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FC Barcelona is working on a completely innovative project that applies the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence to create an intelligent system that will analyse and predict the movement of people that occur inside and outside the club facilities (Camp Nou, Palau Blaugrana, Johan Cruyff Stadium, Barça Campus, Museum and Barça Store, etc.). It will provide information that will allow real-time decisions to optimally manage areas of club and Espai Barça activity. The Catalan club will develop this project in collaboration with the Barcelona Supercomputing Center - National Supercomputing Center (BSC-NSC) -, one of the most important supercomputing centers in Europe.
This innovative system will ensure that the member enjoys their experience to the fullest when they visit the club facilities so that their data will have a direct impact in areas such as security management, both before and during the construction process of the Barça Space; the planning and management of the operations or the return of activities for exploitation of the facilities, since it will provide valuable information for the location of points of sale and stands that improve the business and the experience of the visitors both on match days and when there's no match. It should be remembered that about four million people visit the Barça facilities during the season, both to attend the games and to visit the Camp Nou Experience, the Museum and the Barça Store.
Programme 'Horizon 2020' of the European Union
FC Barcelona and the BSC will be able to develop this initiative thanks to the fact that they have become part of a project funded by the European Commission called IoTwins, based on innovation in information and communication technologies, which the club has promoted through Barça Innovation Hub. This project is part of the 'Horizon 2020' program, the most important in the field of innovation and research in the European Union.
The club and the BSC joined IoTwins as a result of the presentation of a project for which 172 proposals from all over Europe also attended. The project was valued very positively by the experts of the European Commission, and Barça and the BSC became part of a group of 23 entities that will develop the IoTwins project over the next three years. The European Commission invests more than 16 million euros in this programme, of which 876,000 will go to FC Barcelona.
In order to create this system, Barça will work together with the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), one of the most important supercomputing centers in Europe, and which has the MareNostrum 4, the most powerful supercomputer in Spain and one of the most powerful in the Old Continent. It's being used for, among other projects, to decipher the human genome, to create large engineering projects and to design new medicines.
The club brings to this project the facilities, data capture technology and business logic. And the BSC provides all the necessary mathematical knowledge to create and apply the MareNostrum 4 system and supercomputer. The project is currently in the phase of data collection and development of the digital twin and will be developed over the next 36 months, but they can begin performing the first tests in mid 2021.
The project aims to track the movements of people who pass through the facilities, especially the Camp Nou, and the Espai Barça, both on match and non-match days. The intelligent system will monitor the facilities, collecting sensor data distributed across the terrain, and create a computer simulation that will reproduce the usual movements of the public. This simulation will serve to see what would be the result of the different responses that the club could give to certain situations, be they expected changes or incidents that are occurring in real time.
The results of these simulations will allow FC Barcelona to decide with a high level of relevant information what alternative response it sets in motion. To obtain these results, different leading technologies will be combined, such as artificial intelligence, internet of things, edge computing and supercomputing.
Thus, once this system is created and implemented, the club facilities will be operated based on the data and decisions that may be made in the various fields. For example, during the remodelling process of the Camp Nou, the club will know how to reorder the flow of people in the stadium in the best way. In the future it will help to choose the best place to locate the ticket offices, restaurants or accesses of the Barça Megastore. It will also allow establishing better security protocols and knowing the real value of advertising assets. And you can predict dynamics and give immediate solutions to problems that may arise.
The objective of the European Commission with this great project is that innovative methodologies, such as this one, that can be validated successfully, be transferred to the market and can be useful in the day-to-day life of large, medium and small companies. That is, to make high technology accessible to the general population.
Barça, once again, is confirmed as a great laboratory for innovation at the European level. Participation in all major football competitions and the largest stadium in Europe, with a large number of visitors, makes it perfect to test new systems that optimise its management. It can be an asset for the development of the Barça Innovation Hub, the platform that brings together all the research, innovation and training projects of the club.
The IoTwins project will be announced globally on Thursday 14, in the framework of the first day of the Barça Sports Technology Symposium organised by the Barça Innovation Hub, during the Smart Venues panel dedicated to the high-performance technology used in sports venues and in which Fernando Cucchietti, responsible for the Data Analytics and Visualisation group of the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) will take part.
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