AI tool shrinks security lines at Moody Center

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Extract One’s Smart Gateway Lane uses AI technology to determine what type of object passes through the detector.

AUSTIN, Texas — On Sunday night, the 2024 CMT Awards will draw thousands of country music fans to Austin.

Large crowds usually come with long security lines, but thanks to a unique security tool that includes AI, those long lines are becoming less common at larger events like CMTs.

Xtract One Technologies first brought the SmartGateway lane to the Moody Center in 2022.

Instead of typical metal detectors that can’t distinguish what’s going through, Smart Gateway Lanes use AI technology and purpose-built sensors to detect when a weapon passes through. This means people don’t need to empty their pockets of their phones, wallets and any other metal.

Smart Gateway Lanes are programmed to detect specific objects and will alert a physical security guard if they detect a weapon match.

“The AI ​​software matches what it’s likely to be a gun 98 percent of the time,” said Paul Evans, CEO of Xtract One Technologies. “It will alert, and it will direct the security staff to do a secondary screening of the individual and investigate to see if there is a gun.”

For large live events, Evans says this can add hours to security line wait times. During a Harry Styles concert at the Moody Center in 2022 that drew 10,000 fans, the Smart Gateway system cut what had been a nearly two-hour security line down to just 22 minutes, he said.

For Austin in particular, Evans says the technology is the perfect place.

“A place like Austin, Texas and it’s August and it’s 113 degrees outside, nobody wants to stand in line,” Evans said.

Another benefit of the system, says Evans, is that it removes human bias.

“It’s looking for properties of objects,” Evans said. “It’s very, very objective about it, unlike humans who can look at someone and go, ‘Yeah, those sketches look.'”

The system also saves the Moody Center thousands of dollars in security personnel costs. When the Moody Center was under construction, there was a budget for 42 classic walk-through detectors, which would have required 84 security personnel. But leaders eventually decided on Smart Gateway lanes for most of the arena, as nine lanes require a total of only 27 security personnel.

Evans says that as gun threats become more widespread, he sees schools, theaters, museums and other public spaces integrating the technology in this way every day.

“That’s the world we live in,” Evans said. “I believe what you’re going to see is going to be a common technology, just like we have sprinkler systems in every building … we’re going to equip every environment now to make sure that It’s a much safer environment. Everyone who goes there.”

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