Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) as a host city for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 staged a Fanzone in downtown Auckland for the duration of the tournament across February and March 2015. One of the key features of the Fanzone was to offer live match screenings from both host nations (Australia and New Zealand) which due to time differences resulted in the Fanzone routinely operating for 12-14 hours at a time. Due to these long operating hours it became apparent that determining the total number of visitors attending the Fanzone each day was going to be problematic due to the varying dwell times and attendees potentially leaving and returning to the site.
To overcome this a technological approach was taken rather than traditional physical crowd counting. The system that was adopted worked off WIFI and Bluetooth signals from portable devices carried by Fanzone attendees. Once the system was calibrated it was possible to determine not only unique visitation (i.e. each unique signal was only counted once on a particular day) but also was able to tell us how long each visitor remained at the Fanzone and also if they visited more than once.
The system was also able to be set up to ignore passing foot traffic and only recorded a unique visit once the device had been in the Fanzone for more than 5 minutes – meaning people walking through or around the Fanzone were not recorded as Fanzone attendees. The system also allowed for real time data via a website which enabled crowd numbers to be monitored remotely which formed part of our risk management process. The system proved to be a worthwhile investment as it provided factual and real time data that would have otherwise not been obtained using more traditional crowd counting techniques.