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It’s All About Balance: Improved Security and Better Customer Experience

Mike Ellenbogen, CEO, Evolv Technology –

Evolv has had the pleasure of working with Mark Briggs for the past several months. As chief operating officer of TeamOps, which has provided security at Gillette Stadium since 2006, Mark has an incredible wealth of security industry knowledge. After a 16-year stint with the British Army, Mark has played important roles in protecting iconic events such as the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, as well as hundreds of concerts, corporate events, and games at London’s Wembley complex and at Gillette.

Mark realizes, as do Evolv co-founder Anil Chitkara and I, that sports and entertainment venues need to create a balance of heightened security and improved customer experience in order to address evolving security demands. “People don’t have to go to a sporting or entertainment venue,” says Mark. “They can watch on TV or download music onto smart phones. So we need to protect our guests, while also making venues a fun place to be.”

I’m proud to report that, thanks to this successful partnership with TeamOps, visitors to the suite entrances at Gillette, which are also used daily by employees who work at the stadium, no longer need to empty their pockets or be hand-wanded by security officers as they enter. Instead, they pass through our Evolv Edge screening systems at their normal walking speed. So far, Mark knows of no complaints of false alarms. “I’ve heard no reports of people going through secondary screening because of a car key,” he says. “In fact, I haven’t heard any customer complaints at all. When we’ve asked guests about the new screening protocols, they’ve said it was a very positive experience.”

Thanks to the Evolv Edge’s multi-sensor architecture, Gillette now has a detection capability that can identify both metallic and fully non-metallic threats, as well as adapt to an ever-changing stream of future threats. The Edge was designed to screen more than 600 people an hour, and its sleek aesthetics provide a welcoming gateway to those who just walk through. “We liked that Evolv’s approach doesn’t treat visitors like criminals,” says Mark.

With Pinpoint, the Edge’s integrated face recognition capability, security personnel can greet trusted guests and valued customers by name, and speed them through the screening process. Likewise, known gate-crashers or people who have been banned from the stadium can be detected within seconds.

Sports and entertainment venues, particularly those serving tens of thousands of people, must have concentric layers of security that start far beyond the ticket gates. Evolv’s vision, which we share with TeamOps, is to use advanced connected sensors along with face and image recognition to identify potential threats as soon as they arrive on property or come in sight of the venue. Our credo is “prevent, don’t just react.”

Finally, we’ve designed the Evolv Edge for flexibility, making it far more software-centric than other security technologies. This flexibility will enable the Edge to accommodate new sensor technologies and future algorithms that can identify new weapons or explosive materials. As Mark puts it, “you only have to change the software—not the technology.”

We at Evolv want to thank Mark and his team for working with us to prove that outstanding security and an outstanding visitor experience are no longer mutually exclusive.

For more information, or to request the full version of the paper that inspired this blog post, click here.

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