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Simulation for safety and security
Jeroen Steenbakkers, sales manager at INCONTROL Simulation Solutions, explains how stadia usage is changing, how crowd simulation technology is developing and how an increased focus on safety is impacting the design of EURO 2012 stadia
What services does your company offer to the industry?
INCONTROL Simulation Solutions offers crowd simulation software and solutions. With our crowd simulation software, clients are able to evaluate and optimise the crowd flows in any large infrastructure (such as stadia) in every phase of the lifecycle, from design to operation. It enables them to quickly compare different alternative designs and scenarios and offers them the possibility to develop and test evacuation plans. INCONTROL offers the user-friendly software Pedestrian Dynamics, which is used by numerous architects, engineers, consultants and stadium managers in the industry. Based on the client’s demand, INCONTROL also offers supporting services such as model development, studies and training.
Could you tell us an interesting fact about your company?
INCONTROL Simulation Solutions is involved in the design of several stadia of the EURO 2012 in Poland/Ukraine, EURO 2016 France and the 2018 World Cup in Russia. During the design phase of these championship stadia, important decisions regarding design and visitor flows where made based on simulation studies. Furthermore, our software is used in many other areas, such as airports, public transport and mega-events.
What trends do you see emerging in your particular sector of the stadium industry?
INCONTROL observes a growing demand for tools that enables stadium designer and operational managers to create insight in visitor flows in and around the stadium venue. Due to the large volume of visitors that stadia cope with, it is very complex to evaluate alternatives in ‘real life’. Also, increased attention on safety and security has lead to a demand for a method of qualifying and quantifying this safety and security. Next to this, stadia are increasingly being used for events other than football matches, such as concerts or dance events. This means the stadium infrastructure is used for purposes other than those that it was initially designed for. Especially during these events, effective crowd management is very important.
What new technologies or strategies have you used in any recent projects?
Next to the continuously improving simulation engine that INCONTROL uses, we recently developed a real-time connection with intelligent cameras that monitors crowd behaviour. In this way, our simulation models can be validated but also we are able to look ahead of time, in regards to the real-time situation. This technology can be used to monitor different crowd behaviours and anticipate future behaviour. If, for instance, the systems observes panic in the crowd, our software will simulate a virtual evacuation scenario to analyse ‘what would happen if...’. If the evacuation will take place, the system will dynamically route the people (by dynamic signing) in the best way based on the result of the simulation. If then, for instance, certain exits are obstructed by fire, the system will also propose new optimal routes for the visitors and change signing so that visitors will take the new optimal route.
What’s your favourite stadium/sports venue and why?
Our favourite stadium is the Philips Stadium of PSV Eindhoven. It was the first stadium that we simulated and still is our home base. We have a good relationship with PSV Eindhoven. They are a good partner in bringing their success story to other potential clients.
Where do you see the stadium market in 10 years’ time?
We foresee a growth in the application of crowd simulation to improve stadium performance, from the design phase to the operational phase. Stadia are becoming much more than just a football arena. They will be used for multiple purposes. Since all these different events will come with different stadia usage and crowd behaviours, many scenarios need to be evaluated. Crowd simulation software is a proven tool to evaluate and optimise these scenarios and prepare oneself for the real event. Ten years from now, simulation software will be integrated in the total operational system of stadia in order to anticipate on the crowd behaviour and give optimal solutions for dynamic routing of the visitors to guarantee the safety and security of all visitors.
INCONTROL Simulation Solutions will be exhibiting at Stadia Design & Technology Expo 2012, 8 - 10 May 2012. Visit the company at Booth 1060