Gone are the days when an employee is asked to stand at the doorway of retail or public space, tallying the number of people entering the facility by manually clicking a counter. Today, stores, libraries, public transit systems, and other areas rely on cutting-edge technology to do the work of people counting for them.
Not only can these systems track the number of people in a location, but they can also provide valuable data to help businesses and organizations make operational decisions, secure revenue or funding, and improve the visitor experience.
While people counters were indispensable for meeting occupancy regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic, they have become even more popular due to a wide variety of benefits.
The Ombori People Counter
The Ombori People Counter is just one example of such technology and is part of a suite of occupancy control technologies used by businesses and the public sector to monitor the number of people in a location. It uses cameras to count people entering and leaving a space without any human intervention. Even if a location has more than one entrance, this tool will automatically tally the total number of people inside at any one time.
What are People Counters?
People counters are typically installed at entrances or other critical points of space and monitor the number of people who pass a certain threshold. They literally count the number of people entering and exiting over a period of time. In addition to tracking visitors, they also transmit and analyze data to generate reports that managers can use to streamline operations and improve the visitor experience.
A variety of people counters are available today. Optical counters such as closed-circuit television (CCTV) and stereo vision rely on video technology or facial recognition to track and analyze occupancy. Less expensive tools include thermal counters, which track the movement of people by measuring body heat; they are more appropriate for high-traffic areas.
Also, more cost-effective, though perhaps less effective, are WIFI counters, which use anonymous wireless phone technology to track visitors. Unfortunately, they work only when people have their WIFI or Bluetooth settings turned on.
Infrared (IR) counters, on the other hand, are more reliable because they tally visitors as they disrupt an invisible IR beam, which is always live, but they require more management and maintenance than other systems.
How are People Counters Deployed Across Various Industries?
Aside from retailers, other industries have discovered the benefits of using Ombori People Counter, including libraries, sports and leisure facilities, healthcare providers, museums and galleries, airports, public transit systems, and schools and universities.
People counters collect real-time data at a variety of levels: across multiple locations, in a single building, within a particular area, or even on a specific shelf. They can provide daily, hourly, or even minute-by-minute information and can track occupancy across years, seasons, or even promotional events and activities.
Benefits of the Ombori People Counter
In addition to ensuring compliance with social distancing regulations, people counting systems provide other benefits.
- Improved Staffing Decisions: As staff is no longer needed to count people as they enter and exit a space manually, they are free to focus their efforts on customer service or other revenue-generating tasks. Likewise, management can adjust staffing levels to accommodate changes in occupancy. By analyzing peaks and troughs, they can determine which days and times are the most popular and adjust staff levels accordingly.
- Customized Marketing Campaigns: Data supplied by people counting systems can also be used to assess the effectiveness of advertising campaigns, special events, limited-time offers, or exclusive exhibits. By analyzing foot traffic following the implementation of one of these strategies, users can determine how well it is working and make necessary adjustments. They can also apply those lessons to future campaigns by tailoring them to a specific clientele.
- Higher Conversion Rates: Monitoring foot traffic using the Ombori People Counter allows businesses and organizations to calculate and improve their conversion rates. Conversion rate refers to either the number of people passing a location who decide to enter or the number of people who have entered and subsequently made a purchase. Studying this information allows users to tailor their layout, design, and promotional campaigns to increase conversion rates by turning browsers into buyers.
- Enriched Data Analysis: People counting software provides businesses and organizations with additional data related to external factors. For instance, no one can control the weather; therefore, it is essential to understand its impact on visitor traffic. Based on people counting figures, management can adjust staffing before or after certain weather conditions. Likewise, they can see which local events tend to draw people to their location and advertise accordingly.
- Enhanced Visitor Experience: Most importantly, the data gathered from the Ombori People Counter can be used to enhance the overall visitor experience. Combining people counting technology with other systems such as appointment booking, queue management, and digital signage, businesses and organizations can create a safe and efficient environment for visitors. Improved satisfaction can lead to fewer walkouts, increased sales, and greater loyalty.
Leveraging People Counters in the Public Sector
Although the benefits of using people counters seem obvious for retailers and other revenue-generating entities, they are especially helpful for organizations in the public sector. Museums, galleries, public transit systems, libraries, and other public facilities can elevate the visitor experience through improved management, enhanced directionality, better allocation of resources, and more effective use of analytics.
- Improved Operations: Many public institutions, such as museums and galleries, depend on government grants and charitable donations to remain operational. Therefore, they must justify their need for continued support by demonstrating their popularity. People counters allow them to measure foot traffic accurately. In addition, the data gathered from such systems can be used to reduce costs by improving operations. For example, organizations can make better business decisions by focusing on the most popular exhibits and can maximize retail opportunities by identifying the best location for gift shops and souvenirs.
- Enhanced Directionality: While most people counters measure the number of individuals occupying a space, some also measure the direction of incoming and outgoing traffic. This information can be beneficial for public transit systems, which depend on accurate real-time data to ensure the steady flow of traffic. Using sensors, these systems can automatically count passengers as they board and exit a bus, train, light rail, or other public transit system at each stop or station. These metrics help in scheduling, service planning, and queue management and can improve passenger satisfaction by reducing wait times and preventing congestion.
- Proper Allocation of Resources: For public institutions that must report to state or federal funders, proper resource allocation is essential to securing funds. This is especially true for public libraries, which are under constant pressure to remain relevant in the age of online information. Libraries rely on people counters to provide an accurate picture of usage patterns, which can then be used to determine staffing levels and hours of operation, as well as justify budget increases. They can also gain deeper insight into circulation rates, which can help them improve service by providing the resources and guidance patrons need.
- More Effective Use of Analytics: All public institutions can make effective use of the data provided by people counting systems. In addition to proving fiscal accountability, this information can help institutions understand visitor flow and occupancy trends to improve how space is utilized. These systems can also improve the visitor experience by informing people about peak occupancy times or when a facility reaches total capacity. When integrated with building management systems, people counting software can optimize heating and cooling and reduce energy consumption.
Today’s sophisticated people counting technology allows both businesses and public institutions to generate valuable data that can be used to support their continued existence. With real-time tracking, organizations can see where most foot traffic occurs, improve promotional activities, optimize staffing, and plan more effective marketing strategies. The ability to understand the flow of people helps a facility stay one step ahead of visitor needs, deploy resources more intelligently, and optimize funding.