People counting in the world after covid-19
There will be an end to the covid19 crisis currently gripping the world.
When social distancing measures are eased it will be more important than ever for the managers of stores and indoor public places to know how their facilities are used.
Accurate footfall counting technology has a crucial part to play in the future of venues when they are eventually allowed to reopen.
Once people are released from the restrictions imposed by governments in response to the coronavirus pandemic, no-one yet knows how they will respond.
Will there be a stampede as people get out to their favourite stores, museums, art galleries and favourite indoor locations?
Will there be a rush to airports, railway stations, and other transport hubs as people demand holidays to forget the stresses imposed on them over the last few months?
Or will they respond more nervously, reluctant to expose themselves to any residual risk from the invisible threat?
Perhaps people will value their homes more, at least initially, and it could take much longer for them to reclaim their confidence.
At this stage, no-one really knows.
But one thing is for sure, a proportion of people will want to be able to get out and about; for their new fashions, for the appreciation of art and culture, and to meet friends, relatives and enjoy new experiences once again.
Because venues will still want to know with accuracy the capacity of their facilities; perhaps with social distancing still an issue to be considered, technology offers an answer.
People counting used to be a case of members of staff physically clicking a hand-held device, or by counting.
The it moved to the number of times and infra-red beam was interrupted.
Both those methods being susceptible to a large margin of error and offering very little, if any, real time data for the managers of indoor venues to be analyse.
Fortunately, now footfall counting now offer a paradigm shift in usability from those of the outdated methods.
It’s not susceptible to human error, or to potential double counting.
In this way, the occupancy of a room or a corridor can be accurately counted.
In addition, tracking WiFi and Bluetooth devices in the vicinity without visitors having to log in to building WiFi, gives an insight of passers-by or local crowds.
That is most important, of course, if there are residual instructions or ongoing social distancing measures once lockdown measures that were introduced in the battle against covid-19 are either ended or eased.
The technology is also going to be extremely useful when shopping malls are one again allowed to open.
People could well be very cautious about venturing out and can be reassured by technology that clearly shows venues operating at safe capacity.
Potential breaches of the new safe limits can be halted by alerting security staff to the need to control access.
One of the implications of social distancing measures in UK supermarkets is in having security staff controlling the access to buildings.
In some instances, staff may not have the air of authority needed to control queuing. And they could be better used on other tasks.
Having an automated system where the capacity of buildings can be linked to access, maybe by using automatic doors, the control is handed back to store operators.
Mention of the counting of people or footfall inevitably brings with it questions about the use of information about individuals.
However, in these circumstances the only information used is the silhouette of people or the location of mobile device itself.
No personally identifiable information is stored in any way. It is just the location of the phone, with nothing that can identify the person who is carrying the device.
In terms of European General Data Protection legislation, this use is compliant. Personal information is not needed for the data to be useful.
Unlike the outdated methods of collecting data – handheld physical clicking devices or the breaking of an infra-red beam – the data collected by new footfall counters is much more useful.
For a start, the data is updated on a sub-second basis, so it is in real time.
Users of the technology can see what is happening at their venues in real time. This can be presented in an easily digestible way by using heat maps.
Data showing how people move through buildings then becomes accessible to venue operators and managers. They can quickly identify blockages in the way people flow through venues.
In days characterised by worries about how close people are to one another, that is incredibly useful information.
It can be used to aid the redesign of corridors, and the positioning of furniture, as well as the location of signage, and barriers to optimise social distancing measures.
For more information on Briteyellow's footfall monitoring solutions visit: https://www.briteyellow.com/britecounter
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