The O2 Counts On You

For The O2 arena in London, not just any ol’ manual people-counting system would do to keep track of the 20,000 concertgoers passing through its doors. Shortly after the AEG Europe-owned and operated venue opened in June, Ipsotek’s video analytics software was installed to monitor the influx of patrons.

Tim Rawlins, The O2’s operations director, told Pollstar that "due to the variety of things to do at The O2 … we needed an organization with a strong reputation for accurate counting under difficult circumstances through multiple doors. For this reason Ipsotek was our first choice for the people counting system."

Rawlins told the main reasons for wanting to know how many people are within The O2 concern health, safety and staffing levels and the venue also needed to measure footfall for their tenants.

While a manual counting system could be inaccurate and time consuming, Rawlins explained "the Ipsotek software system is installed on dedicated servers (rather than on cameras), which take the video feed from selected cameras and can

be expanded to whatever size is required by adding additional servers."

The system monitors the seven main doors to The O2 and VIP corridor and Rawlins said they’re looking to expand the system to monitor specific areas within Entertainment Avenue.

A counting system using people mass wasn’t acceptable because the system needed to be able to count clusters of people who might walk three or more to a group through the same doorway, according to

"One of the unique selling points of the Ipsotek technology is its ability to deal with crowded scenes," Ipsotek CTO Boghos Boghossian told Pollstar. "Unlike many competitors, Ipsotek’s video analytics solution was initially targeted toward busy transport networks where sophisticated image analysis techniques were applied to deal with complex and cluttered scenes."

Rawlins said that another advantage to the system is that it provides constantly updated information in a variety of formats.

"From the Operations Control Room we can monitor the numbers under the tent, watch for trends to assist in planning staffing, reassure our tenants of footfall and be alerted by e-mail as the visitor numbers hit preset levels. All this contributes to the safe, secure, successful and welcoming environment that is The O2 today."