Evolv Security Screening Tech Sees Success Among Sports Venues

Before joining IA weapons detection company Evolv, John Baier spent 15 years running the sales and ticketing departments at Barclays Center and Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment, the parent company of the Nets and Liberty. It saw venues go cashless and abandon paper tickets for smartphones, but the process of securing fans entering arenas via metal detectors seemed like a stuck in time aspect.

“I would say the one area that for a moment you just assumed would never evolve in quotes is safety,” said Baier, who became Evolv’s vice president of sports. last November. “It was just a necessary evil that everyone was dealing with. When you went to a game, it was an assumed evil that you were going to wait in that line. You knew when you walked in, unless you arrived very early, you were waiting in this line.

How Evolv’s Security Technology Works

Evolv’s computer vision sensors are trained to detect threats, such as bombs or guns, by analyzing the shapes, sizes and density of objects as fans walk through its security system. Fans are advised to keep items in their pockets, such as phones, keys, wallets, etc., as they generally walk through Evolv without breaking stride or forming a big line.

NFL stadiums using Evolv this season include:

  • SoFi Stadium (Los Angeles Rams and Chargers)
  • Nissan Stadium (Tennessee Titans)
  • FirstEnergy Stadium (Cleveland Browns)
  • Gillette Stadium (New England Patriots)
  • Bank of America Stadium (Carolina Panthers)
  • Acrisure Stadium (Pittsburgh Steelers)
  • Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta Falcons)

The New York Mets, San Francisco Giants, and Chicago Cubs are among the MLB teams that use Evolv at their venues, as well as the Columbus Crew in MLS.

Just one Evolve The two-way unit can scan up to 3,500 walking people per hour, a rate that 10 traditional metal detectors at sports stadiums would typically be required to match, according to Baier. Evolv’s research shows that about 90 out of 100 fans walk through its systems without triggering an alert for additional security screening. Teams can change settings on Evolv’s machines through company software, usually from an iPad, to increase or decrease Evolv’s AI sensitivity levels to identify something like potentially dangerous.

“We like to assume that the majority of people go to these games and that these sites aren’t looking to cause harm or contain harmful items,” Baier said. “The sensors that are in the machine [Evolv] are not only looking for metal, they are looking for shapes, sizes, densities, and really determining, is it a potential threat or not? “, he adds.

“For the 5-10% of people who trigger the system, a picture is then taken of that person and the person performing the secondary screen can see that there is a highlighted box around the left pocket or right ankle. of that person, so that’s also a very specific area. It makes the secondary process a lot easier for the staff, it’s not about sweeping your whole body,” says Baier. “We’re eliminating the process of taking decision of the human element, and the machine tells them there is something you need to check.”

Improve the fan experience

SportTechie sent a follow-up email to Evolv, which reported more than $9 million in revenue in the second quarter of 2022 with a net loss of $25.7 million, Ask the company if they pay money to teams as part of their stadium partnerships. “For some customers, the partnership includes marketing initiatives,” Evolv responded in a statement.

“As well as being safer, which is our number one priority, Evolv Express is also a better experience for the fans,” Baier told SportTechie. “If fans have a better experience they are likely to attend more games, if they are in the arena or stadium earlier are they more likely to buy more food and drink or buy more retail products and merchandise.”

Evolv uses sensors, AI and cloud computing to detect security threats.

Evolv went public on Nasdaq last year. Bill Gates, Peyton Manning, Andre Agassi, Joe Torre and Theo Epstein are among the company’s investors. Mercedes Benz-Stadium, home of the Falcons and Atlanta United FC, enters its second NFL season with Evolv fully installed. The stadium is sprawling with 15 Evolv units bolted into the ground near its entrance gates – a major reduction from the 140 traditional magnetometer metal detectors previously used per game at Mercedes Benz Stadium, according to the vice president of security from its parent company AMB Sports + Entertainment. Joe Coomer. The Falcons first tested two Evolv units for fan entry during games in the 2020 NFL season.

“A Garrett or the CEIA depending on the setting could be 300 to 400 [people] an hour,” Coomer says, referring to two brands of metal detectors. “While the Evolv units, we can run them up to 3,500 people per hour, so the throughput is so much higher. Recognizing how many pass magnetometers we’ve been able to replace with a single Evolv unit and the amount of he space it has saved us is probably the greatest achievement.

Fan surveys conducted by AMB Sports in 2020 revealed that many fans did not want Mercedes Benz stadium staff to touch their items amid the Covid-19 pandemic. “So we had this deal – the fans said don’t touch my stuff and I had this team that said I didn’t want to touch anything. And the solution to that was Evolv,” Coomer explains.

Mercedes Benz-Stadium is entering its second NFL season with Evolv.

Mercedes Benz-Stadium is entering its second NFL season with Evolv.

Coomer has led security for the Falcons and Atlanta United since 2015, and he is one of eight NFL team representatives to serve on the league’s stadium safety and fan conduct committee. Prior to Evolv, approximately 22% of fans passing through Mercedes Benz Stadium triggered alerts at the entrance gates with the old metal detectors. Now only around 6-8% of stadium fans trigger Evolv’s alerts for further screening.

“[Evolv’s] allowed us to really focus on real alerts versus nuisance alarms, where many traditional metal detectors wore steel-toed boots, dazzling jeans; sometimes it’s the buckle of the belt,” says Coomer.

The bag Politics at Mercedes Benz Stadium limits the size of non-transparent bags to 4.5″ x 6.5″, and all larger bags must be transparent and no larger than 12″ x 6″ x 12″ inches. Evolv sends updates Software updates to its system about once a quarter, and umbrellas are something the machine’s AI has learned to identify better at Mercedes Benz.

“The metal cylinder on the umbrella, Evolv was like, it’s a gun barrel. And we were like, Yeah, I think it’s something that equates to that,” Coomer says. us that this is not the case? I think Evolv has done a good job of improving the identification processes, malleability and [knowing] what kind of frequency that metal was at. Just like stepper magnetometers, you can delimit parameters. You can do the Secret Service setting where not a single piece of metal goes through, you can set it to a point where it searches for large metal objects, larger guns versus smaller guns. What’s great about Evolv is that we can adjust these settings.

Evolv teams up with other frictionless stadium technologies

Mercedes Benz Stadium, as well as Mets, Browns and Crew stadiums, are all equipped with opt-in facial recognition ticketing from Evolv and Wicket at select entrance gates.

“Stadiums with our two technologies can sort of overlap them,” says Baier. “It’s more of a process integration. But we work very well together. It’s sort of the future of this input experience.

Prior to Evolv, approximately 22% of fans passing through Mercedes Benz Stadium triggered alerts at the entrance gates with the old metal detectors. Now only around 6-8% of stadium fans trigger Evolv’s alerts for further screening.

Evolv’s entry experience was so smooth that some pocket-stuffed fans at Mercedes Benz Stadium were left baffled. The Falcons had to add signage and messages to the stadium telling fans not to remove items such as phones, keys and wallets from their pockets.

“We were getting comments from the fans, and they’re like, I wasn’t even searched when I walked into the stadium. And we’re like, actually, you did it and you didn’t even know it,” says Coomer “I think the behavior is going to change over time, kind of like after 9/11 there’s been a lot of, okay, everybody getting patted down, or getting punched or going through the magnetometer of passing through the airport. And I think we’re going through this next evolution of conditioning now.

“It’s almost like the sci-fi movies of the past come true, where we ask you to keep all these things on you and we’re actually warned if there’s a real threat to that person,” Coomer adds. . .

The Evolv system can scan up to 4,000 people per hour and does not require those initially scanned to remove items such as keys, wallets or backpacks during screening.

The Evolv system can scan up to 4,000 people per hour and does not require those initially scanned to remove items such as keys, wallets or backpacks during screening.

Coomer thinks that “in the next five years it would be strange not to see Evolv” at a typical sporting event. The company has also installed its security system at various museums, shopping malls, theme parks and schools in Atlanta and Charlotte.

“What we really want sports to be a catalyst for as well is if you’re the superintendent of a school district, or if you work in a hospital or in a large office building,” Baier said. “And you go to one of the places where we are and you go through our system, and say you know what might work for my school, or might work for the hospital that I work in.”

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