Applications - Technology insights - Use cases

Build people counting applications with Terabee 3Dcam 80×60

Early in Terabee 3Dcam 80x60 product development, we tested our depth camera for indoor people counting applications. As a proof of concept, we partnered with InnoGex to install a device in their main office building's entrance.
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The 3D camera was installed on the ceiling where its wide field of view of 57°x74° enabled the whole entrance to be monitored with just one device. We connected the device to an UP Board computer and added a WiFi antenna to transmit data back to us.
People Counting Visualization

We developed an OpenNI SDK, available to all customers, and wrote an algorithm to recognize people from a top-down view and assign them a tracking ID. We also drew a line in our software to represent the door's threshold. This enables us to count each identified person as going in or out of the building when they cross that line. We then built a dashboard monitoring ins and outs over time to make the data actionable.

The system works well day and night thanks to our active Time-of-flight technology. The 80x60 pixel depth resolution is ideal for detecting the movement of people but is still limited enough that you cannot detect the specific identity of a person, meaning that their privacy is never breached. This is a real boon in times of GDPR compliance and is one of the technologies key advantages over RGB camera systems.

Here is a quick video we made to illustrate how the system works:

You will notice that the 3D camera is able to count multiple people going in and out at the same time. Our dynamic background feature rejects non-moving objects or people in the camera's field of view, for improved tracking performance.

As of today, InnoGex is very happy with their installation and is actively using people counting data to measure the success of their events and to optimize their staffing accordingly.

Why use Time-of-Flight 3D cameras to count people?

People counting solutions offer the opportunity to optimize office space and energy consumption. Data on how many people are in a building can help tune heat, ventilation, and air conditioning systems as well as manage lighting. By installing a device on every door, you could also analyze the flow and of people in an office, and detect if there are unused rooms or if occupancy limits are breached.

Businesses with a physical presence such as retail, banking, insurance, car dealerships, and malls can benefit from accurate people counting to measure footfall and optimize their stores’ layout. If several devices are installed to cover a whole room, then our 3D cameras can also be used to measure how much time is spent in different areas such as aisles, desks, waiting lines or point of sale assets.

Usually, these applications are fulfilled by adding software on top of CCTV systems, WiFi tracking, Bluetooth tracking, clickers (i.e. people standing near doors with manual counting devices), infrared beams, and other simpler, less reliable systems. Each system has its strengths and weaknesses. For example, you can not always film with an RGB camera everywhere, while not everyone has a smartphone with activated WiFi or Bluetooth and single beams have a hard time measuring two or more people walking in at the same time.

By using our 3D Time-of-Flight technology, you can get more reliable and accurate counting data, especially if you have large doors, wide areas to cover or need to operate in low light, or even dark, environments. Furthermore, compared to laser systems, our technology is always eye-safe!

For more information, you can check out the Terabee 3Dcam 80x60 product page, where you will find technical specs, documentation and be able to order a unit for testing and application development purposes.

If you would like to work with us to build a people counting system, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss specific requirements with you.
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