When COVID-19 hit in March 2020, many aspects of our lives went virtual and the entertainment industry saw a complete shutdown. While certain live events like sports, award shows, concerts and even the theater have found ways to reach their audiences through virtual broadcasts, they have their sights set on a return to normalcy at some point in 2021; however, safety concerns still loom.
As the number of cases continues to rise, many people are hesitant about participating in future activities involving crowds of any size. For example, a poll taken early on in the pandemic in April 2020 found fewer than half of Americans plan to go to sports events, concerts, movies, and amusement parks before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. With the vaccine now being rolled out, it’s time to think about what products and services can limit the spread of germs at in-person events.
IoT technology and cutting edge connectivity can ease concerns and provide increased levels of safety at live event venues like arenas. Even with a vaccine in place, people are now more aware and sensitive to how easily germs can spread. By deploying smart sensors, arenas can easily track large volumes of people, air quality and facility hygiene in real-time. With the right technology in place, the live events industry can be more prepared to welcome back crowds, and consumers can find comfort in returning.
Let’s explore some examples of how IoT products can impact arenas.
Air quality monitoring
For indoor arena and stadium events, it is important to monitor overall air quality. The CDC recommends facilities ventilate shared spaces six times a day. IoT devices and smart sensors can monitor carbon dioxide, temperature and humidity levels indoors in real-time to ensure they hit the appropriate numbers. As a result, potential airborne transmission of germs can be closely monitored, so arena owners can rest assured that their indoor facilities are at the necessary levels required to maintain a safe environment.
Hygiene is key to prevent the spread of germs across an event. Connected soap dispensers and predictive cleaning solutions can promote a clean environment. Touchless surfaces minimize the spread of germs in common areas, such as sinks in restrooms and payment terminals at concession stands.
As stadiums and arenas have unique infrastructure, technology needs to be flexible and penetrate all types of dense building materials. Battery operated IoT devices are not only easy to install, but they can last for years without having to be changed. With this type of solution, staff can monitor various equipment in real-time. For example, battery-operated IoT devices can notify staff when soap dispensers and towels have low batteries, so they no longer have to manually check on them and can replace them the moment they’re needed.
With social distancing as the new normal, crowd control will be essential as people ease back into in-person events. It can be difficult for people to maintain six feet of distance from their neighbors and monitor the number of people in a room. In an arena, sensors can monitor capacity in a specified section of seats, private boxes, and restrooms. Sensors placed in doorways can count the number of people entering or leaving a space and send alerts to staff if shared spaces exceed capacity.
For staff, wearable proximity sensors can notify employees when they are too close to their co-workers, helping to establish proper social distancing if needed. Wearables are much more secure, simple to use, and easy to distribute compared to smartphone-based sensing and tracing. This trains staff to better understand what six feet look like and encourages them to take a few steps back if they violate that guideline.
With thermal temperature monitoring sensors placed throughout arenas and stadiums, staff can easily identify individuals with a high temperature and if needed, escalate to provide immediate healthcare to individuals who are in need. Sensors can use connectivity protocols to communicate temperature data to cloud-based applications for trend analysis.
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