What is a footfall counter?
By counting all people entering and leaving the site throughout the day, footfall counter enable you to know how many people have passed through your site, and also to know the number of people physically on site at any moment in time. Automatic counters differ from their manual cousins by being able to provide crucial information when the site has multiple entrances and exits – counts which are precise and reliable over time. So whether you are managing a shopping centre, buildings used by the general public or office blocks, such information concerning the use and occupancy of your sites is essential for making both strategic and operational decisions.
Choosing an automatic counting system
There are various types of footfall counter. The process to ensure installing the people-counting system best suited to your requirements starts with a site audit. The architecture of every site is unique and may also be complex. Therefore, as ‘one size does not fit all’, there needs to be different sensor types to cater for each site’s particularities.
What are the various types of footfall counters and how do they work?
The physical functioning mode of a sensor depends on the technology employed in its design and the use to which it will be put. Below we describe the counting technologies most in use by the market specialists.
This camera is recommended and used by Quantaflow in some 98% of cases. It is the most discrete and accurate counting solution in the market and blends perfectly with all types of architecture. Its accuracy is greater than 99% and it has proved its effectiveness in counting very dense visitor flows, irrespective of the height at which the sensors are positioned. The 3D video camera, powered by PoE (Power over Ethernet), offers bi-directional counting and is fully compliant with the relevant data privacy regulations. To cover very wide zones, several sensors may be installed and, thanks to the sensors’ ability to be in constant communication with each other, a person recorded by two different sensors will only be counted once. In addition, as the camera functions with updatable algorithms which can be activated at any moment, adding new functionalities becomes quite simple.
Infra-red sensors are complementary to the 3D cameras and provide data accuracy greater than 95%. These sensors, which work equally well outdoors and indoors, are ideally suited to both narrow passageways, such as escalators and stairwells, and extremely wide traffic zones. Although less powerful faced with dense traffic because of the way they work, they are nevertheless very accurate in both poorly-lit areas and in spaces with very high levels of luminosity.
Functioning principle: Detection of a person is carried out by the infra-red signal emitted by the device being intercepted by the individual.
Induction loop counters
The two footfall counters described above are for counting pedestrians either indoors or outdoors. Induction loop counters are used for counting vehicles, notably at the entrances to car parks or for counting the occupancy of motorway service and/or rest areas. The system is installed in the ground and can differentiate between the passage of a goods vehicle and that of a passenger car, and also detects the direction in which the vehicle passed over it.
Functioning principle: The counting of the vehicle is activated by the vehicle’s metallic ‘footprint’.
How does counting visitor flows help in managing and analysing your site?
When your site is equipped with the appropriate sensors, you have the data enabling you to understand and analyse the flow of visitors through your site. Here are some examples of the various uses to which such data can be put.
With the data from the sensors installed in your site you have the real-time measurement of the number of people on the site – site-occupancy, number of vacant places for new visitors, a view of the busiest times, etc. Thanks to the availability of occupancy alarms and gauges, on-site numbers can be controlled and the maximum instantaneous occupancy can be managed.
Analysing the number of visitors by day, week or month enables a better scheduling of resources on the site. For example, if Wednesday typically sees some 20% more visitors than the other days of the week, the number of security, maintenance and cleaning staff can be planned accordingly.
Performance analysis and comparisons
The data concerning all the site entries and exits enables an analysis of the site’s ‘performance’. Year-on-year comparisons, same-month figures for earlier years, etc. can all contribute to a better understanding of how the site is used.
Site attractiveness (visit time)
In the specific case of shopping centres, a good indicator of the attractiveness of a particular centre can be the total time that visitors spend inside. With comprehensive data available concerning occupancy, visit time, etc., you can evaluate the effect of the arrival or departure of a particular brand, of the effect of building improvements or extensions, of the result of any special events, etc.
If you wish to find out which are the most suitable of our people counting sensors for your specific needs, Get in touch