Security lines at the Moody Center shrinking due to AI tool –

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Xtract One’s SmartGateway lanes use AI technology to determine what type of object passes through the detectors.

AUSTIN, Texas — On Sunday night, the 2024 CMT Awards will attract thousands of country music fans to Austin.

With large crowds generally comes long security lines, but thanks to this one unique security tool that involves AI, those long lines are dwindling at large events like the CMTs.

Xtract One Technologies first brought SmartGateway lanes to the Moody Center back in 2022.

Instead of typical metal detectors that can’t distinguish exactly what object is passing through, SmartGateway lanes use AI technology and purpose-built sensors to determine when a weapon passes through. That means people don’t have to empty their pockets of their phone, wallet and any other metal.

The SmartGateway lanes have been programmed to detect certain items and will alert a physical security guard if they detect a weapon match. 

“AI software is correlating that to say, well there’s a 98% possibility this is a gun,” said Paul Evans, the CEO of Xtract One Technologies. “It will alert, and that will instruct security staff to do a secondary screening on that individual and investigate to see if there is a gun there.”

For big live events, Evans says this can take hours off security line wait times. He said during a Harry Styles concert at the Moody Center in 2022 that brought in 10,000 fans, the SmartGateway system cut down what would have been about a two hour security line to just 22 minutes.

For Austin especially, Evans says this technology is the perfect place to be.

“In a place like Austin, Texas and it’s August and it’s 113 degrees out, nobody wants to stand in line,” Evans said. 

Another benefit of the system, Evans says, is that it removes human bias.

“It’s looking for the characteristics of objects,” Evans said. “It’s very, very objective in that matter, unlike humans who might look at someone and go, ‘Yeah, they look sketchy.’”

The system also saves the Moody Center thousands of dollars in security personnel costs. When the Moody Center was under construction, there was a budget for 42 classic walk-through detectors, which would require 84 security staff. But leaders eventually decided on SmartGateway lanes for much of the arena, because the nine lanes only require 27 security staff in total. 

Evans says as weapon threats are becoming increasingly prevalent, he sees schools, theaters, museums and other public locations integrating technology like this everyday.

“This is the world we live in,” Evans said. “I believe what you’re going to see is this will be a normal technology, in the same way that we have sprinkler systems in every building … We’re now going to equip every environment to make sure it is a much safer environment for everyone that goes there.”

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