BLOG: Sensor technology that helps to avoid crowd crushes

The Halloween drama that took place on the streets of Seoul recently could have been avoided. Crowd management and the right expertise in the field are crucial. Very helpful is also a technology that can help to identify risks of such "crowd crushes" in time.

    Sensor op de Meir

    The Halloween tragedy in South Korea shows once again that crowds can be deadly. At least 154 people lost their lives after being crushed in the crowd.

    Therefore, it remains extremely important to be prepared for situations in which a lot of people gather at a very small surface.

    To avoid crushes, first of all, a sophisticated crowd management plan is needed to manage the crowd. Experienced organizers of large-scale events therefore can rely upon a crowd safety expert, someone who identifies the risks. On this basis, they take the necessary (preventive) measures and work out the necessary communication structures and protocols should certain situations arise.

    In doing so, they can also call on technology solutions. CrowdScan is an academic spin-off that offers sensor technology that signals in time when crowds become potentially dangerous. The CrowdScan crowd barometer works neither with cameras nor WiFi signals, ensuring that it is inherently privacy-friendly.

    "A technology that can map accurately crowds in real-time has a high added value," says Anton Dierickx, COO of CrowdScan and former Antwerp police commissioner. "The crowd management plan and the expertise of the crowd safety manager may both be in order, without real-time information about the situation on the ground you are sailing blind. While human assessment remains necessary, our patented technology signals pressure build-up in a crowd promptly, therewith avoiding mass tragedies like those we saw recently.”

    British professor Keith Still - who is an independent member of CrowdScan's board - is regularly interviewed these days about the danger of crowds. Worldwide, he is an expert on crowd dynamics and crowd management.

    You can read his analysis in this CNN article