Wembley Stadium requires no introduction. It is a world class venue that attracts some of the biggest events in sport, music and entertainment and more than two million visitors per year. Wembley is the home of the England national football team and was the venue of the the men’s and women’s football finals of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

“From a health and safety perspective, how do you know, at a point in time, how many people attending a concert are on your pitch (playing field); especially when they can freely flow from one area to another? This was the challenge which faced the Wembley team in May 2010. The national stadium was keen to allow concert goers to move freely between the pitch and the seating areas, at the same time ensuring adherence to the Safety Certificate, which links the maximum number of people allowed on the pitch to the time it would take to evacuate in an emergency.

The IT team explored various automated technologies before selecting a Brickstream video analytics solution from Nottingham-based Axiomatic Technology Ltd.

Axiomatic designed a turnkey solution for Wembley. Video appliances were mounted overhead to anonymously track movement across a pre-configured grid. The devices have the advantage of being able to track people in both directions and can be fine-tuned to register counts only when predefined conditions are met.

Axiomatic and their technology provider, Brickstream, collaborated with the Wembley team to get the IT network prepared, the cameras discreetly installed, and the real-time display delivered for use by Event Control. Following a successful pilot where the Brickstream data was validated against actual video footage and manual counts, Axiomatic rolled out the solution to cover all 36 vomitories (tunnel entrances) used by concertgoers to gain access to and from the pitch.

From the beginning, the analytics technology has performed flawlessly, providing an accuracy rate of over 95%. Using the flow rate information in conjunction Wembley’s real-time turnstile entry figures, it is now possible to predict how long it takes to fill the pitch, as well as the current location of concertgoers (in terms of those outside the stadium, those on the concourse inside, and the actual occupancy on the pitch). This helps provides the critical insights necessary to ensure compliance with the Safety Certificate and other legal requirements.

“This is an invaluable and unique system which has enabled decisions about crowd management to be based on real-time factual information rather than observation and theory,” says Nick Woodhouse, Head of Wembley Stadium Health & Safety Compliance. “Some of the events we are staging this year would be extremely difficult to manage without this technology.”