People counting - Smart building

Workplace occupancy monitoring via People Counters

The costs of leasing space – along with heating, lighting, ventilating and cleaning – represent a serious financial load for any business. But how can companies actively monitor their use of space in order to ensure they are getting the most out of these substantial costs?
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Understanding how your professional real estate space is utilized is essential in order to use it efficiently and minimize wasted capital. Having detailed information on how many people occupy a given space at different times of day, for example, can enable better decision-making on the allocation of valuable real-estate resources. Are certain parts of your office building prone to overcrowding at certain times? Could a rarely-used meeting room be put to better use? Would you be better off downsizing to smaller premises?

Harnessing people counting technology

By positioning people counting devices in doorways, the number of people entering or leaving a space can be accurately measured. Terabee’s Time-of-Flight technology is capable of counting multiple people at the same time, enabling accurate people counting even with bidirectional traffic and people in close proximity to each other.

Data collection and analysis can be performed via Terabee’s Cloud API or by pushing people counting data to your own platform in real-time using common protocols such as HTTPS and MQTT. This data can be used to create insightful analytics to make your business more efficient. Moreover it can ensure that you:

  • Avoid creating overcrowded areas
  • Discover and make better use of underutilized spaces 
  • Understand meeting room usage 
People Counting Systems

Optimize costs and reduce expenses

With buildings accounting for around 40% of global energy usage, heating and lighting carry significant costs for most companies.1 Yet, virtually all companies pay to heat, cool and illuminate unoccupied rooms every day. Automating heating, lighting and ventilation in response to room occupancy offers a way for companies to realize significant reductions in these costs and contribute to their green agenda. 

Room occupancy data from people counting systems can be used to optimize lighting and HVAC systems in response to need. Lights can be automatically switched on when a room is occupied and switched off when it is unoccupied. Heating can be adapted to heat areas only where required and automatically ramp down when people start to leave the workplace. Ventilation can be provided to specific areas in direct response to the distribution of personnel.

Using people counting technology to automate heating, ventilation and lighting systems can enable drastic reductions in energy usage, realizing substantial reductions in both energy expenditure and carbon emissions. Research suggests that demand-controlled ventilation could reduce energy consumption by over 50% if accurate information about the number of occupants of a room is readily available.2

Getting insights on room occupancy

By monitoring room occupancy, people counting solutions enable the easy calculation of people density within rooms and corridors. A live count of room occupants per square meter can be used to trigger screens or other visual indicators such as red and green lights to let people know when it is available for them to enter a space.

People counting and privacy

The manner in which people counting data is collected is important. While conventional imaging technologies such as CCTV and other vision-based cameras are effective ways of obtaining real-time data and calculated metrics on room occupancy, they also necessarily capture identifying details of workers. Such systems, therefore, introduce a variety of privacy-related issues which can be difficult for employers to overcome.

Intrinsic anonymity via infrared ToF technology

Terabee’s People Counting devices offer a solution to this problem by using infrared Time-of-Flight (ToF) technology to collect 3D imaging data, which is intrinsically anonymous.

The People Counter works by illuminating a space with a pulse of invisible infrared light, which reflects off people and objects. By measuring the amount of time taken for the light to reflect back to the sensor, the device can calculate the distance of surfaces in the scene and build up a 3D depth image.

Capturing spatially resolved depth information means that data gathered by the sensor can be used for accurate people counting. However, unlike an ordinary camera the sensor doesn’t collect identifiable information on individuals. This ensures fully-GDPR compliant people counting without needing to worry about privacy issues.

people counting system

People counting from Terabee

The People Counting L-XL device is a completely GDPR-compliant way of obtaining accurate people counting data. By using ToF technology to monitor the number of people entering and exiting doorways or corridors, this people counting device enables organizations to obtain accurate people counting data without the privacy concerns associated with other technologies. 

Offering accuracy of 98% or higher, the People Counting L-XL device is capable of filtering out static objects and counting multiple people passing in both directions as they enter or leave a space. You can also combine up to 5 devices for people counting in wide open spaces.

To find out more about how Terabee’s people counting solutions can benefit your business, get in touch with a member of the Terabee team today.

References and further reading

  1. Ahmad, J., Larijani, H., Emmanuel, R., Mannion, M. & Javed, A. Occupancy detection in non-residential buildings – A survey and novel privacy preserved occupancy monitoring solution. Applied Computing and Informatics (2018) doi:10.1016/j.aci.2018.12.001.
  2. Mysen, M., Berntsen, S., Nafstad, P. & Schild, P. G. Occupancy density and benefits of demand-controlled ventilation in Norwegian primary schools. Energy and Buildings 37, 1234–1240 (2005).

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