Bubble Wrap: How Eurovision Monitors Covid Risk at Events

While pandemic-driven digital transformation has enabled the media and entertainment industry to stream awesome content 24/7 – digital technology is also safeguarding visitors, performing artist, and crew at the Eurovision Song Contest by monitoring their Covid-19 exposure levels in real time.

The Eurovision Song Contest, by the way, is the world’s largest live music event, organized each year in May by the local organizer and the European Broadcasting Union.

A New Normal: Bubble-Up for Safety at Live Events with Flockey

Knowing your risk level as you navigate a large venue can help you avoid crowds and stay safely within your bubble – all of which empowers you to enjoy the experience all the more.

That’s why the local organizer of the Eurovision Song Contest last year in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, reached out to Unlimited Solutions for their newly released app Flockey – a powerful social distancing app that is bringing live audiences and live music back together again with Covid risk assurance at large-scale events. Venue organizers can use the app to safeguard employees and visitors through proactive crowd management.

This “new normal” has been helping people return to experience live events with an inobtrusive app that helps them avoid high-risk levels as they move around the venue in their Bluetooth bubble.

Live at Eurovision: a Bluetooth App to Navigate Covid Risk

The Eurovision Song Contest partnered with Unlimited Solutions to help them overcome restrictions and fear at large-scale events. This was accomplished by using data to give the organizer tangible real-time insight as to what is happening in the venue concerning social distancing and risky behavior.

The solution – based on EY AgilityWorks’ patented EY Proximity Monitor technology – was white labelled as Flockey by Unlimited Solutions for the event industry. The social distancing app gives venue employees, delegations, and visitors at the venue, real-time insight of their Covid-19 exposure risk levels.

Flockey made its first debut at the Eurovision Song Contest at the Rotterdam Ahoy in May 2021.

“Our industry has been at a standstill for more than a year,” says Olivier Monod de Froideville of Unlimited Solutions. “It is therefore great that we can contribute to the safer organization of large-scale events with Flockey.”

Richard van Vught, head of Security at the Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam, says the solution, “brings insight and peace of mind, with or without ever-changing [Covid safety] measures.” Flockey provides his team with a dashboard for real-time visualization of crowd movement and risks.

Social Distancing App Shows Transmission Rates in Real Time

So, how does it work? Flockey measures the distance between visitors using anonymized Bluetooth low-energy data from mobile devices like a smartphone or lanyard tag. The solution gives event organizers instant insight into visitor flows at the venue by providing the location of visitors and employees in real time via pre-installed beacons (or sensors) in the venue.

If you are an artist, crew, or audience member, you wear a tag on a lanyard, a wristband, or simply download the Flockey app on your smartphone. As soon as it’s activated, you are in your own Bluetooth bubble while the social distancing app monitors your proximity to others. Every few seconds, the app uses your smartphone to send and receive Bluetooth signals coming from other nearby users’ smartphones or from their battery-powered tags. Neat, huh?

Flockey sends this anonymous data to a central system with a tailor-made dashboard that enables event managers in the control room to monitor and log crowd movements. From the dashboard they can see employees and visitors’ proximity, the location of the interactions, and the time of the interaction – with risk levels registered as low, medium, or high – and take appropriate action. 

Eurovision Safeguards a Spectacular Experience with Flockey

According to Tom Valema, EY AgilityWorks, “The EY Proximity Monitor [Flockey] enables event venues and organizers to responsibly receive audiences. Based on the data, they can demonstrate that the social distancing measures work.”  

Ensuring safeguards also has a positive impact on employee productivity and mental health as well as venue operations by helping to lower infection rates and, subsequently, insurance costs. “These safety measures encourage event goers to return to venues more comfortably—as part of a new normal,” adds Bernd Kramer, EY AgilityWorks.

Flockey is based on the EY Proximity Monitor solution which applies Bluetooth technology from Scandinavia-based Forkbeard at the front end and data analytics from the SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP) at the backend with SAP Analytics Cloud for reporting. ESRI mapping adds powerful geospatial analysis on top of 3D mapping for full visualization of what’s happening in real time.

“EY AgilityWorks and Flockey truly helped to keep Eurovision Song Contest covid safe and contributed tremendously to the success of this major world event,” says Vught.

As a result, EY AgilityWorks was named a Finalist at the SAP Innovation Awards for 2022. You can read about their innovative solution in their Innovation Awards pitch deck.

Data Management