FC Barcelona and BSC to create a smart system to manage Espai Barça

08 November 2019

It is part of the IoTwins project, funded by the European Commission, based on the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and simulations.

The Club will provide the facilities, the data collection technology and the business logic, and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center will supply the technical knowledge and the computing capacity of the MareNostrum supercomputer.

FC Barcelona and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) are working on a ground-breaking project that applies the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create a smart system that will analyse and predict the movement of people within and outside the Club facilities (Camp Nou, Palau Blaugrana, Johan Cruyff Stadium, Campus Barça, Museum and Barça Store, etc.) providing information that will allow to take real-time decisions to manage, in an optimal manner, activities of the Club and Espai Barça.

This innovative system will guarantee that both members and fans fully enjoy their experience when visiting the Club facilities, as their data will have a direct impact on fields such as security management, before and during the construction of the Espai Barça; the planning and management of the operations or the return for the exploitation activities of the facilities, as it will provide valuable information for the location of the points of sale and stands that will improve the business and the experience of visitors, both in days when there is a match or in days when there is not. It is important to highlight that almost 4 million people visit the Barça facilities during the season, both to attend matches and to visit the Camp Nou Experience, the Museum and the Barça Store.

Programme “Horizon 2020” of the European Union

FC Barcelona and the BSC will be able to develop this initiative since they have joined a project funded by the European Commission called IoTwins, based on the innovation on Information Technologies and Communication, which the Club has boosted through the Barça Innovation Hub. This project’s framework is the “Horizon 2020” programme, the most important one regarding innovation and research of the European Commission.

The Club and BSC came to be part of IoTwins following the presentation of a project in an open call in which 172 proposals from different European countries participated. This project was viewed positively by the European Commission experts, and the club and the BSC came to be part of a group of 23 entities that will develop the IoTwins project for the next 3 years. The European Commission will invest more than 16M€ in this programme.

In order to create this system, the club provides the facilities, the data collection technology and the business logic. The BSC will supply the necessary mathematic knowledge to create and apply the system and the MareNostrum 4 supercomputer. The project is now in the data collection and development of the digital twin phase, and it will move forward in the following 36 months, but the first tests will start by mid-2021.

This project aims at modelling the movements of the people that go to its facilities, specially the Camp Nou and the Espai Barça, both in days when there is a match or in days when there is not. The smart system will monitor the facilities, collecting data from the sensors distributed across the area, and will create a computer simulation that will reproduce the usual movements of the attendees. This simulation will help to determine which would be the outcome of different answers that the Club could provide before certain situations, be it planned changes or real-time incidences. The results of these simulations will allow FC Barcelona to decide, with a high degree of relevant information, which answer can be implemented. In order to obtain these results different leading technologies will be combined, such as IA, IoT, Edge Computing and Supercomputing.

Thus, once this system is created and implemented, the Club facilities will be operated according to the data and several decisions will be made regarding different areas. For example, during the remodelling of the Camp Nou, the Club will know how to rearrange in the best possible way the flux of people to the Stadium. Also, in the future it will help to choose the best place to position the ticket offices, the restaurants or the access to the Barça Megastore. It will also help to establish better security protocols and know the real value of publicity, as well as to predict dynamics and offer immediate solutions to any problems that should arise.

The aim of the European Commission with this project is that innovative methodologies, such as this one (that can be validated successfully) are transferred to the market and can be useful on a day-to-day basis by big, medium and small companies; that is to say, make high technology accessible for the general public.

The IoTwins will be globally announced on March 14th during the first day of the Barça Sports Technology Symposium organized by the Barça Innovation Hub, during the Smart Venues panel, which will be dealing with high performance technology used in sport venues. Fernando Cucchietti, responsible for the Data Analytics and Visualization of the BSC, will participate in this panel.