Getting Started With People Counting Guide

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Getting Started With People Counting Guide

People counting technology empowers businesses across industries to make better decisions. When you understand how many people visit on different days, you can optimize everything from your staffing to your energy usage. Learn whether your visitors are making purchases or just browsing. See if your latest promotions bring more people in the door. Find out which entrances get the most traffic, and get many more valuable insights.

If you’re new to people counting, you may have many questions about the benefits and uses of people counters, alongside the options available. We’ve put together this people counter resource guide to help you get started.

Determine Your People Counting Needs

You might use people counters for many purposes. They offer actionable data for many industries. Depending on your goals, you may need different hardware or software included in your people counting system. To narrow down your options and figure out how to choose a people counter, ask yourself these questions:

1. Do I Need to Optimize Staffing?

An overview of your usual traffic density can help you plan your staff schedules more effectively. Knowing when your daily rushes and slow times fall and the days or months when you get the most customers can help you schedule the correct number of employees for every shift. As you watch your average visitor count grow over time, you’ll know when it’s time to hire new team members. A people counting system with real-time or hourly data offers the best solution.

2. Do I Need to Optimize Space Utilization?

Some businesses use their people counters to determine how many people visit each day. Others need to know which rooms or areas get lots of traffic and which ones aren’t attracting enough visitors. Facilities managers may want to track heavily-used rooms to plan maintenance activities, conserve energy or maximize space usage. Here, you may need linked visitor counters to track occupancy at various buildings across your property or to compare traffic at separate entrances and rooms within a single building.

This data can tell workplaces and universities whether they have the room to hire more team members or admit more students. It also reveals whether a facility needs more of a particular type of space, such as an extra meeting room.

Real-time occupancy data is also becoming increasingly crucial for space utilization. Across industries, COVID-19 regulations have limited building occupancy. Depending on your industry and your state’s most-recent guidelines, you may need to restrict capacity to anywhere from 20%-50%. Individual rooms may also have stricter occupancy limits. For example, offices may need to limit meeting rooms to 10 or fewer employees at a time. Retailers, workplaces, and public spaces need real-time data to know whether it is safe to allow people into a building or room.

Real-time data can also enhance facilities management. It can link to an HVAC and Building Management System, saving energy by heating and cooling parts of the building based on whether they’re occupied. It can also integrate with a room booking system. This information tells employees in real-time if the space they need is free and whether or not the current occupants reserved it.

If this real-time occupancy data is important for your facility, you’ll need a Time of Flight people counter, like the Vector 4D sensor, and real-time occupancy monitoring software.

3. What Marketing Metrics Do I Want to Look At?

Businesses that count their customers need to look at a few different metrics. Retail stores in particular use people counters to measure their conversion rates. Looking at your total visitors compared to your total transactions lets you understand your store’s conversion rates. Other businesses want to track foot traffic to gauge marketing success. Are specific promotions getting more people in the door? Think about the marketing metrics you’re most interested in as you evaluate software interfaces and reporting capabilities.

4. Do I Need Data Daily, Hourly or in Real Time?

Some businesses are best off with a simple daily count. If you’re not too concerned with your daily peaks and off-times, straightforward hardware should cover your needs. If you need hourly totals, a more accurate directional or overhead counter is essential. Monitoring current occupancy requires software for real-time tracking.

5. What Degree of Accuracy Do I Need?

Most businesses prefer the precision and accuracy of overhead people counters. These counters provide more accurate counts by distinguishing between people and shopping carts. Wide entrances, where many people pass through at once, require an overhead setup so visitors can’t go undetected. Sophisticated systems can even distinguish between children and adult visitors.

6. Do I Have the Capacity for Wired or Wireless Solutions?

A wired people counting system relies on a standard 110V power outlet. Many businesses prefer a wired option, so they don’t have to worry about replacing the batteries. However, a plug-in people counter costs a bit more. A more affordable wireless solution can use a battery or Power over Ethernet.

Choosing the Right People Counter for Your Industry

Every industry has slightly different needs from its people counting systems. Everything from the layout to the doorway width used in particular businesses can affect people counter hardware selection.

1. Retailers

Grocery stores, retail chains and independent shops can use people counters to analyze their daily traffic. Using a traffic counter gives you unique insights. It can give you a conversion rate, letting you know how many visitors make it to the checkout. Retailers can also use people counters to understand their rushes and slow periods or to manage occupancy.

Top people counter solutions for retailers include:

  • The SafeCount and SafeEntry Occupancy Monitoring system
  • Gazelle Series People Counter
  • Spectrum Series 3D People Counter
  • Eclipse Video Sensor
  • Z-900 Unidirectional
  • OmniCounter

2. Shopping Centers

Shopping centers need to track building-wide traffic for real-estate insights. They can charge higher rent and attract new tenants if they have data showing that the mall as a whole or a particular entrance sees many visitors each day. Shopping centers have many entrances, which are usually wider than a standard doorway. They need overhead people counting solutions such as:

  • The SafeCount and SafeEntry Occupancy Monitoring system
  • Eclipse Video Sensor
  • Gazelle Series Thermal People Counter
  • Spectrum Series 3D People Counter

3. Libraries

Libraries provide a vital public service, offering books, internet access, technology and programming to their communities. Since they are publicly funded, they need to understand how the community uses their services. A library can use people counter data to understand circulation, support funding requests or track attendance at events.

For libraries, we recommend hardware such as:

  • Z-900 Unidirectional
  • OmniCounter
  • Gazelle Series Thermal People Counter
  • Spectrum Series 3D People Counter
  • Eclipse Video Sensor

4. Casinos

Since casinos don’t ticket their visitors, people counters are the most reliable way to understand their traffic patterns. Casinos can use people counters to optimize staffing and security personnel and see which areas of the resort attract the most visitors.

Casinos generally have wide doorways and dim lighting conditions. Their traffic counters must prioritize accuracy. Our Casino customers prefer hardware such as:

  • Gazelle Series Thermal People Counter
  • Spectrum Series 3D People Counter

5. Museums

Many museums don’t require tickets or offer free entry to students. People counters help museums understand who is walking through their doors. They can also install them throughout their exhibit entries to get a picture of which rooms have the biggest draw.

Museums can benefit from many types of people counting hardware, including:

  • Gazelle Series Thermal People Counter
  • Spectrum Series 3D People Counter
  • Eclipse Video Sensor
  • Z-900 Unidirectional
  • OmniCounter

6. University Campuses

College campuses have many amenities and buildings with unique traffic patterns. Besides classrooms, they also feature dorms and dining halls, event venues, meeting spaces, laboratories and more. Each building sees different usage. Busy times ebb and flow throughout the day. With people counting data, university facilities managers see when and where students and visitors congregate to manage their buildings better. They can help universities plan their spaces to be most accessible to their users and track attendance at events.

Depending on their needs, universities can use people counters such as:

  • Z-900 Unidirectional
  • Gazelle Series Thermal People Counter
  • Eclipse Video Sensor
  • Spectrum Series 3D People Counter
  • OmniCounter

7. Offices and Commercial Buildings

Commercial spaces can use people counters to aid space utilization. They can find the best layouts and place amenities where people will use them. They can identify when they need more space and better manage maintenance operations by linking their people counting data to HVAC controls. Real-time occupancy trackers can also help offices follow social distancing protocols.

Depending on the needs and level of detail required, office buildings and other commercial properties can use people counting systems such as:

  • Eclipse Video Sensor
  • Spectrum Series 3D People Counter
  • Gazelle Series Thermal People Counter
  • Z-900 Unidirectional
  • OmniCounter

8. Hospitals

Hospitals see lots of visitors every day. People counting systems can help healthcare facilities understand their visitor patterns and what influences them. They can also better understand how people navigate the facilities and place amenities where they’re most needed.

Hospital facilities managers can choose from people counters such as:

  • Spectrum Series 3D People Counter
  • Gazelle Series Thermal People Counter
  • Eclipse Video Sensor
  • Z-900 Unidirectional
  • OmniCounter

9. Banks

When people visit the bank or ATM, they want to get in and out as soon as possible. Banks need to move lines quickly and have enough staff to handle their expected busy periods. They can also use people counters to compare performance across branches and measure marketing effectiveness. Real-time occupancy tracking can help banks follow COVID-19 restrictions and identify areas where people congregate so they can adjust layouts as needed.

For these purposes, we recommend banks and financial institutions use a people counter such as:

  • Gazelle Series Thermal People Counter’
  • Eclipse Video Sensor
  • Spectrum Series 3D People Counter
  • OmniCounter
  • Z-900 Unidirectional

Types of People Counters Available

People counting sensors break down into overhead and horizontal devices. Each type offers unique advantages and several hardware models to choose from. This people counter guide breaks down the two options available.

1. Overhead People Counting Devices

Overhead people counters mount to the ceiling in front of the entrance. In general, overhead counters are more reliable because they can distinguish moving objects as separate entities. Some are sophisticated enough to discount shopping carts and identify children. The available models include:

  • Eclipse Video Sensor: Video sensors are excellent at accommodating temperature changes and most retail lighting conditions. Video sensors also offer broader coverage, which is ideal for double-wide entrances. The Eclipse Video Sensor offers decent reliability for an affordable price. Each unit includes a single lens.
  • Spectrum Series 3D People Counter Video Sensors: Spectrum video sensors use two lenses. They have excellent depth perception, similar to human vision. The extra lens gives these units incredible accuracy. Within the Spectrum series, choose from the standard indoor model, the outdoor model and the high-mount model that can reach up to 29.5 feet.
  • Gazelle Series Thermal Imaging People Counters: Thermal sensors detect body heat and don’t require light. This feature makes them ideal for low-light environments. The Gazelle DualView combines a thermal imager and video sensor, automatically verifying its own counts. The Gazelle IP is a standalone thermal sensor. It can be used in sensitive environments where video recording is not an option, like public restrooms.

2. Horizontal People Counting Devices

Horizontal people counters project a laser beam across your entryway. Whenever someone passes through, they break the beam, registering that someone has entered or exited. They’re more affordable than overhead sensors but less accurate. If two people pass through the beam at once, only one may get counted. Still, they offer sufficient accuracy for many applications and businesses that need a low-cost solution.

Horizontal people counters come in several models, each offering distinct advantages. They include:

  • Z-900 Unidirectional: The Z-900 can cover up to 20 feet of entryway. It can count traffic without any additional software, transmitting its data up to 500 feet. Since it only uses one beam, it cannot tell what direction someone is walking. To total your traffic, take the Z-900’s daily number and divide it in two.
  • OmniCounter: The OmniCounter uses two beams to count traffic. It senses whether someone is coming or going by which beam breaks first. By measuring directional traffic, it can give you accurate counts throughout the day. It can cover a doorway up to 16 feet wide.
  • Z-WiFi: The Z-WiFi connects to your WiFi to offer a wireless counting solution. Like the Z-900, its beam can reach up to 20 feet.

What’s the Next Step?

Whether you’ve decided that a people counter is right for you or are still on the fence, we have plenty of resources to help you make an informed decision. Here are a few steps you can take:

1. Learn More With Our eBook Library

People counters can serve many purposes to many functions of your business. Your marketing department may use them to track how their campaigns and promotions influence foot traffic, and your facilities managers can use them to save energy throughout your building and allocate resources appropriately. Your managers can use them to schedule more staff on busy days or during peak hours, and your security team can use them to place security personnel where they’re needed most.

So many roles and departments can benefit from a people counter. Learning how it can benefit many departments can help you justify the investment and get everyone on board with the new technology. Besides the many uses for people counters for your business, they serve unique purposes for various industries. Check out our people counting eBook library to learn more about the general business and industry-specific benefits of visitor counters.

2. Weigh Your Hardware Options

At Traf-Sys, we offer many hardware options to cater to many different business needs, entry layouts and counting conditions. Explore our product pages to get an in-depth look at what each sensor provides.

3. Consider Your Software Requirements

Some people counters require no software to give you raw visitor data. To get the most out of your data, we recommend pairing your hardware with the VisiCount software. It provides deeper analysis and custom reporting. Compare two periods or the traffic patterns at separate entrances. Link it with other data like sales and staffing to get more marketing and scheduling insights.

If you need real-time occupancy tracking, consider the SafeEntry and SafeCount occupancy monitoring system. This software integrates with your people counters to give you real-time data on your current occupancy. You can set custom thresholds and see how many people it’s safe to admit at any given time.

4. Answer Your Remaining Questions

Still have questions about people counting systems? Visit our frequently asked questions page. There, we answer questions related to battery life, the different types and uses of people counters, and how they work.

What Sets Traf-Sys Apart

Traf-Sys has installed people counting systems for more than 17,000 locations. Our software and support have helped businesses from retail shopping centers, commercial buildings and universities to museums, casinos and libraries understand their visitors by the numbers.

We set ourselves apart with benefits such as the following:

1. Support You Can Count On

Our customer care team and level of support are top-notch. Our support specialists average 10 years or more of experience. We believe careful installation is the key to long-lasting operation and accuracy. That’s why our installation team tailors each job to the environment and your goals. We aim our sensors for maximum coverage and can complete installation with minimal disruptions to your business.

We’re based in Pennsylvania, but we have a network of experienced support technicians around the country. We pride ourselves on resolving most support issues on the same business day you contact us.

2. Custom Solutions

Every building and industry has different needs. Different doorway widths and numbers of entrances require a thoughtful approach. When installing new technologies, buildings with historical significance and other sensitive environments need special considerations. Meanwhile, different industries use their people counting systems for various purposes. Some industries need data to plan their facilities and staffing schedules. Others need to track marketing campaign success.

We specialize in highly custom installations. We can count the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City among our satisfied clients with challenging people counting environments. We’ve also installed people counters for independently owned Harley Davidson dealerships around the country. For this job, we designed a system that accommodates each dealership’s unique layout, architecture and IT system.

3. Experience and Knowledge

With nearly 20 years of service, our company is a trusted people counting system provider. We have the experience and knowledge to complete your project well. Throughout our company’s history, we’ve continued introducing new technologies that solve today’s challenges.

4. Easy-to-Use Software

Our software is flexible and easy to integrate into your existing systems. Because it’s web-based, you never need to update it. Pull custom reports, look at an overview of your locations or dive into the details at a single site with ease. We offer two software solutions to solve your company’s needs. First, VisiCount analyzes your visitor data, turning raw numbers into visual graphs and custom reports.

If you need real-time occupancy tracking, consider our SafeEntry and SafeCount occupant monitoring software. This tool lets you set custom occupancy thresholds while displaying real-time data for your employees or customers to see. It can also push real-time alerts for in-the-moment decision-making.

5. Advice to Get the Most Out of Your People Counting System

If you’re new to people counting, it helps to have an expert in your corner. With 20 years in the business and clients spanning many industries, we can help you make sense of your data. First, we can help you determine what system you need. Once your installation is complete, we can advise you on how to put your data into action. Start using your people counting data to improve revenue and profits while reducing costs.

Contact Traf-Sys Today

If you have any more questions or are ready to move forward with a people counting system for your business, contact the Traf-Sys team today. We’re happy to tell you more about our products, offer advice and suggestions and provide you with a free quote.