Editorial Feature

The Rise of Floor Sensors

Over the last few years, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of human-computer interaction systems that are based on video cameras, depth sensors, wearable devices, and sensing environments, which create a completely interactive environment between individuals and every aspect of their life. To further progress the development of both the public and private sensing environment, companies like Milwaukee-based Scanalytics Inc. are advancing the sensitivity and versatility of their floor sensor products.

What is a floor sensor, and how does it work?

A floor sensor can be thought of like a touchscreen on the floor. Floor sensors operate by detecting and displaying pressure information about subjects that are present in the sensing environment. Constructed from a series of lightweight, high-resolution pressure sensing mats that are connected to a processing and control board that collects and transmits data to specialized computer software1.

Current Applications of Floor Sensors

Business Entrances

By analyzing the amount of traffic that enters the entrance(s) of a store or building, business owners are able to understand their overall store performance according to the number of customers that enter and leave the store in a given time period, as well as predict this traffic tends for certain times of the day. By understanding these traffic trends, business owners can better optimize their staff schedules according to the demand that is determined by analysis of these trends, as well as identify the directionality and pace of customers upon entry into the store or building.

Scanalytics Inc. has found that the implementation of their floor sensors has decreased door abandonment by 50% and improved workforce scheduling by 30%2.

Image Credit: tommytangfilms/Shutterstock.com

Business Engagement

Once customers enter a store or building, business owners often lack the knowledge of what advertisements attract their customers' attention or which products or sections of the stores are being visited, simply because it is impossible to have enough staff to track every move of their customers. By installing floor sensors into a business, the data collected can provide business owners and managers with data on how long a person stands in front of a section of the store before walking away, thereby determining the customer preferences and behavior in a simplified and rapid manner.

Scanalytics have found by capturing the customers’ journey, business owners have been able to reduce the presence of underutilized areas of their stores or businesses by 26%, reduce bottlenecks by 50% and increase visitor steps within their business by 35%2.

Health and Safety

One of the biggest dangers to the elderly community is their heightened risk of falling. By installing floor sensors into nursing homes, hospitals, and even homes, individuals who are caring for these elderly or otherwise disabled individuals are able to track the amount of pressure that is put onto the floor sensor at a given time, as well as the amount of time in which this pressure is left at a given place on the floor. Therefore, if pressure is detected in a larger area as compared to ordinary footsteps and remains dormant for an extended period of time, this data can be immediately sent to the caregiver and even call emergency services to respond to the accident.

Future Trends of Floor Sensors

The current costs associated with installing and maintaining floor sensors in a given business or home can range from $20 to $1,000 per month, depending upon the square footage of the sensor and added applications to the technology3. Currently, Scanalytics has 150 customers in the United States who have already found success in their floor sensor technology, and of these customers approximately 60% are retailers. While some individuals have shown concern about their privacy and surveillance that can be tracked by floor sensors, the floor sensors are not set up to track any personal identification of customers.

As businesses, homeowners, and building managers become increasingly aware of the benefits associated with installing floor sensors, and this technology becomes more affordable for these purposes, researchers expect that floor sensors will improve various aspects of the business and health industries from their current success in these areas.

References and Further Reading

  1. “A Pressure Sensing Floor for Interactive Media Applications” P. Srinvasan, D. Birchfield, et al. Arizona State University Arts, Media & Engineering and Department of Electrical Engineering.
  2. “Applications” – Scanalytics Inc.
  3. “Intel underfoot: Floor sensors rise as retail data source” – ABC News

 

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Benedette Cuffari

Written by

Benedette Cuffari

After completing her Bachelor of Science in Toxicology with two minors in Spanish and Chemistry in 2016, Benedette continued her studies to complete her Master of Science in Toxicology in May of 2018. During graduate school, Benedette investigated the dermatotoxicity of mechlorethamine and bendamustine; two nitrogen mustard alkylating agents that are used in anticancer therapy.

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