iBeacons: How they are assisting Crowd Resilience.
Following the publishing of the themed competition document “Improving Crowd Resilience” by the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA), in the wake of the terrorist incidents at Manchester Arena, Westminster and London Bridge, K Sharp submitted a proposal to combine the novel use of Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) technology, expert understanding of crowd behaviour and an understanding of the Counter Terrorism and security landscape. As part of our team, we engaged with UK DRIC as Gloucester was an ideal size location to demonstrate the capability that we were proposing, and the ability for UK DRIC to showcase how it could be used for time critical research that involved an exploitation of retail capability.
The proposal for the CRiB project was to leverage existing iBeacon technology, which is being installed in City Centres, sports stadia and shopping centres worldwide, primarily for proximity marketing purposes, to increase the resilience of crowds. Bringing together technology, psychology, crowd behaviour, marketing and security, the CRiB project aimed to demonstrate that an iBeacon network as part of a wider system (comprising a smartphone application for use by the general public, and a cloud server interface for operators) could be developed to adaptively broadcast threat identification information to the crowd.
The innovation in the CRiB project is to utilise these same technologies being adopted by city centres and venues across the UK to allow the crowd to interact with a network of iBeacons via a smartphone application (app) to:
· access contextual threat information,
· contribute to the common operating picture (informing threat information) and
· receive alerts directly to their smartphone device when in the immediate vicinity of a reported terrorist incident.
This approach uses existing technology investment as a platform and exploitation route for the innovation. By widening the application of iBeacons, from proximity marketing to aiding security forces by improving security awareness and therefore crowd resilience to potential threats, this proposal represents value for money for stakeholders and investors.
To see how CRiB works in a real environment, take 5 minutes to watch this video :