How to Choose Your People Counter / People Counting Sensor (CAMERA)

Which Type of People Counter is Best For You?

People counting technology can serve many purposes, beyond simply tallying up how many visitors come through your doors. Different solution sets can accurately track your busiest hours and days; chart how people actually move through your establishment; help you determine if you are over- or under-staffed; and even enhance your security/loss prevention capabilities.

Of course, not all people counters perform all these functions. The technology comes in many shapes and sizes, offering solutions that can be shaped for differing budgets, entrance configurations and building layouts, as well as required accuracy levels and analytical capabilities.

This eBook will explore currently available people counting technology options, highlighting the environments and business needs that each option is best suited for.

Horizontal Wired/Wireless Retail Counting Systems

The most basic type of people counting technologies is door-mounted horizontal systems. These include both wired and wireless options, using sensors mounted on your entrance door’s frame that cast a horizontal infrared beam across the doorway. People are counted as they cross the threshold and “break” the beam.

The positives of horizontal systems are that they offer a less expensive option than overhead people counting technologies, making them a good starting point for retailers who are just testing the waters with such systems. Because the sensors are placed on door frames rather than in your building’s ceiling, installation is generally quick and easy. For wireless options, lithium batteries can power such systems for a year or even longer without requiring replacement.

The negatives of such systems are their limitations in terms of accuracy. If several people are entering your store at the same time, some may block the beam, affecting the count’s accuracy. Particularly with wider entrances, 10 people may have come through your doors but perhaps only seven or eight would be counted by a horizontal system.

For these and other reasons, horizontal systems are best for smaller physical establishments, since their accuracy can be compromised if the doorway entrance is wider than 10-15 feet. They work best in structures with narrow entrances that have a relatively low density of people moving through them at any given time. These factors, along with their affordability, make such systems a strong choice for small businesses seeking basic tools to measure traffic flow.

Overhead Retail Counting Systems

For retailers or other enterprises seeking a more accurate, detailed picture of customer/guest traffic, showing not only how many people are entering the building but what zones they may be entering while they’re inside, people counters using overhead ceiling-mounted sensors are a strong option. These systems can feed data into analytics software that can map customer traffic across zones, help determine optimal staffing levels and schedules, and pinpoint the best placement for featured promotional items.

Overhead People Counters or People Counting Systems use two different types of sensor technology, thermal and video-based. Each technology has its own pros and cons, and in some cases businesses may choose systems that utilize a combination of both sensor types.