Decision Fuel for Smart Venues

Blog Post
Peter George
President & CEO

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Publish date

Sep 27, 2021

Today we announced the latest advancements of Evolv Insights analytics, a crucial part of our Express product. These advancements will be generally available on October 8th, but first I’d like to offer a bit more context for why we are investing so much in data and analytics, and how we expect these investments to pay off for our customers. 

The analytics enhancements we announced today represent important progress toward our Digital Threshold vision. As someone coming into physical security from the cybersecurity world, I am very attuned to the power of data, and the importance of refining data to help operators make better decisions. I’ve always liked what Clive Humby, architect of the Tesco Club Card loyalty program, said in a speech he gave back in 2006

“Data is the new oil. It’s valuable, but if unrefined it cannot really be used. It has to be changed into gas, plastic, chemicals, etc to create a valuable entity that drives profitable activity; so must data be broken down, analyzed for it to have value.” 

The refining process of generating useful analytics and accurate machine learning models turns raw data into the high-octane decision fuel that a modern business requires. This is especially true for facilities working to transform themselves into modern “smart venues.” Delivering breakthroughs in visitor experience and operational excellence is not easy. It requires vision, good instincts, and a constant supply of refined decision fuel. 

As a weapons screening system, our Express product illustrates the power of data, analytics, and machine learning in the hands of smart venue managers. To illustrate, let’s consider the goal of zero-wait time on arrival, or, as one stadium operations manager put it, minimizing the “mean time to beer.”  

No one loves being stuck in a line outside a venue, but few people realize how vulnerable they are standing in an unprotected crowd. That crowd is a soft target that could attract a threat actor. And every minute people are stuck in a line is a minute they are not spending at concessions or retail within the venue (e.g. “high mean time to beer”). It’s a lose-lose situation, whereas achieving zero-wait is a win-win: a better, safer visitor experience and more revenue for the venue. 

Getting to zero wait time starts with accelerating the weapons screening process, and that’s a data and machine learning problem. Our Express systems process a huge amount of data through our CortexAI models as they perform real time weapons screening. The fact that most visitors don’t have to stop and hand over their bags and dump their pocket contents is a huge step toward the zero-wait goal, but more insight and decisions are required to hit the goal. 

Even with screening that is 10X faster, it is still necessary to have the right number of lanes open in the right places with the right number of staff. That’s a data and analytics problem. Our systems precisely measure the number of visitors and the exact time of their arrival. This makes it possible to plot arrival curves by event type. Analytics like these can be crucial decision fuel for managers as they consider the staffing levels and equipment placement required to achieve zero-wait. 

Achieving zero-wait through AI-powered weapons screening and arrival curve analytics is just one way to make a venue truly smart. The analytics upgrade we announced today also allows security staff to use historical weapons screening data to retroactively simulate alarm rates and entry throughput based on different sensitivity settings. Being able to go back in time and ask “what if” allows smart venues to make intelligent decisions to maximize throughput at any given risk tolerance. This is high-octane decision fuel that’s only possible on a digital native platform like CortexAI in Express. We’re incredibly excited to help customers start using it as part of their smart venue digital transformation. 

Today’s announcement continues our steady progress in analytics, and there is more to come. We are looking at ways to integrate with more types of smart venue systems and incorporate more third-party data, always with the goal of providing even more powerful decision fuel to make venues and facilities smarter, safer, and more efficient.  

If you are an analytics-minded person in the venue and facilities industry who is inspired by the potential of what I’ve described in this post, we would love to hear your feedback and ideas. Please get in touch and let us know what’s on your mind.  

Peter George
President & CEO

Peter G. George has been Evolv’s Chief Executive Officer and President since January 2020. Prior to assuming the role of Chief Executive Officer at Evolv, Mr. George served as Chief Commercial Officer of Evolv from February 2019 to December 2019. Prior to joining Evolv, Mr. George served as President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Fidelis Cybersecurity, a company focused on threat and data breach detection, from March 2008 to August 2019. Mr. George also served as the Chief Executive Officer of Empow Cybersecurity, a company offering intelligent, AI and natural language processing solutions to reduce false positives during threat detection, from March 2018 to November 2018. Mr. George serves on the Board of Directors of Corero Network Security PLC (LON: CNS), including its Compensation Committee, since January 2019. Mr. George received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the College of the Holy Cross in 1981.