The nerve center of Qatar 2022

By Jose Miguel Pascual Labrador


Doha, Nov 15 (EFE).- Security has become a top priority in Qatar as the tiny Gulf nation prepares to welcome some 1.5 million visitors for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.


Home to nearly 3 million inhabitants, Qatar has already installed nearly 15,000 cameras and artificial intelligence tech to simultaneously monitor security in the eight stadiums during the prestigious tournament.


For the first time in the history of the World Cup, the stadiums where the 64 matches will take place are located within a 70-kilometer radius in the capital Doha.


Thanks to a digitization system that generates a virtual model of the infrastructure, Qatar officials will be able to remotely manage and monitor all World Cup venues remotely from their Aspire Command and Control Center.


Hamad Ahmed al-Mohannadi, director of the center, tells Efe in an interview that this is the first time to apply a system traditionally used by security agencies for military operations to a sporting event.

Camera: EFE

THE MANAGEMENT PLATFORM


More than 80 employees will be analyzing the information they will receive via various installed systems on a giant screen on a 24/7 basis, according to al-Mohannadi.


He says the workers there have been receiving specialized training for almost three years to ensure they are able to manage all possible situations under stress.


If anything deviates from the established security standards, the control center is prepared to receive alerts and deal with problems both minor or major.


Qatar’s security forces will be backed by forces from other countries such as Turkey, the United Kingdom, Italy and Pakistan.

Police officers check the seats at Al Thumama stadium in Doha, Qatar, November 15, 2022. EFE/ Alberto Estévez

THE HAYYA CARD


William Morales, head of Operations of al-Janoub Stadium, highlights that surveillance cameras will offer high resolution in order to easily recognize fans’ faces from afar.


Fans moving around Qatar and entering stadiums will need to have their Bluetooth activated on their cell phones so that the specially-provided Hayya SIM cards can relay information, Morales says.


This will facilitate authorities to monitor the exact number of fans at the stadium and manage their access.


Niyas Abdulrahman, chief technology officer at the center, tells Efe that technological development is “crucial” for its operations.
As for the possibility of having to deal with cyber-attacks, Abdulrahman expresses his confidence in the system as well as the team of experts and the tools assigned with the mission of reducing cyber-threats.EFE
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