Applications - People counting - Use cases

People Counting at the Terabee Offices

Time-of-flight (ToF) technology is ideal for people counting and optimizing the use of space in offices.

To prove it, we developed and installed a people counting system at our own offices!

Here is how the process went.
linear sensor array
linear sensor array

Underused space is a waste of money. Estimates suggest that by optimizing their use of space, businesses could reduce their needs by around 30%, translating to a significant reduction in costs.

Optimizing your space relies on understanding how your space is currently being used and figuring out which areas can be used more efficiently without disturbing your staff. Reliable and accurate people counting technology is, therefore, vital for optimizing the use of business space.

A range of people counting systems are currently available, including ultrasonic sensors, WiFi tracking, infrared sensors, CCTV, stereovision, and thermal cameras. Each method has its limitations, often concerning accuracy and protecting the privacy of people moving around a space.

Time-of-Flight (ToF) cameras are the latest technology to make a splash in the people counting industry. ToF provides accurate people counting in a package that is simple, compact, cost-effective, and easy to use. All while protecting the privacy of the people it is counting.

At Terabee, we supply ToF sensing solutions for a range of applications, including people counting. We’ve also developed a people counting algorithm that is reliably generating 98% people counting accuracy, or better!

How does our ToF technology work?

Our cameras work by illuminating a space with pulsed light which is invisible to the human eye. Objects or people reflect the light to a sensor in the camera. By measuring the time taken for the light to travel from the camera to the object and back again, we can calculate the distance to all the objects in a scene and capture depth and intensity information simultaneously. The technology offers high frame rates and requires no additional illumination. This means it works well in low-light conditions and even complete darkness. ToF technology is currently proving to be one of the most accurate ways to monitor people within a business premises.
linear sensor array

From ToF data to actionable, visualized data

We installed single-board computers with our cameras which applied our custom algorithm to ToF data, detecting and counting people entering and leaving spaces. Our system can detect multiple people moving in and out of a space simultaneously and ‘dense’ people traffic at busy times or in congested doorways. As a part of this, our background suppression feature rejects stationary objects and bystanders in the camera’s field of view to further improve count accuracy.

Data from our devices is pushed to our online dashboard every minute via WiFi or ethernet. The dashboard allows users to visualize people count data so that it is easy to understand. In our case, we use it to see how Terabee’s office space is being used over time, and key decision-makers at Terabee can access our people counting data from anywhere, at anytime. One of the things we quickly discovered was that our open-plan meeting area was poorly utilised, but that small meeting rooms were heavily utilized, so we converted the open-plan space into two new meeting rooms. We also learned when our peak work hours are and which buildings and facilities are used in which parts of the day. This data will help us make decisions about our future real-estate and office needs.
depth sensor

What’s next?

Our internal people counting solutions may already be up and running, but we aren’t done yet! We’d like to connect people counting data to our heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to reduce our energy consumption and reduce our carbon footprint.

We are also continuously working on improving our people counting system. Currently, we’re making the system easier to install and set up.
live human count

Do you want to use ToF to optimize your business?

3D ToF technology is a cost-effective, compact, and lightweight technology that can operate in complete darkness. We’ve built high-accuracy people counting solutions that are privacy compliant by default.

If you are looking for a 3D ToF technology for people counting, or for a complete solution, Terabee can help.

References and Further Reading

‘Global businesses could collectively save up to $1.5tn through efficient use of office space, finds Philips’
‘A Survey of Human-Sensing: Methods for Detecting Presence, Count, Location, Track, and Identity.’ — T. Teixeira, G. Dublon, A. Savvides. ENALAB Technical Report, 2010.
‘IoT-based Occupancy Monitoring Techniques for Energy-Efficient Smart Buildings’ — K. Akkaya, I. Guvenc, R. Aygun, N. Pala, A. Kadri, IEEE, 2015.
‘Building occupancy estimation and detection: A review’ — Z. Chen, C. Jiang, L. Xie, Energy and Buildings, 2018.
‘A Field Guide to Office Technology’ — E. Sobey, Chicago Review Press, 2007.
‘Time-of-Flight Cameras: Principles, Methods and Applications’ — M. Hansard, S. Lee, O. Choi, R.P. Horaud, Springer, 2013.
‘Time of Flight Principle’
‘Build People Counting Applications with Terabee 3DCcam 80×60’
‘Terabee 3Dcam 80x60 - the compact, robust and affordable 3D Time-of-Flight camera’

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