What is people counting?
It is used to gather data on foot traffic and building occupancy in areas such as retail stores, universities, public spaces, and office buildings.
This article will explore what people counting is, as well as how people counting sensors and time-of-flight people counting technology works.
People counting can be done manually, but it is more commonly done using automated systems such as cameras, infrared sensors, or Wi-Fi tracking technology. Privacy protection is key when choosing which technology to use.
The different people counting options use different methods to detect and count individuals, such as detecting body heat or motion, analyzing Wi-Fi signals emitted by smartphones, or the use of 3D imaging technology.
The data gathered from people counting can be used to optimize business operations, reduce energy consumption, improve customer service, and make informed decisions about staffing and inventory management. It can also be used for security and safety purposes.
Time-of-Flight (ToF) people counting sensors and people counting software are used to accurately measure the number of people entering and exiting a specific area. These systems give anonymous, privacy-protected data and they are used in a variety of settings such as Smart Buildings, commercial real estate management for occupancy monitoring, universities and airports.
What are Time-of-Flight people counting sensors?
Time-of-flight people counting sensors are devices that use light to measure the distance between the sensor and the individual. The sensor sends out a pulse of light and measures the time it takes for the light to bounce back. This measurement provides the distance between the sensor and the individual.
Because we know the speed of light, the time it takes for the light to be emitted and received back lets us 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 depth map that can be used as a basis to detect forms and shapes like humans.
Time-of-Flight sensors do not contain a camera nor do they use camera technology. Time-of-Flight people counting technology, used by Terabee, is more accurate and more secure than other forms of people counting that collect images, video or mobile phone data.
By their design, the data from Time-of-Flight people counting devices and software is GDPR compliant. As they cannot gather any images, videos or private information from the people being counted, ToF-enabled people counters meet data privacy guidelines and they fully respect individual privacy.
How does People Counting software work?
People counting software is used to analyze the data provided by time-of-flight people counters. Terabee’s people counting software uses advanced algorithms to accurately detect and count individuals entering and exiting a specific area. The software is easy to install and can be integrated with various time-of-flight people counting sensors. It uses various algorithms to detect and count individuals entering and exiting a specific area.
Algorithms that detect the shape of a head and shoulders are applied to the sensor data 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 the person takes, 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, these algorithms can be applied on several people who pass under the device at the same time, whatever the direction they take.
Unlike stereo vision systems which capture an RGB image, 3D Time-of-Flight sensing has the significant advantage of using direct 3D depth data, not a camera. This makes the data gathered GDPR-compliant by design and guarantees user anonymity and full privacy protection.
A feature of Terabee technology is that all the data, from the depth information to the IN (+1) and OUT (-1) outputs, are directly processed on the people counter 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.
See also the following articles for more information: A brief introduction to Time-of-Flight sensing. Part 1 The basics and A brief introduction to Time-of-Flight sensing. Part 2 Indirect ToF Sensors.
Benefits of Time-of-Flight people counting
Time-of-flight people counting sensors and people counting software provide several benefits to facilities managers and those who manage commercial real estate or shared workspace. These benefits include:
Privacy protection of individuals and compliance with GDPR regulations is assured by Time-of-Flight people counting sensors, due to the very nature of the technology they use.
Time-of-flight people counting sensors and people counting software provide accurate data on the number of people entering and exiting a specific area to give insights on facility use and space occupancy.
People counting enabled by Time-of-Flight technology gives real-time data on the number of people entering and exiting a specific area. This allows businesses to make informed decisions based on real use, such as restroom cleaning schedules, HVAC system management, and services in staff restaurants. These sensors can also supply historical data.
Time-of-flight people counting sensors and people counting software are cost-effective, easy-to-install solutions that enable informed decision-making.
People Counters from Terabee
Terabee offers several people counters depending on your use case. The People Counting L-XL device offers easy installation and configuration, and it can aggregate data taken from up to five separate sensors. This offers a highly accurate solution to gather data on people flow at large doors, entrances and indoor gates, such as university auditoriums and congress centers.
The Terabee People Counting M device is suitable for standard doors and narrow corridors, such as in meeting rooms and washrooms.
Terabee people counting devices and software work across a wide variety of applications. If you would like to learn how to deploy people counting or footfall monitoring solutions in your facility, contact a member of the Terabee team today. We’d be delighted to accompany you in your people counting challenges and requirements.