Workplace Occupancy Monitoring via People Counters

Businesses must spend considerable amounts on leasing appropriate space for their activities, along with related charges for heating, lighting, water, ventilation and cleaning. Companies should actively monitor the use of space in order to ensure that these substantial costs represent a beneficial return on investment.

Better understanding of how professional real estate space is utilized is a key factor in ensuring that space is used efficiently and capital expenditure is minimized.

For example, detailed information on how many people occupy a particular space at certain times of day will help facilitate better decision-making around how valuable real-estate resources are allocated.

Certain parts of an office building may be prone to overcrowding at certain times, or an underutilized meeting room could be put to better use. It may even be the case that downsizing to smaller premises would be beneficial.

Workplace Occupancy Monitoring via People Counters

Image Credit: Terabee 

Leveraging the Power of People Counting Technology

By fitting people counting devices to doorways, it is possible to accurately measure the number of people entering or leaving a space.

Terabee’s Time-of-Flight technology is able to count several people at the same time, facilitating accurate people counting even when working with bidirectional traffic or people moving in close proximity to one another.

Terabee’s Cloud API can be used to manage data collection and perform analyses. This can also be achieved by transferring people counting data to a third party platform in real-time via standard protocols such as HTTPS and MQTT.

Analysis of this data can provide insightful analytics and improve efficiency. On a practical level, this data can also help businesses to:

  • Avoid creating areas that are overcrowded
  • Identify and make better use of underutilized spaces
  • Understand and better manage meeting room usage

Workplace Occupancy Monitoring via People Counters

Image Credit: Terabee 

Optimize Costs and Reduce Expenses

Buildings account for approximately 40% of global energy usage, with most companies spending substantial amounts on heating and lighting.1 Despite these costs, many companies still spend money on heating, cooling and lighting unoccupied rooms on a daily basis.

The use of automated heating, lighting and ventilation that functions in line with room occupancy is a practical solution for companies looking to significantly reduce these costs while also making their operations more environmentally friendly.

Room occupancy data provided by people counting systems can be utilized to optimize HVAC and lighting systems according to need.

For example, lights may be automatically switched on and off depending on whether a room is occupied or not. Heating can be set to only heat specific areas as required, automatically ramping down as people begin to leave the building at the end of the working day.

Ventilation can also be directed to specific areas in direct response to personnel distribution and movement.

The use of people counting technology to automate ventilation, heating and lighting systems can lead to sizeable reductions in energy usage, also resulting in considerable reductions in both carbon emissions and energy expenditure.

Research has suggested that demand-controlled ventilation has the potential to reduce energy consumption by over 50% in environments where there is accurate real-time information available on the number of occupants.2

Gaining Insight into Room Occupancy

By accurately monitoring room occupancy, people counting solutions help facilitate the straightforward calculation of people density in rooms and corridors.

Values such as a live count of room occupants per square meter may be employed to trigger screens or visual indicators such as red and green lights, informing personnel of when they should or should not enter a particular space.

People Counting and Privacy Considerations

The approach to collecting people counting data is important, and while traditional imaging technologies such as CCTV or other vision-based cameras are able to provide real-time data and calculated metrics on room occupancy, they will also constantly capture identifying details of workers.

The nature of these systems introduces a range of privacy-related issues which can be challenging for employers to overcome.

Intrinsic Anonymity via Infrared ToF Technology

Terabee’s People Counting devices offer a solution to this challenge, employing infrared Time-of-Flight (ToF) technology to collect intrinsically anonymous 3D imaging data.

The People Counter illuminates a space using a pulse of invisible infrared light. This light reflects off people and objects, and measuring the time taken for the light to reflect back to the sensor allows the device to calculate the distance of surfaces in the scene, effectively building up a 3D depth image.

This approach to acquiring spatially resolved depth information ensures that data gathered by the sensor can be utilized for accurate people counting, but unlike a conventional camera, the sensor will not collect any identifiable information on individuals.

This approach ensures that people counting is fully-GDPR compliant and allows companies to leverage the power of this technology without needing to worry about privacy issues.

Workplace Occupancy Monitoring via People Counters

Image Credit: Terabee 

People Counting from Terabee

Terabee’s People Counting L-XL instrument offers a fully GDPR-compliant means of acquiring accurate people counting data.

The instrument’s use of ToF technology allows it to accurately monitor the number of people entering and exiting doorways or corridors, allowing organizations to maintain accurate people counting data without the inherent privacy concerns associated with other technologies.

The People Counting L-XL instrument offers accuracy of 98% or higher. It is also capable of filtering out static objects and counting multiple people passing in both directions, monitoring whether they are entering or leaving a space. Up to five instruments can also be combined to facilitate people counting in wide open spaces.

References

  1. Ahmad, J., Larijani, H., Emmanuel, R., Mannion, M. & Javed, A. Occupancy detection in non-residential buildings – A survey and novel privacy preserved occupancy monitoring solution. Applied Computing and Informatics (2018) doi:10.1016/j.aci.2018.12.001.
  2. Mysen, M., Berntsen, S., Nafstad, P. & Schild, P. G. Occupancy density and benefits of demand-controlled ventilation in Norwegian primary schools. Energy and Buildings 37, 1234–1240 (2005).

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Terabee.

For more information on this source, please visit Terabee.

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