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RFID Brings Security, Location Awareness to First European Games

The athletic event's security provider, Main Development, used a Mojix UHF RFID solution to track where attendees went within three venues, and to ensure that unauthorized people didn't enter VIP areas.
By Claire Swedberg

"Safeguarding the VIP area [in the three venues] was the primary concern," Askari says. Another top concern was to safeguard athletes and general attendees, while he adds that surveillance tracking—knowing where a person of interest was last seen within the venues—was an important feature for Main Development.

Mojix provided its Secure and Safe Event Experience solution, which is based on its ViZix IOT platform, according to Scot Stelter, Mojix's senior director of product marketing. The RFID company recommended the integration of RFID data with the video-management system, Askari says, so that the location of a specific RFID tag ID could be linked to video surveillance of that same spot. Main Development had initially intended to offer the two systems independently, but was convinced that the integration would be a good idea.

A pair of Mojix antennas were mounted opposite each other above this concession stand.
Those buying tickets to the event had two options: buy the ticket online and receive it in the mail, or purchase and print the ticket onsite. Kiosks were set up for attendees to use when they arrived. Each guest's passport or government ID was first scanned at a kiosk, and identification information was then extracted from it via optical character recognition. The kiosk also took the visitor's photo, which was stored in the software and linked to the unique ID number encoded to the ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tag embedded in the paper ticket. Additionally, the tag ID was linked to the passport-based data, as well as access authorization, such as to VIP areas, in the Secure and Safe Event Experience software on Main Development's database. To protect privacy, Stelter notes, only the unique ID number on the ticket was tracked, while the individual's name was accessible only to a very few authorized security staff members.

The eNodes sent transmissions that acted as exciters for the passive tags (at a range of up to 30 feet), each of which responded by transmitting its own unique ID. That transmission was captured by the STAR receivers. According to Stelter, these devices are, on average, 4,000 times more sensitive than the next most sensitive reader and 6,000 to 50,000 times more sensitive than all other standard UHF RFID readers, enabling them to have a long read range. A total of 1,400 STAR receiver antennas were installed at strategic locations throughout the three venues, including at the venues' entrances and in front of concession stands. Stelter did not provide the total number of receivers or eNodes installed.

Upon reaching the venue entrance, a visitor handed his or her ticket to a staff member there, who looked at the ticket and told the attendee where his or her seat was located. While that ticket was being examined by a European Games staff member, it was also being read by the STAR receiver, which forwarded the ID to the software, where that individual's authorized area was compared with that person's actual location. In the event of a discrepancy, security personnel would view an alert in the software that also displayed the guest's photo. They could then view camera footage of the area, proceed to that location (identified on a map of the venue) if they deemed it necessary, and talk to that individual.

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