there are no blind spots. When it comes to video storage, the area designated for video data infrastructure is small. This creates problems. Because of the substantial storage requirements to support hundreds of high-resolution cameras in stadiums, there often is not enough rack space to accommodate all the equipment. 

How Video Analytics Represent a Solution

One solution to the above challenges is to rely on advanced video technologies to streamline security systems. Since the rise of artificial intelligence, video analytics have proven critically helpful.

Video analytics has been all the buzz in the security industry in recent years. Over time, the ability to distribute instantaneous alerts, shorten response times, and learn important patterns has revolutionized video surveillance. Since its initial integration, however, numerous innovations, as well as a global pandemic, have forced the technology to evolve in new ways.

When it comes to standard video analytics functions, such as stadium entrance and exit management, video analytics create numerous efficiencies for stadiums and event spaces. Here are three examples:

  1. Traffic Management: For traffic flow and parking management, operators can configure video analytics to distribute and direct drivers to appropriate areas, simplifying the process of finding a spot as well as preventing traffic jams when drivers are trying to leave.
  1. Loitering and Perimeter Breach: Using object detection and area monitoring functionalities, video analytics can also alert security personnel whether a security breach occurs, or individuals loiter in unauthorized areas for too long, without the need for officers to constantly monitor CCTV feedback. This cuts down on workload and empowers personnel to respond to incidents more quickly.
  1. Threat detection: Video analytics can also detect the faces of individuals who are known threats to an event, whether that individual be a stalker, or someone banned from the stadium or event space because of a previous incident.

Innovative Measures Since the Pandemic

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, video analytics capabilities have also been extended far beyond their original uses to accommodate evolving health and safety requirements for event spaces. Object detection analytics, for instance, allows users to monitor whether visitors comply with current health and safety policies like mask-wearing. People counting analytics can also measure the distances between attendees,  to prevent them from congregating too closely to one another. By placing smart cameras near kiosks, entrances, vendors, and bathrooms, stadium security personnel can automate and thereby effortlessly enforce these measures. Video analytics, today, are an indispensable tool to every stadium and event space.

The Importance of Data Management

Regardless of the need of the arena, stadium, or event space, any application that employs smart cameras, sensors, video analytics, and deep learning—data management at the edge and backend is just as important as the sensors themselves.

To ensure video and metadata from surveillance cameras with AI are properly recorded, processed, and stored, system integrators need to partner with a trusted advisor and leading provider of video data infrastructure like BCD. With over 20 years of experience, BCD’s team of experts specialize in customizing storage solutions and optimizing them for video performance. Moreover, BCD’s solutions are known for increasing recording throughput.

For stadiums and large event venues, BCD offers its hybrid hyperconverged infrastructure (hHCI) solution, REVOLV. REVOLV is designed for customers that need to store petabytes of video data, want help protecting themselves from data loss, keep costs down and help ensure that they are not leaving critical systems sitting idle. The difference from traditional HCI is that in hHCI, compute and storage are independent from each other and can be increased separately as needed. Powered by BCD’s exclusive Harmonize Software Suite, REVOLV is available in three models: DEEPSTOR® Lite, DEEPSTOR® and DEEPSTOR®+. With every REVOLV solution, BCD analyzes the project needs and builds a purpose-built solution to ensure project success.

Another benefit system integrators gain when partnering with BCD is access to BCD’s Professional Services. BCD offers network design, network assessment, network provisioning, SAN provisioning, as well as integration best practices to ensure deployment success.