Motorola and Versatile Systems Deliver Safety to San Diego Charger's Fans

Qualcomm StadiumThe San Diego Chargers implement the latest technological offspring from the Versatile Systems Inc. and Motorola partnership, improving the safety of their fans. The SyncSeer(TM) Venue Management Solution running on Motorola CA50 VoIP-enabled wireless barcode scanners helps enforce the NFL's Code of Conduct.

Over two years ago, the National Football League (NFL) instituted a Fan Code of Conduct, stating that:

"The in-stadium experience is critically important to the NFL, our clubs and our fans and it will be a major focus this season," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "We are committed to improving the fan experience in every way we can -- from the time fans arrive in the parking lot to when they depart the stadium. We want everyone to be able to come to our stadiums and enjoy the entire day."

Although aimed at fans, the burden of enforcing the Code of Conduct falls to the team, and the NFL demands detailed reports outlining what kinds of instances occurred during the game and how quickly they were resolved. The San Diego Charger's Qualcomm Stadium has a seating capacity of over 70, 000, 52 concession stands, 94 restrooms, 16 entrance gates, 53 ticket windows and much more packed into an expansive 166 acre site—a lot can go wrong.

Fans and staff in the stadium are overseen by a command center or 'eye in the sky'. Each instance is reported to the command center and the appropriate staff member is deployed to resolve it. Before the implementation of the SyncSeer Venue Management Solution, this communication occurred via radio or even less accurately, by an usher running to a supervisor. Not a bad solution in the event of a spilled beer, but if you're having a heart attack, not the preferred option.

Versatile Systems & MotorolaEnter the The SyncSeer System. The SyncSeer(TM) Intelligent Event Processing(TM) engine processes messages sent from Motorola CA50s, delivering a scalable and flexible approach to handle rapidly occurring security and medical situations, while providing a full historical log of what transpired. But what does that actually mean? I asked Jamie Cohen, Solutions Manager for Versatile Systems that question, “The system provides medical team members, ushers, security and other critical stadium personnel with a handheld device (the Motorola CA50) that allows them to quickly send messages to the command center. For example, if a fan has collapsed the team member sends an alert with a voice attachment of the precise location and nature of the incident. The command center can then alert the proper team.”

Incidents are reported more quickly and accurately which in turn improves response time. Say two medical incidents occur simultaneously: a fan in Section K has a heart attack while a fan in Section M sprains his ankle. Under the new system, the Command Center can assign priority to the heart attack victim because they are provided with accurate and timely information.

While it may seem more glamourous to report on improved safety and communication, the system's archiving and reporting capabilities are equally sexy. The system records every detail of reported incidents which keeps the NFL auditors happy. Additionally, these reports provide a clear view of the stadium's workflow, resulting in a detailed illustration of operating procedures which in turn leads to improvements. There are other benefits to archiving every incident. Perhaps a particularly litigious patron slips in a spilled beer and sues; it makes a big difference in court if the beer was spilled 6 minutes ago or sixty.

Currently, the Chargers have implemented 50 handhelds. Each handheld has a barcode scanner built-in which will be utilized in the future. Versatile's technology was born from the healthcare sector where it tracks temperatures in refrigerators and freezers; tracking people is a logical progression.

The San Diego Chargers may be the first NFL team to implement the SyncSeer System, but I suspect they won't be the last. Improved fan safety and accurate and easy archiving make it a no-brainer for any stadium or amusement park type situation; any situation where you have a large volume of people with a reasonable number of people looking after them.

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