The Footfall Monitoring Industry is Changing

Footfall monitoring is the term used to describe ‌the use of electronic devices to count the number of people moving in and out of a space. These devices - known as people counters - are usually installed at the entrances to a building, room or space and are activated each time a person crosses a threshold that has been configured in the device settings.

The Footfall Monitoring Industry is Changing

Image Credit: Terabee

The detection mechanism in the device is dependent on the technology used. Examples of these technologies include thermal detection, Wi-Fi tracking, Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensing, video counting, and infrared beams. In particular, Time-of- Flight sensing conforms to privacy regulations while providing unrivaled accuracy, making it a leading technology for footfall monitoring.

Footfall data is collected in real-time and is subsequently transmitted via the internet to an analytics platform for analysis. This article will discuss how Time-of-Flight technology is driving the footfall monitoring industry.

What are the Latest Trends in Footfall Counting?

Analysts are predicting impressive worldwide growth rates in people counting systems of 9% to 12% each year over the next five years, and the significant growth in demand for footfall counting solutions is being driven by the rapid increase in the numbers of retail outlets, shopping malls and transportation hubs.1,2,3

Elsewhere, the integration of IoT and Cloud services in Smart Building solutions is also increasing the demand for people-counting solutions.

The Growth of Retail

In developed and emerging economies, the proliferation of retail outlets, supermarkets, and shopping malls is responsible for the increase in demand for people counting solutions.2,3

These solutions assist retail stores in understanding customer preferences and behaviors, in addition to improving staff planning, space management and crowd management.

The entertainment and hospitality sectors are also benefiting from these solutions.

North America is particularly dominant in the adoption of people counting systems as a result of its adoption of advanced in-store technologies.2

However, the Asia-Pacific region is showing the highest rates of growth, partly due to the efforts made by the government to attract foreign investment.3 Similarly, emerging economies such as Brazil and China show that the adoption of people counting technology is driven by the growth of the retail sector.2

The Footfall Monitoring Industry is Changing

Image Credit: Terabee

The Push Toward Green Energy

It is widely agreed upon that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way in which buildings are used and managed globally. It has accelerated the trend towards hybrid (and remote) working, and consequently, building and facilities managers have been made to adapt how they manage real estate occupancy.

Despite its dramatic impact, the pandemic has merely accelerated a pre-existing pattern that has been happening in recent years.

With increasing pressure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions being felt worldwide, 40% of energy consumption and 36% of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions – as estimated by the European Union - are a result of buildings within EU territory.4

Hence, contributing to the EU’s initiative to increase the use of renewable energy in buildings by 100% by 2030, Smart Buildings have a significant role to play in reducing the consumption of energy in Europe and across the globe.4

The Footfall Monitoring Industry is Changing

Image Credit: Terabee

Technology Advancements

Furthering the development of footfall monitoring technologies is the growing need for accuracy in this sector. Uni- and bi-directional people counting systems can now achieve accuracies of 96% or better.1

Additionally, they may connect with advanced analytical platforms for in-store analytics, queue management, building management and others.5

By automating controls and optimizing internal systems from heating and ventilation to lighting and the consumption of all electrical devices, Smart Buildings can realize significant energy savings. Ongoing energy performance improvements can be realized through continuous monitoring and auditing of energy levels, in combination with an understanding of the factors influencing energy consumption — such as the building’s occupancy levels.

Frédéric Tabus, Market Intelligence Manager, Terabee

The Footfall Monitoring Industry is Changing

Image Credit: Terabee

How do Facilities Managers Benefit?

More employers are shifting towards hybrid working, and consequently, building occupancy levels have become a key parameter in reducing cost.

Employers need the tools to understand occupancy on any given day and be able to book workspaces, desks and meeting rooms. At the same time, facilities managers need to rationalize and reorganize space within the building according to occupancy levels, to reduce space and associated costs when and where appropriate.

Frédéric Tabus, Market Intelligence Manager, Terabee

Building managers must balance the importance of creating a safe and comfortable workplace — with appropriate amenities such as childcare facilities, leisure and fitness — with the requirement to reduce costs. Effective decision-making is contingent on critical information about space occupancy, which is supplied by footfall monitoring solutions.

The Footfall Monitoring Industry is Changing

Image Credit: Terabee

People counting devices enable building owners and facilities managers to:

  • Optimize space utilization and room occupancy: Utilizing real-time as well as historical data; facility managers have access to an unbiased, around-the-clock picture of room occupancy, people flow and space utilization. Accurate data is useful when it comes to informing future planning and reducing costs.
  • Improve employee experience: Employees have the ability to make their own decisions on the utilization of space, aided by real-time data.
  • Develop Smart Building solutions: Invaluable data provided by people monitoring devices allow building managers to optimize staff levels and expenditure, monitor energy usage, measure marketing performance, monitor conversion rates, and identify trends. 

Applications of Footfall Counting 

Terabee footfall counting solutions use Time-of-Flight technology to record the movement of people at an accuracy of at least 95%. A sensor in the device emits a light signal at a near infrared wavelength that is reflected back to the sensor when it encounters an obstacle – a person, for example.

The time-lapse between the transmission and reception of the signal provides an accurate calculation of the distance to the obstacle (with signals being transmitted several times per second). Since each pixel gives a distance measurement, a depth image can be created to show an approximate shape (and direction of movement) of the obstacle.

 An office space with two entrances may serve as an illustration: monitoring devices are fitted over each entrance to count the number of people entering or leaving the space.

Count data is then sent in real-time via MQTT(S) or HTTP(S) to a server or the Cloud, where it is kept in a database. The analytics software can then use this data to determine people flows, occupancy rates and other metrics. 

This data can also be shared with a building management system or other specialized applications, including room booking, catering, and cleaning management systems. 

The Footfall Monitoring Industry is Changing

Image Credit: Terabee

For example, the building’s HVAC system can be controlled in relation to occupancy levels. This makes it very reactive and reduces cost and CO2 emissions. Heating and air conditioning are only used when and where they are needed. This also ensures the comfort of occupants within the space.

Clément Peltrault, Product Manager, Terabee

 Time-of-Flight people counting devices are well suited for: 

  • Space and facilities optimization
  • Staffing level optimization
  • Occupancy monitoring
  • HVAC systems integration
  • Energy savings
  • Maximum capacity compliance 

“A successful people counting solution must benefit all parties involved – from employees to building owners, managers and affiliated services. It must be easy to install, configure and maintain. And it must also be reliable, secure and guarantee the privacy of occupants,” Tabus continued.5 

PeopleCounting Solutions from Terabee 

Terabee’s 3D Time-of-Flight people counting solutions incorporate a unique counting algorithm to provide real-time and historical footfall monitoring data. Building owners and facilities managers are thus given invaluable insights into decision-making and business analysis. 

Terabee People Counting L-XL 

The People Counting L-XL device from Terabee utilizes Time-of-Flight technology to give footfall counts in large passageways and entrances to an accuracy of 98% or more. 

Its advanced ToF camera can differentiate between people and objects and can count foot traffic bi-directionally as people move in or out of a space. The device can be installed quickly and easily on high ceilings and fits all wide indoor entrances up to 15 meters. Optionally, an IoT platform may also be integrated with the device. 

Terabee’s People Counting L-XL is in full compliance with GDPR regulations as it does not capture personal information, unlike current facial recognition technology. Transmission of the data via Power over Ethernet or LoRaWAN is available with two product variations. 

Introducing Terabee People Counting L-XL LoRa 

In response to growing demand, Terabee People Counting L-XL LoRa device equips the People Counting L-XL with a Long Range Wide Area Network (LoRaWAN) data transmission capability for wide door applications. Installation is quicker and less expensive, without the need to pull Ethernet cables. 

These People Counting L-XL devices feature: 

  • 3D depth people counting sensor
  • 100% GDPR compliant by design, no camera
  • Easy to install and configure via Web GUI
  • Multi-device support for wide door counting
  • Two status LEDs for easy troubleshooting
  • Effective in low light conditions
  • Remote or local firmware updates
  • Remote device configuration via Device Management Services (PoE model) or via LoRaWAN Downlink Commands (LoRa model)
  • Data transmission via LoRaWAN or Ethernet
  • Powerful people counting algorithm with 98% accuracy 

Terabee People Counting M 

The Terabee People Counting M device is a compact version of the People Counting L-XL. It is more suited to ‌conventional, smaller doorways and narrow passageways. It is able to count foot traffic in both directions, counting one person at a time with 95% accuracy. The People Counting M is a viable option where cost is a limiting factor. 

The Footfall Monitoring Industry is Changing

Image Credit: Terabee

The device features: 

  • Ethernet and Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Compact design (85 m x 35 mm)
  • Easy installation and configuration via a Web GUI
  • Remote device management and firmware updates via Device Management Services
  • Data integration to Cloud and servers via HTTP(S) or MQTT(S)
  • GDPR compliance 

There has never been a greater need for advanced people counting solutions in Smart Buildings. Contact Terabee today to speak to an expert about the challenges of footfall monitoring. 

References

  1. KBV Research (2021) People Counting System Market Size [online] Available at: https://www.kbvresearch.com/people-counting-system-market/
  2. Markets and Markets. People Counting System Market[online] Available at: https://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/people-counting-system-market-206905443.html
  3. Mordor Intelligence. People Counting System Market[online] Available at: https://www.mordorintelligence.com/industry-reports/people-counting-system-market
  4. European Commission. Energy performance of buildings directive. [online] Available at: https://energy.ec.europa.eu/topics/energy-efficiency/energy-efficient-buildings/energy-performance-buildings-directive_en
  5. Terabee. An introduction to how people counting technology can transform smart buildings [online] Available at: https://www.terabee.com/an-introduction-to-how-people-counting-technology-can-transform-smart-buildings/ 

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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