London and Dublin Use Wi-Fi to Enforce Social Distancing and Detect Crowds
When public health is on the line, the same technologies that bring us together can also be used to keep us safely apart. Wi-Fi networks are proving to be a valuable tool for monitoring and enforcing social distancing measures as city leaders balance safety with essential movement.
To facilitate knowledge sharing — specifically about COVID-19 — between city leaders, Dr. David S. Ricketts, Innovation Fellow at Harvard TECH, hosts a weekly Zoom call to discuss the challenges cities are facing and how they are being addressed.
This week we heard from Lorcan Burke, Chief Commercial Officer for Digital Strategy at Taoglas who shared valuable insights into how the CROWD Insights platform is helping cities to keep their citizens safe during the coronavirus emergency.
Teaching Old Technology New Tricks
The Taoglas CROWD Insights solution utilizes existing Wi-Fi infrastructure to measure, monitor, predict, alert, and notify municipalities of potential mass gatherings in physical venues and outdoor locations.
City leaders can set limits and get real-time alerts when these crowd limits have been reached or exceeded, allowing the deployment of scarce public resources more efficiently. The technology is software that can be implemented on any WiFi network in minutes.
London: Safe Shopping
British supermarket chain Tesco is working alongside local police and authorities in London to prevent overcrowding in its stores.
Using the Taoglas CROWD Insights solution, city users can set zones around high-risk areas such as queues outside supermarkets, then set how many people are allowed inside each zone according to local social distancing rules. These rules can then be adjusted as measures are relaxed or increased. Should the predetermined crowd threshold be breached, an email or SMS can be set to the city operatives or police force.
This is a prime example of the ‘Trend, Track, De-densify’ cycle as highlighted by data processing firm Mobi in our recent webinar.
Dublin: Pier Pressure
Another use case for the Taoglas CROWD Insights solution was detailed in the city of Dublin, where you’ll find Dun Laoghaire Pier — a popular walking spot among its residents.
The pier is normally full of people on the weekends but social distancing measures required local authorities to implement crowd control. Using the pier’s existing WiFi network, local authorities are measuring the amount of visitors reacting accordingly.
This data is allowing Dublin leaders to either send police to de-densify the crowd or implement stricter measures. As a result, traffic on the pier has decreased significantly throughout the month of March 2020.
Even as Dublin begins to reopen, this technology will be used to ensure large crowds do not gather until such time as it has been deemed safe.
Efficient, Agile Solutions for Social Distancing
In times of emergency when the latest information changes daily, city leaders must remain agile in their approach to monitoring and enforcing public safety. Using existing technology infrastructure, such as Wi-Fi helps to remove any guesswork that would otherwise cost unnecessary resources and time.
The Taoglas CROWD Insights solution is a very quick technology to deploy and is also useful for observing how residents resume activities once social distancing restrictions are reduced or lifted. Cities can implement social distancing and ensure it is being adhered to without putting security and enforcement everywhere. This is especially useful for gathering hotspots such as parks, beaches, and piers, where many WiFi networks already exist.
For more information contact Lorcan Burke, Chief Commercial Officer for Digital Strategy, Taoglas- firstname.lastname@example.org
How to Participate in the City Leader COVID-19 Discussion:
If you are a city leader, you can join the discussion by signing up for the forum here.
This will give you access to the:
- Online Forum
- City Leaders WhatsApp
- Weekly Covid19 Zoom Call
Topics we’ve discussed so far include:
1.Online tools for Public Engagement
2. Homelessness / Elderly
3. Connectivity, Wifi, and Access to Computers in Community
4. International Cooperation
5. Self-reporting, Records of self-isolation and Use of Data
6. Search for Volunteers
7. Supports for Businesses
8. Tools for Signing Docs
9. Info on Ventilators and other PPE
10. How to do department by department lockdown
11.Guidelines for Protection in a Makerspace
12.Incentive-Based Pay for City Staff
13. Strategies for city recover post-pandemic
14. Contact Tracing