AI scientists create ‘immeasurably safer’ app for managing audience safety at major events.
A number of Europe’s top artificial intelligence scientists have developed a new crowd-monitoring app for the annual Lord Mayor’s show.
The app utilises ambient intelligence to map crowd dynamics by aggregating data from sensor probes in participating smartphones to produce a real-time crowd density heat map. This ultimately allows major event organisers, the police and emergency services to send up to the minute information or instructions directly to each user.
Meanwhile, the app’s technology is user driven, working only in the immediate area and during the event itself. Each user also remains anonymous and is fully informed about the use of their personal data via the app.
Additionally, the LM Show app comes with a host of extra features, such as the show programme and history; a ‘what’s in front of me’ feature with information about the passing floats; maps, with nearby points of interest; a ‘one-tap’ feature taking users to the nearest first aid point, facilities and tube station; the show’s Twitter feed; and message channels to receive key information from the Show’s organisers and safety personnel.
Professor Eve Mitleton-Kelly, who was involved in the development of the app, said: “The idea was to build a system, which would allow the emergency services a chance to communicate with people on the ground and to advise them. Essentially to let people know what to do and how to escape if necessary. This is not a broadcast communication it is a location targeted communication, which does not need to identify specific users, thus protecting their privacy.
“Any major public event can benefit from the technology. If we can show this works at the sort of large scale public events that take place regularly, we can improve the safety of crowds immeasurably, perhaps saving lives,” she continued.
Professor Dr Paul Lukowicz first began work on the technology following the 2010 Love Parade festival tragedy in Germany, where mass panic resulted in 12 deaths. It subsequently transpired that crowd safety was severely compromised by the lack of communication between the emergency services and the people on the ground.
Lukowicz commented: “Its purpose is to show where critical situations may arise and to counteract them, either by telling people not to go there or by dispatching emergency personnel. Our vision is that every organization, which has large masses of people has this for the benefits of safety. This is about individuals taking control of their own safety and security – safety in numbers.”
The LM Show app can be downloaded for free by Android and Apple users from https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=de.dfki.lordmayorsshow and https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/lm-show/id573690550?mt=8 respectively.