Researchers at Kingston Uni explore ways to make concerts safer

Researchers at Kingston Uni explore ways to make concerts safer

Researchers at Kingston Uni explore ways IoT can make concerts safer
Researchers at Kingston Uni explore ways IoT can make concerts safer

Researchers at Kingston University have secured a €900,000 grant to explore ways a new wave of IoT connected devices could make concerts safer.

The research team wants to investigate how a network of devices such as drones, wristbands and body-mounted video cameras could improve security at outdoor events that attract large crowds.

This work forms part of a wider Europe-wide research project, costing £15 million ($18.7m) across three years and involving sound and technology experts from 28 partner organizations.

Wide-scale project

Plans for an international study arose because researchers wanted to find a solution to reduce noise levels for residents when rock shows are held in Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens.

Named MONICA, the project is being coordinated by German research organisation the Fraunhofer Society and will aim to demonstrate how IoT technologies are beneficial to event organizers and attendees.

Kingston University has been selected to focus on the security aspect of this work, which forms a part of the Horizon 2020 EU Research and Innovation Project.

A number of other organizations and companies are taking part in the project, from specialists from the telecoms industry to universities. Noise impact and security challenges are at the top of the agenda.

Related: AT&T, IBM, Nokia form IoT Cybersecurity Alliance to tackle device threats

IoT to the rescue

The Kingston team – based in the university’s Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing – will look at ways event organizers can integrate smart devices into an internet-enabled security system.

Such a system could help them to improve video surveillance and speed-up response procedures from security teams.

Professor Paolo Remagnino, from the university’s research team, said that big events raise many complex issues for security teams but that the latest tech can help.

“The bigger the event, the more potential issues you have in terms ensuring the safety of those attending,” he said on the announcement of the research project.

“We want to help develop a way of bringing these technologies together to help establish a secure environment during public events where many thousands of people are attending.”

Related: Consumers unaware of the security risks posed by IoT devices, says report

Close partnerships

The university will work closely with several project partners in determining how IoT devices cans secure live video, audio and other data for concert security purposes.

“As part of the project we will be looking at how wearable devices – such as smart wristbands that could be worn by concert-goers – could connect to a system developed as part of the MONICA project which will provide GPS information,” he added.

“That would tell you how many people are in specific places and, if there was a disturbance, you could quickly establish where it was taking place.”

Associate professor Vasileios Argyriou, also working on the project, said: “If we can show that this kind of smart security system could work on this scale, it would go a long way to demonstrating the potential of these smart technology solutions to the challenges faced in crowded outdoor environments in big cities.

“The University has a strong tradition of being at the forefront of developments in video surveillance and analytics and being involved in these kinds of international projects shows our continuing commitment to undertaking cutting-edge research in this field.”

Related: Federeal Trade Commission unveils $25K IoT security challenge

Rise of biometrics

Juan Turruellas, executive vice president of worldwide business development at SoftServe, agrees that the Internet of Things can act as a catalyst for security professionals and companies. He points out biometrics as a leading form of security tech. 

“We are fast becoming a mobile world, and as devices continue to be manufactured with sensors for biometric authentication, consumers will naturally adopt it as the norm,” he said.

“We are already seeing a steady increase in more simplistic forms of biometric identification, such as voice and finger print recognition, being used by the general public, and already, the more advanced technologies include ECG scanning, since this type of verification is more secure and also monitors some aspects of user health.

“This not only protects employee well-being, but can improve security in instances of high user distress, such as when users are being threatened to comply with certain demands.”

“The fact is, biometric security is faster, easier to use, more convenient and more secure than traditional security measures. As the technology advances, it includes additional layers of authentication and verification, making it harder to hack or spoof and making our current use of keys and passwords seem archaic in comparison. So yes, there’s no doubt, biometrics really are the future of security and surveillance.”