Shining a light on people occupancy sensors. How do occupancy sensors work?

Ever walk into a room and the lights magically turn on? That's the work of an occupancy sensor, a handy device that detects your presence and helps keeps spaces energy-efficient.
Occupancy counting in office

Understanding occupancy sensors

Occupancy sensors, also known as motion detectors or presence sensors, are ingenious devices designed to detect human presence within a designated area. Utilizing technologies like Passive Infrared (PIR) they can trigger automated responses such as lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system adjustments, and security measures based on detected motion. By monitoring thermal radiation, the thermal occupancy sensors identify the presence of humans inside a given area. The thermal sensor detects the infrared radiation that is naturally emitted by human bodies as heat but it doesn’t count non-human heat sources. These sensors calculate the difference in temperature between the human body and the surrounding air. 

They use infrared technology to track movement and temperature changes in a specific area in order to collect anonymized heat source image data with, which is represented as dots.

How Do Occupancy Sensors Work 800 X 800

The role of occupancy sensors

Occupancy counting systems precisely count the number of people entering and leaving a designated space, providing real-time data on how many individuals are present at any given moment. This data is crucial for several reasons:

Space management: Occupancy sensors have revolutionized space management in modern workplaces, especially in the context of meeting room booking and desk occupancy. These sensors can automate the detection of actual room and desk usage, addressing issues like no-shows by releasing unoccupied spaces back into the system, and facilitating spontaneous meeting arrangements by providing real-time availability data. This technology supports flexible seating arrangements like hot-desking by showing which workspaces are available in real-time. When the data is fed into a space management tool, organizations gain actionable insights into building and space use trends, allowing building managers to make informed decisions on workspace allocation, layout adjustments, and resource optimization. 

Energy management: Modern office buildings and co-working spaces use occupancy counting for efficient energy management. By understanding peak occupancy times, these spaces can automate heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and lighting systems to operate optimally via Building Management Systems (BMS). This reduces energy waste and lowers operational costs, supporting sustainability efforts and giving occupants a more comfortable environment.

Queue management: In scenarios where waiting times can affect customer satisfaction, such as at banks, exhibition centers or public service offices, occupancy counting can help manage queues more effectively. By monitoring how many people are inside at any time, facilities managers can adjust staffing levels or open new service counters to reduce wait times to improve the customer experience.

Safety and compliance: For venues subject to strict occupancy regulations, such as theaters, nightclubs and conference centers, maintaining compliance with safety codes is non-negotiable. Overcrowding can pose serious safety risks and lead to significant legal repercussions. Occupancy counting systems enable these venues to monitor numbers in real time, ensuring they stay within legal limits. Smart access is also a benefit, with the detection of unauthorized access or unusual patterns of movement within the building, which can trigger alerts for security personnel to respond to potential intrusions or threats.

People Occupancy Counting sensor from Terabee

Terabee’s People Occupancy Counting sensor uses advanced thermal imaging to offer real-time, high-precision occupancy monitoring. With its compact design and easy installation, it seamlessly integrates into various environments, from offices and meeting spaces to reception halls, enhancing space management capabilities. The device can focus on multiple regions of interest, up to eight, to monitor or exclude specific areas.

The sensor’s ability to count occupants accurately without capturing personal identifiable information (PII) ensures privacy compliance, aligning with GDPR regulations and respecting individuals’ rights to privacy within monitored spaces. Moreover it ensures precise occupancy tracking in all light conditions. This is ideal for fine-tuning energy management, optimizing space utilization and automating building operations.

People Occupancy Counting

Tailor your people counting systems to suit your project’s unique needs. Contact us to speak to an expert about your project’s challenges and requirements.

Related products

Terabee People Occupancy Counting

Get accurate occupancy data to maximize the management of meeting rooms and large spaces
Introducing state-of-the-art thermal GDPR-by-design People Occupancy Counting solution, designed to accurately detect and count individuals in any environment, from meeting rooms to large open-plan areas.

Leveraging advanced thermal imaging technology, the Terabee People Occupancy Counting ensures precise occupancy tracking in all light conditions. Ideal for fine-tuning energy management, optimizing space utilization, and automating building operations, it's the next-generation solution for modern space management.

Terabee People Flow Counting L-XL

GDPR compliant people counting device. Optimize value and reduce costs from your retail operation, smart building or office space
Using advanced Time-of-Flight technology, Terabee People Flow Counting L-XL is GDPR compliant and provides accurate people counting data (98% accuracy or more) by monitoring the number of people entering and exiting doorways or corridors.

Easy to configure and install on high ceilings, the Terabee People Flow Counting L-XL fits any kind of wide indoor entrance, up to 15 meters in a multi-device setup. Our people counting algorithm is capable of filtering out static objects and counting multiple people passing in both directions below the device as they enter or leave a space.

The solution consists of an IoT people counting device and an optional IoT platform. Two product variations allow transmission of the data via Power over Ethernet or LoRaWAN. Interested? Contact us.

Terabee People Flow Counting M 2.0

Get real-time people counting data for single doorways and narrow corridors
Real-time data is the backbone of our modern, fast-paced world especially when it comes to monitoring space usage, occupancy, energy efficiency, security, building performance or tailored services. The Terabee People Flow Counting M 2.0 device is GDPR compliant by design, with a real-time data capability, providing seamless, accurate, and highly effective footfall measurement, at a competitive price.

Using Time-of-Flight technology, the People Flow Counting M 2.0 solution guarantees anonymity in its operations, prioritizing data privacy protection while offering robust, reliable occupancy monitoring.

People Flow Counting M 2.0 is the perfect addition to your Building Management System. The “smaller sibling” of People Flow Counting L-XL, People Flow Counting M 2.0 is designed for smaller doorways and narrow corridors. It comes in both Power over Ethernet (PoE) and LoRa models to best suit your needs.
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