How a Security System Can Enhance Arena Safety and the Fan Experience

Ensuring guests have both a memorable experience and a safe one is no small feat for your physical security team. Stadiums, ballparks, arenas, and other large event venues are increasingly leveraging new technologies to transform the fan experience and maintain a high level of security. The goal is to preserve the integrity and excitement of the event while enhancing security and remaining “behind the scenes.”

Many venues are also now looking for ways to use their physical security systems to gain operational insights. Security systems are no longer seen as just a cost center; they can be part of a venue’s overall digital transformation.

Your venue’s video management system, access control system, automatic license place recognition (ALPR), intrusion systems, and other connected physical security devices collect a goldmine of data. Your security teams can use this data to help discover revenue opportunities and reduce operating costs through greater efficiencies.

Enhancing the guest experience, keeping fans safe, and improving operational efficiency can all be achieved with a unified security solution that bridges multiple technologies within your venue.

Enhancing the Fan Experience Using Actionable Data
When attending a concert or sporting event, fans want to create positive memories with their friends and family. While they are watching their favorite band or sports team, they often don’t think about the behind-the-scenes activities that are part of the event. However, they expect the event to be a positive experience - from the parking lot to their seats.

Everything from purchasing tickets, finding parking to watching the event and going home is a touch point that can be meaningfully positive - or negative. To provide fans with a seamless experience, your team can help carefully manage each step along their journey.

Security systems are becoming a source of valuable operational insight that can help enhance the fan experience. When your team brings data from many different sources into one place, you see a more complete picture of what’s happening in your environment.

For example, using a unified system, your team can integrate the data from IoT devices that track room temperature, air quality, and lighting. This information can then be analyzed to optimize the environment for fans.

Likewise, video analytics that includes crowd counting can allow your operations team to recognize and address long lines or bottlenecks. The team can then shift staff members or open more queue lines to better serve their fans. This could lead to enhanced guest experiences at ticket lines, concession stands, and gift shops.

To help teams spot these opportunities for enhancement, each department or person can create their own dashboard within the unified system. They can track the metrics that matter most to them, making it quicker and easier to see trends, threats, and opportunities.  

Improving Security and the Guest Experience - Even in the Parking Lot
For large venues and stadiums, addressing the fan experience and improving security extends to the parking lots and garages. Ensuring your fans have a good experience from the moment that they pull into your parking lot is part of the overall game day atmosphere.

Using technology for effective parking management can help you improve the flow of traffic and enhance safety at the perimeter of your venue.

From an operator’s perspective, the ability to track parking lot occupancy and direct drivers to open spaces means better control over traffic flow. Video analytics can be used to detect stopped vehicles in prohibited areas or count vehicles over a set time. You can then dispatch personnel to address potential issues more rapidly.

From a guest experience, these unified technologies can lead to an easier, frictionless parking experience. Technology solutions that check parking availability and provide various ways to pay help your fans get into the stadium faster.

For example, the Miami Marlins recently enhanced their parking experience at loanDepot park by implementing various options for parking payment. Instead of waiting in long queue lines, their guests now pay through a pay-by-plate system using a mobile app or at on-site pay stations. The pay-by-plate software connects with the license plate information from ALPR cameras at the entrance and exit points to validate compliance.

The more efficient system saves the Marlins approximately $300,000 per year in operational costs, and they are seeing a parking payment compliance of approximately 97%. Their fans appreciate the ability to spend less time parking and more time enjoying the game.

Enhancing Operational Efficiency Behind the Scenes
In addition to enhancing the fan experience, a unified system can improve your security team’s operational efficiency and response times.

By unifying various systems, security personnel have greater, more readily accessible insight from a single platform interface. Operators don’t need to switch between screens and systems to access data. Therefore, they can respond more quickly and have a greater overall awareness of venue operations.

For example, the Chicago Cubs recently implemented a unified system at Wrigley Field. Before the installation, multiple security systems that had been installed over the years affected their security team’s processes. The systems slowed down efficiency because operators weren’t able to see all the data in a single interface. Switching between systems required an operator to either use a toggle switch or move to another workstation. This additional step took up valuable time.

By selecting a unified solution, the Cubs security team can now see all operations and data from a single, intuitive interface. This also improved staff training. Instead of needing to learn multiple platforms, new staff can be trained on the functionality of one operating system, enhancing the overall onboarding process.

The Cubs also recognized that as the goals of the venue change, so must their security system. A unified system is by nature highly flexible and can be expanded to meet changing needs. Their platform now allows them to build and enhance their security system piece by piece. They have the scalability that they need and can add cameras, sensors, and new technology as it emerges.

Bringing Operations Together Through Collaboration
In addition to securing the venue, keeping fans safe requires establishing relationships with public agencies, including law enforcement and first responders. Disorganized and siloed data hinders collaboration across teams and slows incident response times. Organized and consolidated data is crucial for a proactive approach to guest safety and security.

Modern security solutions can facilitate coordination between your venue and law enforcement. By implementing solutions that facilitate public-private data collaboration, you help all stakeholders proactively prepare for an emergency, assess situations, and respond to threats effectively.

Your venue, local law enforcement, and other community partners can share vital information while maintaining strict rights and privileges that allow you to remain in compliance. This ensures a flow of information between the venue and local first responders while maintaining compliance and privacy measures.

Steps to Optimizing Your Venue's Physical Security System
There are three key steps to consider when implementing a new security solution at your sports or entertainment venue.

  1. Identify the challenges from several perspectives - Challenges could include long lines, difficult parking, older technology, or lack of features. Review the systems you currently have in place and establish which systems are most critical for addressing the challenges you identify.
  2. Propose and review digital solutions - After considering the physical and digital security systems currently in place, assess where digital technology can improve operations, safety, and the fan experience. Talk with your system integrator about which systems could address those needs, and how a unified solution might help.
  3. Identify gaps between current infrastructure and emerging solutions - As needs and technology evolve, consider solutions that will be able to meet your needs both now and in the future. Make sure that your system is scalable and will allow you to grow and add features in the future.

Technology continues to improve and offers event organizers a wide range of tools that can meet safety and security needs while enhancing the fan experience.

With the rise of data analytics, security systems aren’t only being used to keep fans safe. They are also key in improving the fan experience. By adopting a unified, comprehensive strategy powered by cooperation, processes, and technology, venues can ensure that events are safe, secure, and truly memorable.


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