Cell phones are generally regarded as the most quickly adopted consumer technology in the history of the world. According to the 2013 PEW Research Center Internet & American Life Project, American adults that own a cell phone hit a record high of 91%. Of that percentage, 56% have “smartphones.”
A smartphone is a mobile phone that includes advanced functionality beyond making phone calls and sending text messages. Most smartphones have the capability to surf the web, display photos, play videos and check and send e-mail. As with most technology, as the costs of production becomes less prohibitive, smartphone ownership will likely continue to increase.
A 2012 Cisco Systems marketing video showcases the future of this technology. Regarding the evolution of fan interaction with mobile technology, one might say that we’re still in the early stages.
This 2 minute, sleek production provides an excellent backdrop for my larger concerns. Most major entertainment venues are searching for ways to augment their cellular coverage while avoiding jammed networks and system disruptions.
Two words – maximum connectivity.
It’s difficult to find any reliable data on what percentage of people bring their mobile devices into major sporting events. But a simple, cursory look at the fans will lead you to the conclude that very few purposely choose to abandon their cell phones. And unless my eyes deceive me, plenty of people are using their techno-gadgets while the games are in progress.
On a related note, most stadiums have gone to extraordinary lengths in the name of fan safety: enhanced screenings, the NFL’s newly instituted clear bag policy, curbing alcohol sales in the latter stages of the game, etc. They’ve even established “narc” lines which enable people the opportunity to discreetly report unruly fan behavior. Not to dismiss any of these concerns, but in this era of ubiquitous mobile technology, isn’t it about time we take a fresh look at emergency evacuation protocol?
Call me naive, but wouldn’t a cellular-induced, human stampede fall under the jurisdiction of event safety and security? Considering the fact that an ever-increasing number of fans have instant access to real-world information (both accurate or tainted), I think the mission statement for AGSAF has never been more relevant…
People have a fundamental right to know… that if they are in a large, confined crowd and receive an evacuation notice and/or panic-inducing information from their cell phone or mobile device, it’s almost certainly a hoax designed to create an artificially generated stampede.