Gentse Feesten 2019

Event critical connectivity Insights in WiFi & Footfall

In the week of the 21st of July the City of Ghent organised a big city-wide festival that lasts for 10 days. This year it was the 176th edition. During these 10 days over 1.2 million people came to the city to experience music, watch (street) theatre, dance until the break of dawn or they just enjoyed some beers in the beautiful medieval setting of Ghent.

With this much going on (i.e. there are over 15 different squares and 8 music stages) the overall organisation, production and safety is immense.

As a technology company that focuses on (wireless) connectivity and over-the-top (OTT) services, it’s no surprise that we had a lot of our technology aiding many parties during this event.


With this many people coming to the city, relying on public networks for critical connectivity is a bit tricky. That’s why the emergency services (police & first aid) have requested Citymesh to deploy a private network to provide connectivity for the LED-banners and CP-OPS. Today, Citymesh is the only operator that has the ability to roll-out these private 5G-networks in the city of Ghent (i.e.). By utilising our network, the emergency services are ensured that whatever happens, they will have their mission critical broadband connectivity available at all times.

More on our private 5G solutions:

Footfall Analytics

Already for a couple of months the City had requested us to install our Footfall Analytics solution all over the city. The solution gives each department detailed information on the amount of visitors coming to Ghent, how they move throughout the city, how long people tend to stay in the different areas, whether there is congestion and so on. Thanks to the dashboards that we have in place, showing all the key metrics like unique visitors and dwell time, the city can see what's happening at a glance. For deeper analytics it is possible to drill down into a certain selection of measuring points, time frames or even compare periods side-by-side. The city also has its own data-team, they access the data through our API.

It’s important to note here that all data gathered is anonymous data, fully compliant with the European GDPR legislation. At the very moment a probe is received by one of our devices it is instantly hashed. The original data is never recorded at any point in time.

During these festivities the city monitors people flows and identifies hotspots using our Footfall solution. Afterwards it’s easy to compare this year with last years’ edition.

More on our Footfall solutions:

Connectivity for Events

One of the aforementioned stages is a full blown music festival called ‘Boomtown’. Already for many years we take care of all their connectivity needs. The whole production crew needs connectivity starting a week before the event. Boomtown was one of the pioneers of cashless payments so every bar and top-up point also needs internet. Then there is the access control, VIP access, backstage area and so on… Citymesh provides connectivity for over 200 events per year, ranging from a small business seminar over large congresses to the biggest festivals. We’re the in-house IT partner of the biggest event venues in Belgium as well.

At Boomtown we used both our private 5G solution as well as some WiFi point-to-multipoint links to provide the organisation with reliable connectivity.

More on our event connectivity possibilities:

What’s next

Our R&D department is working very hard on a product combining all of the services mentioned above, called the ‘FlexBox’. This device will allow the seamless integration of WiFi, 5G (small cell), Footfall analytics and much more in one single device. It will also incorporate and facilitate the usage of IoT sensors and its LP-WAN connectivity needs.

By introducing reusable cups throughout the city, the amount of waste that needs to be cleaned each day has reduced drastically. But smart waste-sensors could streamline this operation even more. Monitoring power & water usages, air quality sensors at the biggest squares, temporary parking sensors and much more could really aid the organisation during these 10 days.

Check out the launch of FlexBox at MWC Barcelona:

In the coming months we’ll also start flying our Safety Drone’s, providing video for First Responders within minutes after an emergency call comes in. We’re confident that for next years’ edition, we’ll have a Safety Drone on stand-by in Ghent to provide real-time video whenever needed. Emergency services don’t need to have pilots themselves, it’s a fully managed service by Citymesh. All the Safety Drones are piloted remotely, from our own Command & Control-Centre in Bruges and connected over our own 5G network.

Check out how we save lives through innovation:

Who would have thought, 176 years ago, that wireless technology would support the Gentse Feesten as much as it did now?