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Fulham FC using iPads to fight football hooligans

We went to Craven Cottage to see how Fulham's IP CCTV operation was using iPads to watch over fans.

Comparisons to Minority Report are used too frequently in the tech world. Yet Fulham FC's control room is at least partially reminiscent of the film, with an omniscient team of police watching over citizens via HD screens.

IT made the set-up as simple as possible for the security team and Metropolitan Police manning the systems. With a classic joystick device, the policemen and women can perform the same operations as on the iPad, only on bigger, clearer monitors.

To further entrench the reality of the Minority Report analogy, and make it simpler for police to operate the cameras, Pendlebury revealed he will be installing touch screens for police to monitor fans. They can now fulfill their dreams/nightmares of being just like Tom Cruise.

Another nifty feature involves privacy. Where certain features need to be blocked out, such as names or anything which might land the club in legal trouble, the cameras can black sections of footage out. It even works when zooming in or changing camera angle.

Security now and in the future

There's already been success using the new system. In a recent game involving Liverpool, in which Fulham were positively hammered, 30 fans were arrested after smartly deciding to rip up a section of seats in the away end. The IP CCTV enabled the identification of those involved, proving Pendlebury's efforts were worth the investment in both time and money.

In the future, Fulham is looking at acquiring even more sophisticated, granular technology to help keep the peace. Facial recognition could soon be in use between football grounds, so individuals banned from attending games can be spotted by machines rather than the security guys having to keep their eyes peeled.

Another piece of software Pendlebury is interested in can notify security teams when an individual enters a room with a bag, only to leave without it. When bomb scares are a genuine issue, tech like this could prove the difference between life and death.

Fulham's cameras can also be fitted with microphones, so security teams could hypothetically give people a stern telling off without moving from their seats in the control room. How such a communist mechanism might go down with pumped-up football fans is another question altogether.

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