Safety and Security Management in Sports Venues: The Role of Mobile Apps

The implementation and usage of mobile applications has become indispensable in sectors, applications and processes that involve field personnel and location-based processes (construction, maintenance, agriculture, among others). The latter cannot be supported through conventional desktop applications. This is the reason why mobile apps are extensively used to support security and safety processes in sports venues and other large facilities. Specifically, security processes in sport venues are highly dependent on the monitoring of the behaviour of the spectators and the activities of the stewards. In this context, security management platform for sports venues come with specialized mobile apps that support the implementation of complex evacuation processes, while helping spectators and safety personnel to implement their security management actions.

Mobile Apps in Sports Venues: A Dual Flavour

Security in sports venues is a collaborative effort and responsibility of both spectators and security staff such as stewards and first responders. Even if security is the job of staff, it will not happen unless spectators collaborate and follow the instruction of stewards. Mobile applications must therefore deliver information to both staff and spectators, while at the same time enable their collaboration and the coordination of their actions. Therefore, any mobile platform for sports venues security should provide at least two distinct mobile apps:

  • A mobile application for stewards and first responders. This application enables a mobile-based communication and dispatch mechanism for safety personnel on the ground around the venue. It typically supports a two-way communication mechanism during emergency situations, which facilitates the interaction between stewards and the security officers at the control room of the venue.

  • A mobile application for spectators. This application provides spectators with timely information about the status of the stadium, the rules to follow, and what to avoid during sports events. Furthermore, this application serves as an information delivery channel during emergency situations. Specifically, it is need whenever there is a need to provide timely and context-aware guidance about optimal exit routes, considering the location of the spectator.

Both applications provide locate-aware functionalities. Safety and security platforms must provide mobile subsystems which can identify the position of stewards and spectators in a credible way. In this direction, mainstream methods for location aware services used in mobile apps, like GPS (Global Positioning Systems) based techniques fall sometimes short. Rather, there is a need for more accurate indoor localisation techniques such as the use of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Beacons.