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    MarshallAI created a mobile pedestrian counter for Tampere

    korona ratina lauravanzo

    How about counting people with a device that is easy to move in any location where crowds gather? Is it doable? Smart Urban Security and Event Resilience Project (SURE) and MarshallAI carried out an agile experiment in Tampere, Finland. They proved that the mobile pedestrian counter works.

    MarshallAI develops machine vision solutions, which detect various objects and events from video feed in real time, and explores new ways to use this technology. The company’s main business sectors are related to smart cities and smart security.

    No wonder that MarshallAI has kept a close track of the SURE project activities. Finnish cities are an important customer segment to the company – even after they won the US Department of Defense sponsored AI challenge in September 2021.

    – Winning the xTech Global AI Challenge proves once again that we can offer world-class technology and ultimate performance built in Finland, says Arttu Laitinen, Head of Smart City at MarshallAI.

    In focus: movability

    MarshallAI had several ideas to offer for the SURE agile experimenting, one of them being a mobile pedestrian counter. The company created a camera device that is easy to use anywhere. Once attached and plugged in, it will immediately start to count people within the frame.

    The SURE project plans were updated as the COVID-19 pandemic reached Finland and, for example, massive open-air concerts were canceled in Tampere. Alternatives were found: the camera device was relocated to the vaccination unit in Ratina, to count the visitors there.

    The instructions for the device were kept as simple as possible, to allow its usability in the widest possible variety of locations. Thus there was no room for any local configurations, and the device counted all the people in sight – not only visitors but also the unit staff.

    – The outcome of the experiment was that the mobile pedestrian counter was working as expected. Though in this particular spot a traditional hand-held counter produced more accurate visitor count, says Laitinen.

    Machine vision and urban security

    The SURE project is aiming to integrate data, gathered from various sensors, into situational awareness. Mobile people counting would generate useful data.

    – It could result in more accurate situation management, and in the long term also better event planning. Later it could be possible to relay e.g. congestion data directly to the citizens, says Petri Koskinen, Senior Business Advisor, safety and security, of Business Tampere. 

    The potential of machine vision will be better understood and increasingly used in urban safety and security. Laitinen of MarshallAI states, that one of the most important points of the SURE agile experiments was the City of Tampere getting more familiar with the new technology.

    – MarshallAI was very well aware of what we can accomplish with machine vision, and we were eager to show it to the authorities responsible for urban security. For us, the experiment clarified our view on how we need to offer our expertise, says Laitinen.

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    The experiment was a part of the SURE project (Smart Urban Security and Event Resilience). The project was granted 3,2 million euros from the Urban Innovative Actions, an ERDF-funded initiative of the European Commission.

    Business Tampere is responsible for the upscaling of solutions, and provides a framework in which the technology providers can run the experiments.

    Tampere Region has a significant concentration of safety and security know-how and organizations, both nationally and internationally. There is more than 250 organisations related to safety and security in the region. Tampere region safety and security cluster, which has been in operation since 2011, provides an easy access to local ecosystem.

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