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 system.
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.
Using ToF People Counting Solutions in Real Life Scenarios
In one of our first people counting projects, we tested our Terabee 3Dcam 80x60 on the main entrance of a local building and partner of ours, InnoGex. This helped them measure the success of their conferences and events. The technology proved its power and InnoGex are currently using their people counting system to measure event attendance and optimize their staffing levels accordingly.
Now, we are enhancing our solution further. And where better to test it than in our own offices?
We hoped that people counting could help us optimize our staff planning and use our space more efficiently. To do this, we needed to understand how our staff uses our premises. We also wanted to know if our buildings are the right size for our needs and whether we have the right number of meeting and call rooms. To meet all these demands, we needed a people counting system that could provide detailed data about how we use our office buildings and rooms.
Installing our ToF hardware in our own offices
We installed our People Counting L-XL devices at the top of each entry on our premises. In total, we installed 17 devices at doorways across our eight main office spaces in four buildings.
Firstly, we needed to bring power and connectivity to all the devices we wanted to install. In places where having an ethernet cable was not practical, we had to ensure that there was a stable enough WiFi signal to push data to our analytics platform every minute.
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 people counting 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.
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 people counting system easier to install and set up.
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 systems 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.