The Cleveland Cavaliers has teamed up with crowd intelligence software company Armored Things to ensure the safe return of fans and staff to the NBA team’s Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Through the partnership, the technology will be deployed at the 20,562-capacity arena to manage fan density at key entry and gathering points and enable smarter decisions related to staffing, security and sanitation.

The Armored Things software will also be deployed in the team’s business offices at the venue to help maintain safe spacing in common areas.

The venue’s facilities and security teams will be able to use the AI-powered Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution to leverage the venue’s existing Wi-Fi and security systems to gain an accurate, real-time understanding of how many people are gathering and moving around specific locations in the FieldHouse.

The information will be available in the venue’s command centre and via mobile devices to alert staff to potential congestion and make better decisions related to fan and staff health safety. FieldHouse staff will also have access to valuable data trends to assist in planning.

“As we continue to welcome additional fans back to live events at the FieldHouse, Armored Things can help us provide a safer experience for fans as well as our staff, no matter the number,” said Michael Conley, chief information officer for the Cavaliers and Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

He added: “COVID is a pressing issue right now, but this is also an important investment in our long-term security and operations infrastructure. The ability to understand the flow of people in the venue equips us to stay one step ahead of their needs, deploy resources more intelligently, and optimise the event environment.”

Last month, the Cavaliers received approval from the State of Ohio to host up to 10 per cent of the venue’s seating capacity, or nearly 2,000 fans per game, an increase from the state-restricted 300 fan limit to begin the season. The larger capacity for fans will commence from January 11 when the team opens a three-game homestand.

Julie Johnson Roberts, Armored Things co-founder and chief executive, added: “The Cavaliers organisation is leveraging all the tools at their disposal to bring people back to live events safely.

“Working in concert with the security systems already in place at the FieldHouse, we are able to help their team understand patterns and trends, and alert them to sudden changes so they can respond accordingly. The end result is safer, more informed operations and a better fan experience.”

Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse is home to both the Cavaliers and the Cleveland Monsters of the AHL ice hockey league, as well as more than 200 ticketed events, such as concerts, and 1,400 private events that draw over two million patrons to downtown Cleveland each year.

Armored Things also has a similar partnership with Major League Soccer club Los Angeles FC as part of its reopening strategy at the Bank of California Stadium in Southern California.

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