The ultimate guide to occupancy sensors
This article will explore building occupancy sensors and how they work.
What are occupancy sensors?
Occupancy sensors are electronic devices capable of counting the number of people occupying a given space. From airports to supermarkets, many different types of businesses rely on occupancy sensors for valuable insight into how their premises are used, and how this use changes over time.
With more and more businesses now realizing the advantages of occupancy sensors, the market is now flooded with competing technologies. Some systems scan entire rooms to measure occupancy directly: these include the likes of RFID and WiFi/beacon occupancy sensors. Most systems instead use sensors positioned in doorways to count the number of people entering and exiting a space. These doorway sensors range from simple low-cost systems like break-beam sensors, right up to highly accurate thermal sensor or camera-based systems that require specialist calibration.
How do Time-of-Flight occupancy sensors work?
Time-of-Flight (ToF) occupancy sensors belong to the latter group of entrance/exit monitors – they use a completely different approach to solving the challenge of people counting.
Time-of-Flight occupancy sensors work by emitting invisible pulses of infrared light, then measuring how those signals reflect off the environment. Using precise timing technology, these occupancy sensors can measure the time taken for infrared pulses to reflect back to the sensor (the time of flight), and use this information to calculate the distance that the light has traveled.
In this way, Time-of-Flight occupancy sensors can gather depth information about their surroundings, and they use this to build up a 3D picture of the world in much the same way that a bat uses echolocation to sense its environment.
Applications and benefits of occupancy sensors
Virtually all kinds of businesses can benefit from occupancy sensors.
For example, in offices, historical occupancy data can be used to identify under-utilized or overcrowded areas. This, in turn, enables informed decision-making based on real data, regarding the allocation of different spaces. In these applications, occupancy sensors help business owners maximize the value of their available space, improve employee well-being and even reveal opportunities to downsize to smaller premises.
In public spaces such as shop floors and congress centers, occupancy sensors provide valuable insight into visitor behavior. Harnessing this information can transform businesses, enabling staff schedules and store layout optimization in response to actual foot traffic data. In addition, occupancy sensors ensure compliance with maximum capacity regulations.
Occupancy sensors are also seeing increasing deployment in “Smart Building” applications. By networking occupancy sensors with building subsystems – such as lighting and HVAC – Smart Buildings can automate utilities in response to room occupancy; resulting in significant reductions in energy use and expenditure.
What are the best occupancy sensors?
Most occupancy sensors require some level of compromise between cost, ease of use, and accuracy. However, by harnessing the power of ToF technology, Terabee occupancy sensors deliver reliable and straightforward people counting data at a fraction of the price of other occupancy sensor systems.
Privacy protection by design
Terabee occupancy sensors or Time-of-Flight-based people counters use infrared sensor arrays to gather 3D depth information about their surroundings. This information is then processed by onboard algorithms, which accurately identify people and track their paths while filtering out static objects—the result: over 98% accuracy even in crowded, bi-directional traffic.
Crucially, Terabee’s Time-of-Flight occupancy sensors are intrinsically anonymous. Our infrared sensors are engineered with limited spatial resolution: enough to ensure the accurate identification of people, without capturing any identifying personal information. This means that – unlike camera-based systems – our occupancy sensors with full GDPR compliance by design.
On top of all this, Terabee ToF occupancy sensors are low-cost and can be installed and configured in minutes.
Interested in upgrading your business? Check out our product pages to learn more about Terabee’s unique, cost-effective occupancy sensors, or get in touch with us today with any questions – we’d be happy to hear from you.