In front of a wall of screens modeled on those at NASA's space agency, technicians control gates, spectator communication and 15,000 cameras at the eight stadiums hosting the FIFA World Cup in Qatar from November 20 to December 18. Reported local Arabic daily Arrayah.
From a water leak in the toilets to any security issue, the Aspire Command and Control Center will manage all possible incidents that may occur in stadiums, in one place.
“The idea of connecting all stadiums has become possible through the compact nature of this World Cup,” says Nias Abdel Rahman, the center’s technology officer. He praises this idea, which will be implemented “for the first time in the history of the World Cup.”
The organizers of the inaugural World Cup in an Arab country are wishing that their watchdog would become the standard for international sporting events.
With between 1.2 and 1.4 million spectators expected over four weeks, and up to four matches per day during the group stage, this centre, located in the Khalifa Stadium complex, will play a key role.
Indeed, the expected crowds on the streets of the capital are alarming the security services, while reinforcements are expected from abroad during the global event, including more than three thousand Turkish riot police.
Fans go through an initial filtering process when ordering tickets, with blacklisted names of hooligans and counterfeiters excluded. Fans will be followed on the street with ubiquitous surveillance cameras, equipped with facial recognition technology. On the other hand, experts from Qatar University have developed surveillance systems for drones, which they say will provide the most accurate estimates of the number of people on the streets. “Whatever happens, we have a reaction on the spot,” says Hamad Ahmed al Mohannadi, director of the Leadership Center Department at the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, adding: “As long as there is no property damage and no one is injured, we will only have to monitor, manage and report anything related to material damage and people.”
In addition to controlling air conditioning and traffic jams at the entrance gates, this headquarters will host the police on match days to coordinate with the Security Forces Command Center.
In the event of an accident, the men behind these screens can "take control of events, put other stadiums on different levels of alert and take precautionary measures simultaneously."
"The stadium can be evacuated, we can secure the perimeter around another stadium and prevent people from entering," the official continues.
“Content can be broadcast to the screens in the corridors for any scenario that you want to communicate with the fans about,” in one stadium or in several stadiums at the same time.
It is possible to find out how many people are there at any given time and how many subways and buses are nearby.
There are also virtual models for each stadium to find the best way to reach a particular room or device.
Abdul Rahman concludes by saying: “What you see here is a new standard and a new direction in the use of stadiums. This is Qatar’s contribution to the world of sports. What you see here is the future.”
According to Abdul Rahman, this center guarantees the presence of “eyes, ears in all stadiums at the same time.”
“We can see all the 15,000 cameras (equipped with facial recognition) distributed in the eight stadiums and monitor from here,” he explains.
"We receive a lot of data and we will use it to the fullest extent," he says. Alarms are immediately displayed on the screens and the reaction is immediate.