Smart building

Which Smart Building sensors are used in People Counting?

Practically any type of sensor can be deployed in smart buildings, providing valuable insights into any of a number of key parameters. Typical smart building solutions leverage sensors that monitor temperature, humidity, motion, contact, and/or gas to provide insights into a wide range of property KPIs.
People Counting in Smart Buildings

What is the purpose of these different types of smart building sensors, and which of them can be used in people counting applications?

Different types of smart building sensors

Temperature sensors are used to detect thermal variations in the air or in a range of substrates. The conventional temperature sensor is the thermocouple which monitors temperature as a function of a voltage differential at the junction between two wires. When integrated with IoT-functionality, temperature sensors can continuously monitor the ambient temperature so businesses can automate heating and ventilation (HVAC). Additionally, they can be used to monitor process temperatures and alert users when machinery is approaching critical set-points.

Humidity sensors are typically based on capacitance, and they are similarly used to maintain comfortable ambient conditions in smart buildings like office blocks. When integrated into HVAC systems, humidity sensors can alert property managers if humidity reaches out-of-band levels, which may indicate heating and ventilation equipment failure.

Contact sensors have been used in retail environments for years. They operate on a simple mechanism that transmits a signal when two pieces of a sensor are in/out of contact with one another. These are often used on external doors for energy efficiency and security purposes. With IoT interconnectivity, it is possible for property managers to get a live, remote view of any door equipped with contact sensors.

Gas sensors are used to sample ambient conditions and report on air quality. Even domestic spaces are usually equipped with rudimentary carbon monoxide (CO) smart building sensors for regulatory purposes, but a wider push for greater commercial air quality has seen a significant increase in the number of smart buildings sensors monitoring the level of oxygen and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), as well as harmful gases, to ensure the highest air quality is maintained.

Motion sensors detect movement, usually via infrared technology, to provide information on the occupancy of the monitored space. These range from simple infrared beam detectors to more complex 3D cameras. These are at the heart of some of the most intuitive smart building sensing solutions, including passive security systems that can alert businesses to intruders, and automatic heating and lighting based on real-time occupancy level detection.

People Counting devices from Terabee

People Counting solutions from Terabee

Contact sensors can, to a limited extent, be used to monitor footfall as a function of how often a door is opened and closed. But only motion sensors provide the accuracy required for smart building systems to operate as intended. Discrete Time-of-Flight (ToF) infrared smart building sensors allow building managers to easily anonymously count people entering and exiting the property. 

The accuracy and precision of individual systems varies depending on a number of factors, but the Terabee 3D Time-of-Flight people counting solution can reliably track visitors with 95% accuracy or better, using a proprietary people counting algorithm to distinguish between individuals in crowded spaces. The People Counting L-XL device from Terabee is ideal for large doorways, hallways, and wide meeting rooms and open spaces, while the People Counting M device is optimized for standard doors. Interested in learning more?

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