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Venice monitoring tourists via cameras and phone activity


10+ Posts

They've built a control room to monitor video feeds from cameras as well as tourist movements based on which cell phone towers their phones connect to.

They can use aggregate data to track mobility of tourists, their nationalities, whether they're staying in Venice or they're day-trippers.

Sounds like a pilot project. Not clear how useful all this collected data will be.


500+ Posts
I posted about this two months ago. This is what I wrote then :

"Actually, I am all for this type of tracking, as long as tangible benefits can be shown, compared to the state of affairs beforehand, when conventional and less intrusive methods were used. If there are truly positive outcomes to this type of data collecting, then I am supposing that tourists will even be willing to participate in a more active and voluntary way in supplying additional info.

The major problem might be deciding at the local/political level what to do with the insights gained. The Venetians themselves are probably not in full agreement on what is the best policy for the city, otherwise we would have already seen some positive trends. With more and more locals leaving the city, it seems that simplistic solutions like the tourist tax and re-routing cruise ships are not enough."

Data collecting in tourism is not new, and various projects have shown certain benefits. In the case of Venice, the problem might be so big that data collecting might just be a last-ditch effort to try something that has a "smart" ring to it, before allowing the final realization to sink in : the amount of tourists has to be strictly reduced.

The pandemic has shown how technology and science can help significantly with a global catastrophe. But for sustainable positive change, you have to change people's behavior - and that is a greater challenge. We all like to live in denial.

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