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Hackathon held for ideas to aid research into crowd safety and security


Techies can compete in a hackathon to design software for an EU-funded project, which aims to improve crowd safety and experience at events. 

Dorothy Monekosso

The MONICA project is being led by Professor Dorothy Monekosso from Leeds Beckett University, and is developing new technology to improve public security, prevent overcrowding and improve fans’ experience at concerts and sporting events.

Professor Monekosso, who is a professor of Computer Science, has been working alongside Yorkshire County Cricket Club and Leeds Rugby to test the technology at Headingley Carnegie Stadium.

The new software detects incidents in crowds and sets off an alarm to security staff, alerting them to what and where the incident is.

Wearable devices for security are also being developed to allow staff in control rooms to pinpoint where the incident is and what is happening in the crowd at ground level. 

The second element of the project involves creating a wristband, which interacts with the surroundings during events.

The wristband will access crowd numbers, having the ability to tell the wearer which bar has the shortest queue or which is the fastest queue for the toilets.

The hackathon in Leeds is the first of three being held across Europe for students, staff, start-ups, entrepreneurs and SMEs to come up with new software – similar to this - to enhance fan engagement and experience at large-scale sporting events and to be used as part of the MONICA project.

sports crowds

It is being held 13-14 June at the Rose Bowl at Leeds Beckett’s city campus. The best idea or concept will receive a prize of 5,000 euros and will receive six months business incubator support and input from academics in developing their idea.

Professor Monekosso said: “The challenge is to develop a data-driven app, utility or service, using data provided by the MONICA project.
“The winning idea, if it is good enough, will be used as a testbed for the MONICA project.”

MONICA have been liaising with the emergency services and security companies throughout the project and will also be taking their feedback on board. 

The first test of the CCTV software was carried out at Headingley stadium in March and at Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen.

“We hope the hackathon will bring some creative ideas to fruition and we can start working with a new partner on this prestigious project,” added Professor Monekosso.

“MONICA is due to conclude in early 2019 with a full roll out of the software a few months later.”

Leeds Beckett is hosting the next meeting of MONICA’s 30-European partners, which will be attended by Cllr Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, at Cloth Hall Court in May.

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