How Does People Counting Work?

How people counting works

People counting is the act of counting people in to or out of an area. Typically this is done at an entrance or exit, with count data collected automatically by an electronic device called a people counter.

Also known as footfall counters, door counters, customer counters and visitor counters; these devices work by detecting when a person crosses an invisible count line that has been configured in their settings.

How the people counting device detects a person depends on the technology used. The most popular technologies are infrared ToF, thermal and stereo-vision - each has their own strengths and weaknesses.

Once collected, count data is normally sent via the internet (in near real-time) to a retail analytics platform for analysis.

COMPARE PEOPLE COUNTING TECHNOLOGY

Vector 4D - downward - small

How people counting works, in 3 easy steps

How People Counting Works - 1. Install Device
1. Install People Counting Device

Mount device face down above entrance-way to the area you want to count people in or out of.

How People Counting Works - 2. Set Up Count Line
2. Configure Count Lines

Use the setup tools to draw invisible lines that count the number of people that cross them.

How People Counting Works - 3. Collect Count Data
3. Collect Count Data

Sit back and relax as accurate count data is collected automatically.

Go beyond people counting, improve customer experience DOWNLOAD VECTOR 4D BROCHURE

Why are Irisys people counters the best?

      Highly accurate - better than 99%
      Advanced functionality:
    • Staff detection
    • Staff call and attend
    • Dwell time monitoring
      Indoor and outdoor options
      Cloud device management platform
      Anonymous counting - privacy protected
      Works in tough conditions, even darkness
      Multi unit networks for wide openings
      Simple installation and configuration

How do different people counter technologies compare?

   
Infrared ToF people counter

eg. Vector 4D

Thermal people counter

eg. Gazelle 2

Stereo-video people counter
Advanced Features Staff detection Yes. Does not require any additional hardware or complicated set up. Staff detection is passive, all employees need to do is wear a special lanyard. n/a Yes, but requires additional hardware and set up can be complicated.
Staff call and attend Yes. Automated alerts for staff members can be raised when customers are detected waiting. n/a n/a
Dwell time monitoring Yes. The length of time customers spend in defined zones can be measured and reported. n/a Yes. Some stereo video people counters can measure and report how long people spend in defined zones.
Height measurement and filtering Yes. Height is measured accurately to +/- 2cm and can be used to set filters, for example exclude children and just count adults. n/a Height is estimated and can be used to set filters.
Operation Privacy Privacy protecting as no personally identifiable information used to count people.

(Please note, camera on device is for validation and configuration only. Once set up it can be covered with a lens cap as it is not required for counting functionality.)
Privacy protecting as no personally identifiable information used to count people.

(Please note, camera on device is for validation and configuration only. Once set up it can be covered with a lens cap as it is not required for counting functionality.)
Potential privacy and security issues with the taking of video images. Manufacturers claim privacy filters and obscuration technology.
Sunlight and darkness Unaffected by ambient light levels as uses own infrared light source. Functions well in a wide variety of conditions from darkness to bright light Unaffected by ambient light levels as sensor only detects heat. Functions well in a wide variety of conditions from darkness to bright light Often very sensitive to lighting levels, causing variable counts and will not function below a certain ambient light level.
Shadows Shadows are not detected and therefore do not affect count accuracy Shadows are not detected and therefore do not affect count accuracy Shadows from people and furniture may cause miscounts.
Busy backgrounds
(eg. pattered carpets)
Works by using pulses of infrared light to build up a 3D image of the scene, therefore background features are completely ignored. Works by detecting body heat of a moving person, which means background features are completely ignored. Sensitive to changes in image background, such as floor colour and other background features, which can cause miscounts.
Set Up and Configuration Multi unit configuration ‘Master and node’ configuration of devices allows wide entrances and seamless coverage of large areas with no additional hardware. ‘Master and node’ configuration of devices allows wide entrances and seamless coverage of large areas with no additional hardware. Most video systems are 'stand alone'. Devices do not network together to cover wide entrances and those that do often require additional hardware.
Connectivity PoE powered, count data can be accessed direct from device or an estate management platform via Rest APIs, HTTP Post or MQTT. PoE or mains powered. Count data can be accessed from an estate management platform. PoE or mains powered, count data can typically be accessed direct from device or an estate management platform.
Set up and configuration Extremely fast setup and easy configuration. Device automatically knows mounting height and learns floorplate beneath it. Quick set up and configuration Often time consuming to set up and calibrate to optimum performance
Tilt support Yes - allows for flexible mounting positions, increasing field of view. No - needs to be mounted looking straight down. Yes - allows for flexible mounting positions, increasing field of view.
Remote validation tool Yes - tools for remotely validating device performance are included Yes - tools for remotely validating device performance are included Yes - tools for remotely validating device performance are typically included