People counting - Smart building - Technology insights

How Terabee’s People Counting software works

The people counting system market has witnessed a technological revolution. The unprecedented levels of detail, and data reliability, are compelling application industry players to adopt these advanced technologies.

Terabee People Counting L-XL is one of the latest entries into this increasingly competitive market. With a focus on accuracy and personal privacy, its ease of integration and configuration holds vast appeal to systems integrators.

In this article we take a look at how Terabee’s people counting technology works and the unique features and benefits that make it one of the leading people counting solutions on the market.

Time-of-Flight technology

Our technology is fundamentally different from other people counting solutions on the market. Terabee’s people counting solutions consist of discrete IoT hardware devices with embedded counting algorithms and an optional IoT platform. Using Time-of-Flight (ToF) 3D depth sensing, our visitor counter systems provide real-time or accumulative data relating to occupancy levels (with 98% accuracy, or better) by monitoring the number of people entering and exiting doorways or corridors.

While a number of different people counting technologies exist, Time-of-Flight technology used by Terabee makes people counting easier, more accurate and more secure. The sensor on the IoT hardware device emits near-infrared light that is invisible to the human eye. When the light hits a surface it is reflected back to the sensor. Because we know the speed of light, the time taken for the light to be emitted and received back enables us to precisely calculate a distance at very high speed and many times per second. Each pixel of the sensor is therefore a distance measurement in millimeters which results in a global depth map that can be used as a basis to detect forms and shapes like humans.

Time-of-Flight sensor capturing 3D images:

People Counting Software With 3d Camera
People Counting Software Output

People counting algorithm operations

Using this information, we apply algorithms that detect the shape of a head and shoulders, which helps to focus on human detection and filters out objects. Once detected, a new series of algorithms is used to track the person’s path under the device field of view.

Depending on the path taken, the person is counted IN (+1) or OUT (-1) after leaving the device field of view. Thanks to the embedded computing power and the wide field of view of the sensor, we can apply these algorithms on several people who pass under the device, whatever the direction they take.

Unlike stereo vision systems which capture an RGB image, 3D ToF sensing has the significant advantage of using direct 3D depth data, making it GDPR-compliant by design and guarantees user anonymity.

A feature of our technology is that all the data, from the depth information to the IN (+1) and OUT (-1) outputs, are directly processed on the device itself. This functionality allows the user to directly send the output data to a third-party platform or server. For systems integrators, it avoids the requirement for a subscription-based cloud computing platform or external gateway.

For integrators, easy integration with your software platform

Terabee people counting devices allow the count data to be easily integrated into third-party software environments via a REST API or the device’s data push features. The device API allows retrieval of the current counts, setting a certain number of counts or directly resetting them. This can be done easily on the same local LAN network where the device is located, by calling HTTP REST GET and POST APIs.

The device data push feature communication is a second way of sending the counting information directly to any server capable of receiving HTTP push or to any MQTT broker. This can be easily done by connecting to the web configuration interface on the device. The user has the possibility to indicate several parameters such as the HTTP URL to push the data or the MQTT publish topic, the protocol used, modify the payload format and information etc. Lastly, this push functionality can be sent by the device on a regular periodic basis, configurable by the user, with the information sent as soon as a counting action happens.

People Counting Softwre Gui
People Counting Software Architecture

To facilitate data interfacing procedures the Terabee People Counting L-XL’s data push features support multiple network protocols including HTTP/HTTPS GET and POST, and MQTT/MQTTS. The diagram on the left explains the high level principle of a possible data integration with People Counting L-XL pushing both to a third party broker and to Terabee IoT Platform.

Why use people counting systems?

Are you a systems integrator looking to deliver Smart Building solutions based on accurate people counting for your clients? An easy-to-install and competitive device that gives you the flexibility to push the data where it’s needed?

Discover more about our people counting products and technology. 

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