Posted by AI Team on 27-05-2020
Returning to the new normality, after the COVID-19 pandemic, implies the capability of adaptation of premises open to the public, to the sanitary restrictions involving social distancing and capacity limitations. This adaptation is a complex challenge that requires a solution adapted to each venue, whether being terraces, movie theaters, offices, pavilions or stadiums, and for each business model, whether being unique or recurring seasonal events and with subscribers. In other words, a solution that determines the maximum number of seats possible, respecting the established interpersonal sanitary distance for each of the de-escalation phases. This is why at Basetis we have created an algorithmic solution to optimize the capacity in places of assembly that in a COVID-19 scenario allows us to reach the maximum potential of these spaces and guarantee the safety of people.
Finding optimal solutions for large venues is often a difficult task that requires smart search strategies and large computational resources beyond pen and paper. Computers need to evaluate billions of combinations using custom optimization algorithms to come up with a good solution with significantly greater capacity than a human-made solution.
At Basetis we have managed to obtain the best possible performance in the capacity of premises with maximum flexibility and agility, while adapting to the sanitary restrictions of each de-escalation phase. The new normality, and the possibility of new outbreaks, forces everyone to adopt measures for which we were not alerted, but for which there are solutions.
Where is the complexity in determination of available seats?
The solution to this problem should take into account the following requirements:
Attendees in groups of various sizes
People who attend an event in small groups are exempted from complying with the mandatory interpersonal distancing if they live in a single household. How to assign seats to groups of different sizes efficiently, flexibly and optimally? An efficient use of the seating assembly requires sufficient flexibility in the seat assignment scheme to handle groups of different sizes.
Huge number of suboptimal assignments
The number of suboptimal and insufficient solutions grows exponentially with the venue size due to the combinatorial nature of the seat allocation problem. This means that finding the optimal solutions for large venues is akin to the proverbial search for a needle in an enormously large haystack. Smart optimization algorithms and massive computational resources are required to successfully cope with that complexity.
Complexity of venues extremes
The optimal solution displays particular symmetries in the center of a large seating assembly which reduce the complexity and allow for some human understanding. However, these symmetries break down at the venue boundaries. Therefore, to make efficient use of the venue, a smart solution must consider the shape (or topology) of the seating assembly at its extremes in order to obtain the maximum achievable capacity of the venue.
Keeping the seating arrangement fixed
Any smart approach leading to the efficient use of a venue area should be able to dynamically obtain the optimised capacity during sequential rounds of events. Removal and displacement of the seats or any physical reconfiguration of the seating assembly is not feasible during short breaks.
The solution should consider the fixed arrangement of the seats without proposing a physical rearrangement during the programming of different events. Conversely, if the seat arrangement is modified, the solution must be able to be executed in the same way, taking into account the new layout.
Incorporation of physical barriers that may increase seat availability
Optionally, it is possible to improve the capacity of premises by the installation of plexiglass walls, since the mandatory interpersonal distance is subject to vanish between people sitting on different sides of a wall. Determining the optimal location of the walls in order to attain the maximum capacity of the venue, while complying with the safety and evacuation measures of the venue, can be interesting.
Construction of dynamic solutions
The group size distribution of attendees between successive rounds of events is subject to continuous instantaneous changes caused by the nature of the demand itself, which is mostly unpredictable. This implicates the necessity of computationally fast solutions, online, in order to dynamically obtain the optimal seat allocation which allows maximum achievable capacity.
What other issues could be considered beyond optimization of the capacity?
For medium and large venues, the problem may require solutions using advanced algorithms for calculating the routing between access points, assigned seats, toilets and ticket offices; crowding prevention in access points and common areas by queue management as well as simulation of the users movement through different spaces.
At Basetis, we are a group of experts in AI committed to provide smart solutions helping businesses to overcome challenges specific to the COVID-19 era. We have created customised solutions applying state-of-the-art mathematical methods and highly-efficient computational approaches for dynamic occupancy management of places of assembly and smart use of venues.
Our optimization algorithm is able to master all sources of complexity discussed above while remaining flexible on certain properties of each venue including the seat assembly layout and the distance between the seats. Additionally, it is capable of incorporating further complexities specific to each venue, such as considering the position of the seats with respect to the rest of the building’s elements, as well as the distance between each seat , access points and places of interest. In all conditions, it quickly provides much better solutions than those made by humans. This enables the optimal use of the venues under COVID-19 sanitary restrictions.
If you need a smart seat allocation solution to your organization, contact us through this form. We will offer you a personalized solution to start the new normality with the best distance measures adapted to your business model. Check the Basetis website for more information about us and to learn more about our philosophy.