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EventQueue (EQ): big data for civic engagement

Event queue

The $800B events industry is antiquated. Huge gaps exist between cities and events. EQ is a mobile platform that streamlines traffic, navigation, crowd control, and security in real time around crowded environments while collecting critical data and analytics. Vasta will soon unveil this next-generation suite of event and venue planning services and digital simulation platform. The EQ Platform was made for cities of any size; public safety; citizens/visitors; fans/non-fans; and for organizers.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

Events and their respective venues take on their own representation and elements of a city. They come with a-need-for-navigation, entrances, exits, corridors, parking lots or structures, accessible areas, non-accessible areas, ADA compliant areas, wayfinding, directional signage, payment methods/kiosks, points of interest, security checks, and more. Event planners, organizers, city officials, participants, and fans are no strangers to the challenges and complexities that accompany hosting and attending major events, and even small events. Weather related problems, public safety concerns, navigating traffic, searching for parking, waiting in long lines, disrupting neighborhoods, and inconveniencing the surrounding community are just a few of the symptoms that surface from the problem that Vasta has set out to solve with the EQ Platform. Successful events are not just about getting attendees in and out efficiently, but also about causing minimum disruption to existing traffic and infrastructure conditions, changing conditions, and disruptions. This is an opportunity to bring the community together around plans and preparations of unique experiences and be able to share on-going constructive data results for future use.

EQ addresses all the pain points associated with movements and merges the physical and digital environments. By streamlining traffic, navigation, parking, crowd control, way finding, and security, in real-time, pedestrians, drivers, and even driver-less vehicles get the benefit of a unified data center in the palm of their hand or embedded in their dashboard. Not only does it solve challenges, but it also entrenches Points of Interest (POI’s), historical monuments/sites, public buildings/spaces, parks/recreation, temporary poi’s or facilities, text messaging, images, multimedia content, and any important Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping details that the city considers necessary and/or relevant. EQ and the Vasta strategy are a design for flexible Smart Cities for a sustainable future. Smart Cities relying on historical data is helpful, but Smart Cities that have a daily flexible real-time plan and supporting technology is more than helpful, it’s critical.

Trusted for over 25 years worldwide by event stakeholders for major venue and event planning, Vasta & Associates, Inc. (VAI) will soon unveil, EventQueue (EQ), this next-generation suite of event and venue planning services and digital simulation platform. The 3-part platform encodes decades of human expertise and experience and leverages new technologies including Artificial Intelligence (AI), Expert Systems, Machine Learning (ML), Big Data, Predictive & Prescriptive Analytics, Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR), Data Visualization, and Full Simulation. Part 1 is the simulation model with AI; Part 2 is the features and functions for fans, residents, and visitors; and Part 3 is the back-end functions for organizers, officials, and public safety.
Part 3 also creates digital evacuation plans in real time.

We have the background, vision, and the passion to deliver this exciting transformational project. This project incorporates 25 years of professional experience and transforms our industry into a natural and innovative path of digital evolution. Our expertise in operations and transportation on major events has prepared us for this movement. We have been successfully solving similar challenges across global cities and events for many years without the digital solutions that we are now developing. These events include 7-Olympic Games, 6-Super Bowls, 3-FIFA World Cups, 3-Presidential Inaugurations, 4-Presidential Nominating Conventions, the G7 and NATO Summits, 5-Formula 1 Grand Prix, 25-NBA or MLB All-Star Games, 20-US Conference of Mayors Conventions, and hundreds of other world class high-profile events.

We are uniquely qualified for this project based on our overall experience and vision; our broad range of clientele; our events across global cities; our familiarity of government work on projects and events; and our close interaction with America’s Mayors and the work that we do through the US Conference of Mayors over the last 20 years.

This technology and Smart City strategy plan ultimately empower the people and officials with important and relevant data that blends the physical and digital environments of complex cities. The EQ Platform is a new tool for citizens, visitors, public safety, planners, and officials that takes the best of a city's top-down IoT resources and facilitates it with a customized bottom-up platform with applications, tools, and services for the interests and safety of every citizen.

Innovation Description

What Makes Your Project Innovative?

Vasta is building something unique, colossal, and scalable. Something that you just can’t buy and most can’t imagine. As planners and engineers, Vasta has a unique perspective from 25 years of experience on hundreds of major events, numerous data sets and sources, new technologies, and a strategy to uncover a massive open data portal, advance Smart Cities, improve citizen experience, and reinvent an industry, or two. Data from events is abundant, frequent, powerful, and important to social impact. EQ extraordinarily pulls and pushes data in a collected/controlled/designed environment as well as in a real time and changing environment for multiple stakeholders.

Cities are missing out on huge data opportunities. They are not taking advantage of endless data opportunities that can be collected from organized mass gatherings throughout their communities, nor are they leveraging the value delivered by every event. Vasta has created a plan and platform to deliver the solutions.

What is the current status of your innovation?

We have achieved several pilots that have validated some of our features and functions of the technology from 2016 to 2018. We are targeting clients in several different industries and markets.

Further, this pilot has sparked additional work and realized new needs for customers. Now, we are also developing simulation modeling with AI. We have several clients that we are currently developing scope of work, pricing, and other details with.

The technology is 60% built for any potential client. The remaining 40% is based on customization, client needs and desires, infrastructure/hardware needs and wants, GIS and CAD input, and other necessary requirements.

Innovation Development

Collaborations & Partnerships

We are currently working on several collaborations and partnerships with Fortune 500 companies and have Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA's) in place with them. In addition to answering Request For Proposals from cities and foundations we have a interested customers in using our products.

Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries

Engage crowds/traffic flow sooner/longer than ever before, contributing to a safer, more efficient, and better event(s) experience.
New resource for fans/attendees, organizers, and municipalities.
Empowers citizens/fans to make decisions that are unique to their own schedule/pathway and desires.
Social Side – Fan/citizen experience, new revenue streams, justify ticket prices, and fill seats.
Proprietary Side – Efficiency, security, command & control, mission critical/community relations.

Innovation Reflections

Results, Outcomes & Impacts

We performed pilot programs at the City of Louisville "Hike, Bike, and Paddle" events, and also at the City of Louisville "Light Up Louisville" events. Typically the city receives thousands of people into a congested area within a short period of time. We measured this to be a 3 to 5 hour window of ingress operations. The egress, or outbound operations typically take 2 hours. During our pilot programs we observed changes that we created in real time where routes and parking facilities were targeted from long queues and crowded gates. We maximized space and flow in real time and were able to influence over 500 users to lesser congested routes and parking facilities. Our analytics and data was captured in several ways including through open source resources, and through MS Azure, and Google Analytics. The technology assisted us in getting the mass egress operations completed in under 80 minutes resulting in raising efficiency by 33% . Adjustments could have easily achieved to 50%.

Challenges and Failures

Vasta had a vision and challenge from the beginning while working over the Formula 1 Grand Prix (Austin USA) in a helicopter with local law enforcement. From that perspective it was easy to see how maximizing space and flow with technology in real time could solve traffic jams, parking issues, crowd flow jams, and other inefficiencies. Now we can take the knowledge of expert planners and transfer that into real time tech to thousands of people on the ground. Ultimately, smarter cities are the sum of smarter venues.

We've also been challenged on how to build. We tested and validated several products on pilot programs with the City of Louisville, KY in 2016 and 2017, and few other private events in Florida and Illinois in 2017 and 2018. We believe it’s best to have a solid design first while working in collaborative efforts and we've learned that tech development of the waterfall model works well for requirements and design, and the agile development for build, test, and hyper-care.

Conditions for Success

Private/public partnerships and city resources are important to the ultimate success of our smart venues and smart cities. The evolving software elements for any customer require customizing and tweaking of certain features and functions. Vasta has identified open source, assets, hardware, and systems that works with the software/platform and the business strategies. There will be certain 3rd party vendors that Vasta has established and/or validated hardware resources from that will complement the strategy and software. Financial resources, strategic partners, and forward thinking clients will all be critical to the conditions of our success.

Replication

Replication and scaling is the ultimate, and sustainable goal of our global innovation and Software/Platform as a Service (SaaS/PaaS) business model. Vasta has experience in many of the industries that they will be targeting for this new venture. The industries include cities (big and small); sports & entertainment venues and events; conventions, universities, shopping malls, and festivals. These industries all have departments or heads of divisions who are responsible for the areas that EQ falls into. Such departments include transportation; public safety; events; innovation or emerging technologies; and Geographic Information Services (GIS) or mapping divisions. Vasta will also target production companies, tech companies, engineering firms, and others that are involved with cities and events. For targets that have their own platform or applications in place the EQ technology will be built and made available in the form of Widgets, API’s, and SDK's for compatibility.

Lessons Learned

We have learned:
1. That there are many stakeholders/customers with different interests to appeal to; all of them must be addressed.
2. The the city needs to be 100% behind the innovation and campaign in order to achieve the best results.
3. Getting product/features out there for use is important in order to get vital customer feedback, make tweaks, enhance products/features, and modify or fine tune.
4. If city departments were stretched, and could not deliver in timely manner, we had to quickly find some further support or risk critical path methods, deadlines, deliverables, and/or features.

Anything Else?

Imagine the mass data that a city can collect from sports/entertainment events, from meetings/conventions, and from all other types of organized crowd gathering events across a community. Envision all the movements that occur and the details that are necessary around venues for vehicles/pedestrians; in the preparation plans from organizers to city and venue officials; and in the duties from ushers to vendors, and engineers to law enforcement. By leveraging 25 years of expertise in logistics and operations at major events Vasta can now deliver relevant mass data from event after event for positive social impact while making cities smarter and safer.

This opportunity will bring a community together around plans/preparations of unique experiences and be able to share on-going constructive data results for future use. Vasta will deliver a more cohesive city-wide approach to solving problems, break down silos, become more efficient/transparent, create economies of scale, and benefit all.

Project Pitch

Supporting Videos

Year: 2016
Level of Government: Local government

Status:

  • Identifying or Discovering Problems or Opportunities - learning where and how an innovative response is needed
  • Generating Ideas or Designing Solutions - finding and filtering ideas to respond to the problem or opportunity
  • Developing Proposals - turning ideas into business cases that can be assessed and acted on
  • Implementation - making the innovation happen
  • Evaluation - understanding whether the innovative initiative has delivered what was needed
  • Diffusing Lessons - using what was learnt to inform other projects and understanding how the innovation can be applied in other ways

Innovation provided by:

Media:

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Date Published:

17 November 2021

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