Major events: New security system to be tested at Rhine in Flames

Major events : New security system to be tested at Rhine in Flames

The new security system called “Monica” from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology (FIT) will be used for the first time at Rhine in Flames this weekend.

City director Wolfgang Fuchs believes that with the "Monica" system, disasters such as that what happened at the Love Parade in Duisburg could have been prevented. He spoke about it on Thursday on location in the Rheinaue Park. "Monica" stands for a research project launched last year at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology (FIT). The aim of the project is to improve safety and noise protection at major events using the so-called "Internet of Things". Technical solutions which have been developed so far will be tested on the weekend at Rhine in Flames.

Using the system in a test-phase, the City of Bonn and the institute from Sankt Augustin want to record the visitor flow and monitor noise emissions during the upcoming major event. At first glance, the installed hardware does not seem very impressive: With four cameras, project managers want to measure how many visitors are at an area called the “Brückenmarkt” beneath a Rheinaue tram stop as well as on the main path to the event location.

But the truly interesting stuff will take place behind the scenes. For the first time, the measurements will use algorithms that count people whose images are captured on camera, according to project manager Marco Jahn from FIT. The basis for these algorithms comes from video recordings made at the big fair called “Pützchens Markt”. At that event, the city has already been recording people on camera and steering the flow for some time now.

The number of persons recorded on camera at the fair had to be estimated, this is in contrast to how the system will work at Rhine in Flames with the algorithms. It is also intended to help get emergency services to places where they are needed more quickly, say the researchers from “User Centered Computing.” They will locate the site via GPS and immediately dispatch staff to the location with the help of a digital map. In a further expansion phase, it is also planned to have direct warnings or instructions sent to visitors via an App.

Those responsible say it is important to emphasize that the testing is only one additional measure that complements the existing emergency plans. Privacy laws will also be protected.

Besides “person density observation”, the “Monica” system will also be used to monitor noise emissions. Measuring sensors should be able to visualize the noise emissions. On a so-called “heat map”, one can see where it is loud, for example on the main stage. The city wants to use the results to analyze and optimize conditions at the Rheineaue in terms of noise. For example, during the project Jahn learned that additional loudspeakers superimposing certain frequencies could even reduce the volume overall, according to Hans Jürgen Hartmann, a city official.

(Original text: Leif Kubik, Translation: ck)