Qatar: Artificial Intelligence Monitors the World Cup Stadiums

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Identify an angry fan, anticipate a crowd movement, or quickly unlock an exit door, the Aspire control center monitors all World Cup stadiums. It is connected to hi-tech security cameras equipped with facial recognition.


Twenty thousand cameras filming every corner of the 8 stadiums of the World Cup in Qatar. In a World hypersecureartificial intelligence plays a major role in surveillance.


Special cameras that react to facial expressions. No World Cup has benefited from such advanced technology. A real Big Brother.
85 operators work in the Aspire Security Center near Khalifa Stadium [Anne Levasseur – AFP]“What you see here is a new standard, a new trend in stadium operation. This is Qatar’s contribution to the world of sport. What you see here is the future,” Niyas announced last March. Abdulrahiman, Technical Director of the Aspire Command and Control Center.


Facial recognition


The lens of hi-tech cameras can zoom in on the faces of all spectators seated in the stadium. While maintaining very high image quality. A technology that allows artificial intelligence to analyze fan reactions.


The computer points in real-time the angry supporters, inside the stadium, as well as outside. According to the organizers, it only takes a few minutes for the computer to find a lost child crying in the crowd.


Artificial intelligence also makes it possible to identify and anticipate crowd movements. “You can broadcast content on the screens in the corridors for any scenario you want to communicate with the fans about”, in a stadium or in several at the same time, affirms Niyas Abdulrahiman.


“It is possible to know how many people are in a place at a given time and how many subways and buses are nearby. There are also virtual models of each enclosure in order to find the best way to access a room or specific equipment”.


Control tower connected


Everything happens in a huge control center located near the Khalifa International Stadium. According to a report by Telegramthere are 85 operators to permanently take turns in front of the screens.


20,000 cameras in 8 stadiums are linked directly to facial recognition technology. [AFP]They are the ones who analyze the recommendations of artificial intelligence to deploy the teams in the field. But many actions can be done remotely. Open or close doors, but also adjust the temperature of the stadium.


Here, the strategy is to anticipate problems. Everything is done to make movements more fluid and to ward off disruptive elements. Video images are retained for a maximum of 120 days.


But does it work? We will have to observe that carefully during this World Cup. For now, by the very admission of the organizers, some artificial intelligence programs are not as efficient as desired.


The computer struggles to tell the difference between a fan angry about a football action and a fan ready to fight. Makeup is also problematic for the cameras. The flags painted on the face disturb the algorithms.