Crowd management: how 5G can make events safer

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Crowd management: how 5G can make events safer

5G technology makes large events safer for participants and audiences. With 5G mobile network connections with guaranteed bandwidth, it is now possible to directly analyze live images from mobile cameras. For example, a municipality can divert swelling traffic flows in time and prevent unmanageable crowds. The municipality of Nijmegen will test the technology at major events next year, together with 5G Hub and GIGTECH.  


At the municipality of Nijmegen, radiofrequency technology from innovative companies on its own Novio Tech Campus is high on the economic agenda. Monique Esselbrugge, on behalf of D66 alderman for Finance, Economy and Inner City: “We want to make promising RF technology widely applicable for society. We look for projects to make an impact. In 2020, we and partners started building a lab environment to deploy 5G mobile internet – as an example of an RF technology – during events for sending high-resolution camera images.”

5G real-time video images

The municipality is preparing a field lab test with the 5G Hub (Eindhoven) and GIGTECH to better handle traffic during crowded concerts – for example, in Goffert Park. “For this, unmanned mobile cameras are deployed at a number of strategically chosen locations. These cameras send real-time video images to a central post, where the authorities immediately read and analyze these images. And: timely divert locally expanding traffic flows and prevent congestion.”

Paul Geurts, strategic advisor for information management at the municipality of Nijmegen, calls the use of camera images one of the many examples of crowd management during major events. “Camera images are indispensable for getting a grip on chaotic situations, for example, in traffic. Very interesting in this planned pilot is the use of the new 5G technology ‘network slicing’: this should guarantee mobile bandwidth even in the most critical situations to the authorities and emergency responders so that they always have access to the latest data and can communicate well with each other. able to communicate.”

Via Network Slicing to reliable data throughput

From the test environment of the 5G Hub in Eindhoven, VodafoneZiggo, Ericsson, High Tech Campus, and Brainport Development support external parties in socially relevant innovations in which 5G mobile network technology plays an important role. Richard Prins, who works for the 5G Hub on behalf of VodafoneZiggo: “Our challenge at every busy event is to send images from the mobile camera application without delay to a central post, where these images are read and monitored.”

How does the 5G technology ‘network slicing’ work? “We have set aside mobile bandwidth in our mobile network for an industrial modem so that – no matter how busy it is – we can always send those mobile camera images without delay. Our last test with unmanned mobile cameras and network slicing took place during the European Hockey Championships in Amstelveen. This test was successful. In the new test in Nijmegen, we will use better, industrial modems that hopefully perform better at high temperatures.”

GIGTECH: strong in smooth-working technology

GIGTECH is a specialist in stable infrastructure for smoothly functioning connections at major events such as Lowlands and Pinkpop. This also applies to the Goffertpark concerts in Nijmegen, for example. Director Andrew Rijnbeek: “We are involved in this new 5G field lab test as executor of the mobile camera application and the technology in the central post. There the camera images are read on systems that we have installed. Employees can zoom in on the external camera images, quickly switch between images, and move the cameras in any direction.”

Mobile connectivity gives more freedom than fixed connections

Rijnbeek sees important advantages in sending camera images via a so-called 5G network slice: “In this pilot, Vodafone takes the mobile connectivity off our hands. As an infrastructure builder, it is very nice for GIGTECH if you can rely on a public mobile network as a result of this slicing, with the guarantee of the bandwidth you need in extreme situations. We then no longer need to install an expensive physical network; building a radio link for a mobile camera takes just a few hours. Moreover, this mobile network infrastructure is much easier to move, if that is more convenient.”

According to Rijnbeek, testing that slice, that virtual network slice is essential. “In theory, it can all be perfect, but it is precisely with rough camera images that you notice immediately if there is a delay in the connection. You then get a crumbly image, and you cannot operate the camera smoothly. And when is that connection most important? Especially when there is an emergency. In such a situation, people flock to the internet to contact each other. It is precisely then that the organization and emergency services must be able to act quickly. But that’s exactly when that otherwise reliable 4G internet connection can fail; 5G via network slicing can then make the difference.”