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Risk Insider: Andy Hosman

An Olympic-Sized Effort

By: | February 14, 2018 • 3 min read
Andy Hosman is the vice president of Operational Risk Solutions at Sphera. He has more than 17 years of experience in designing, developing, and implementing risk management solutions to help customers assess, mitigate, manage and monitor their risk more effectively. Prior to joining Sphera, Andy was a senior vice president of product management at Marsh ClearSight.

The Olympic torch began its relay in October from Athens, Greece, marking the start of its trek to the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. This is a long journey, but it pales in comparison to the journey toward operational excellence.

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The attendance of more than 30,000 athletes and their fans presents a great deal of operational risk. As with any large event, operations managers must complete pre-event assessments, compile response plans and ensure plans are accessible and understandable to on-site staff.

Technology plays a key role in achieving gold-medal-worthy operational performance. Here are just a handful of ways it can help along the way:

Security Monitoring

You’ve probably seen the commercials where a doorbell rings and someone answers the door from their cellphone. A similar concept works well in an event setting. For example, if a fan starts to experience hypothermia, another patron can push a nearby button to communicate directly with security and/or wellness teams.

Cameras can provide behind-the-scenes workers the vision to identify accidents and problems throughout the facility. With the help of artificial intelligence software, footage from higher-risk event areas can pop up on security monitors or alert workers where they are needed.

Additionally, drones can be deployed to areas much faster than humans, or get to places that humans can’t easily go.

Beacons

Several large-scale facilities (theme parks, stadiums, museums) have adopted communication features called beacons. These tools transmit radio signals, and are able to be used with Bluetooth technology, sending messages directly to nearby smartphones.

One typical use for beacons is helping people find their seat by mapping the stadium and directing fans accordingly after they input their seat into their smartphone. Some locations don’t even require a WiFi connection for this; just download the facility app and go!

Beacons stationed throughout facilities can also provide insights into how crowded certain locations are, and direct attendees should they want to skip long bathroom lines. If there’s an emergency, they can apprise security of a situation before they arrive on scene.

Several large-scale facilities (theme parks, stadiums, museums) have adopted communication features called beacons. These tools transmit radio signals, and are able to be used with Bluetooth technology, sending messages directly to nearby smartphones.

For an event like the Winter Olympics, beacons can also play a key role in warning fans that a weather system is approaching. An imminent ice storm could spark an alert to fans to quickly seek shelter.

Food Safety

Food-related issues are highly important in managing operational risk. It’s important to ensure food is handled, stored and cooked properly to avoid getting people sick, as well as prevent financial risks from customer complaints.

Implementing effective food safety monitoring can be difficult. While checklists are important, it’s easy for workers to ignore them. With software, however, a supervisor can be alerted if a process hasn’t been accomplished in a timely or proper fashion and can sign off on whether procedures have been followed.

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Sensors are wonderful, versatile tools that can be implemented in the food production process. Not only are they able to monitor temperatures at which food and drink are being served, but they can also be integrated into the preparation and cooking stages.

For example, a sensor on a refrigerator could alert staff if the temperature is rising too high because the door is being kept open too long, or if there’s a power outage of some sort.

Experiencing an easily preventable outcome at a major event calls for immediate disqualification in terms of being able to mitigate operational risk. But thanks to new processes and implementation, fans and operators can interact together in a more cooperative and beneficial way, making these events more enjoyable for everyone.

As the Olympic torch is passed on, we expect technology and software to continue setting records for helping to mitigate risks.

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The R&I Editorial Team can be reached at [email protected]