Everybody counts - a few words about footfall analitycs

Footfall analytics - what it is? 

Simply we could say that footfall analytics is a tool that helps us with counting the number of people in a particular place.  Footfall analytics is a tool used in the assessment of physical systems to measure the time needed to move from one point to another. Usually, it can be used in the management of clients’ waiting time, lines, or another situation in retail.  The counting could be manual like someone is watching the crowd and counting the people. A good example is on planes where the cabin crew is welcoming you on the board but also they are counting every person who comes inside. Sometimes the same situation takes place in shops, a special person is waiting at the entrance and counts every visitor. Nowadays it is very rare to do it manually because of available technology. There a few ways how to prepare footfall analytics in a good direction. 

Why is footfall analytics important? 

The first thing is safety. There are places such as airports or government buildings that could not be crowded. These places can be exposed to dangerous situations. So for the safety reason owners of such places are checking how many people and where individuals can be at a particular time. Finally, it is not only for safety rules but also for the comfort of visitors - the crowd could be a factor of an unpleasant experience. 

The second thing is of course marketing. Footfall can tell you how successful you can prepare a marketing strategy. Thanks to data about buyers retailers can determine the in-store activity. That is why footfall analytics are so important for the retail area. Most of the markets are predicting people’s needs. And they are trying to adjust to customers. Thanks to the knowledge of human fall the retailers can improve the performance and success of marketing initiatives, layout and ease customer navigation, maximize sales potential or optimize store performance. 

MRFR Analysis. Prediction of increasing of Global People Counter Market.


How to measure people?

There are many ways to find out how many people are in a particular place. 

Laser Beams Footfall Analitycs - it is based on simple technology. A beam across the store’s door counts each time the customers when they cross the threshold. After all, the total number is used to work out how many people visited the store during a particular time period. Unfortunately, laser beams cannot predict the behavior of customers so it does not help the retailers to know the average time shoppers spend in the place or where exactly. 


Source www.peoplecounting.com


Camera-Based Footfall Analytics - the technology provides a much better higher level of accuracy in counting people. Thanks to 3D imaging, modern facial cameras can not only count the visitors to your store, but also determines other metrics such as gender and age. 


Source www.hikvision.com

WiFi Footfall Analytics  - these analytics allow you to measure your unique and repeat visitors and track customers as they move around the store. You can also record the crowd volume who walk past your store without entering and your bounce rate. Unlike some of the camera technology used for footfall analysis, you don’t need to worry about data from staff members as WiFi counters can recognize these ‘persistent devices’ and exclude them from the data. 



Bluetooth Footfall Analytics - the technology based on beacons. Smartphone apps can receive beacon signals and interpret them, expanding the user’s context. This is a wireless, low-power, short-distance set of protocols used primarily to connect devices directly to each other in order to transfer data. Bluetooth can only communicate with devices that are nearby (approximately 33 feet or 10 meters). Bluetooth signals have been proposed as a method of contact tracing by identifying a phone’s proximity to other devices with a relatively high level of accuracy, using a specialized app. 

Source www.behavioranalitycsretail.com


GPS Mobile Location Analytics - geolocation uses mobile devices built-in GPS to accurately show where the device, and the user of the device, are located. This data is accessed through apps that the user grants permission to use their location data. Although many people will disable this feature in some of their apps, there are a few apps on which users are very likely to leave geolocation app tracking activity, such as web browsers and weather apps.


Source www.crowd-solo.com

Thermal Imaging Sensors - the technology measures foot traffic by picking up the heat signatures of people as they enter or exit a particular area. It is not the most popular technology because of its price. Thermal imaging sensors only provide a simple foot traffic count (unless you position them all over your store in order to generate a heat map that represents customer movement).

HVA Activity Analyzer - Heat map of activity and dwell times at the Ford Commercial Vehicle Booth

BTS tracking - radio environment activity. Technology is based on real cell towers which are sending and receiving the signal directly from mobile phones. This is a signal from our telephone operator with 2G/3G/4G and finally 5G technologies.

Source www.phonelog.it

There are also apps such as mobile payment software, which geographically and temporally identify customers and their buying patterns or emotional capture technology used to determine the emotional or cognitive state of shoppers by analyzing facial expressions. We could not mention a CCTV camera counting system because it is still very popular. There is also a time of flight people counter, seat sensors, ultrasonic technology, 2D Monocular & Fisheye Video Analytics, Open Source Raspberry Pi, Radio Frequency Identification, and more.


Where it is used? 

Retail - analytics in this area lets the retailer manage the business more effectively and collect data about retail locations, customer patterns, marketing, and in-store performance. Information about where the customer spend time, how long in particular areas, how often the customer returns or which another store he is visiting could be very helpful 

Automotive - owners of the car showroom can measure the flow of people and thus predict which brand or even model interests people the most. It also allows to know the client’s decision-making process - how long is the client thinking, how many times he is returning to check the car etc. 

Transport industry - measurement could be very useful especially for very densely crowded buses, which helps people not to get stuck in a long line for a ticket. It is used to avoid crowded platforms where people are waiting before taking the train. 

Banking industry - measuring the flow of people helps to understand which branches are overcrowded, which changes into the customer experience. Another important thing is how customers move between different departments, what is the path. 

Hospitality industry - generally it means restaurants, bars, and hotels. Owners of these places are doing everything for positive customer experience. Measurement could give us information about places that people use most often, at what times, in the hotel checking where people meet, e.g. what they liked the most at the hotel, where they spent the most time (swimming pool, casinos). 

Tourism industry - how many people are attending the event, how long they have stayed, what were their path during the event, how they get to the place, where they have gone after the event, how many people decided to leave the event after the very start of it. 

Real Estate - technology helps to investigate how people move around the house, what they are watching, how much time they spend in it, to which they return to see once again, which houses they leave quickly, what they do after 5 minutes (leave or stay), what type of house they end up selling, which avant-garde sellers are in contact with the client, which localities have the potential for a high Return on Investment. 

Customer privacy 

There is one important thing with counting technology especially if we are talking about facial recognition. No one is thinking about it but our facial features are a form of personal data which is protected by the law. So most of the technologies are featured with blur function. Another thing is WiFi tracking technology that relies on devices (such as smartphones) which are sending so-called probe requests. Thanks to the strength signal and time accurate analyst can be made. The GDPR which was introduced on May 25th 2018 made this procedure a little harder. Devices that are designed for counting cannot collect personal data. What could be personal data? It highly depends on the context and uses cases, for example, economic factors, cultural and ethnics identifiers, mental and physical health, as well as geographic location. Luckily, there are a number of sophisticated technologies available on the market that track occupancy and footfall in non-invasive ways. Most new technologies generate data without capturing any personally identifiable characteristics of the individuals it screens. You are safe to collect data like: dwell time, visitor volumes, the distinction between adult and child, path pattern. Finally, it is collecting de-personalized data which is changed for number, not person. 

Future of the technology 

When we are thinking about the future of footfall analytics it is very promising. For now, technology is quite developed but it is not the end. Everyone doesn’t think about it but every day we are sharing with many companies a lot of information about ourselves. How it is going? For example by using our smartphones. We’re being watched, monitored, and targeted. We know that we are followed through the internet but we keep forgetting that the same situation came to the real world. In times of growing awareness of who and how to obtain their data, users will be less and less willing to share their data with applications. According to the Cisco study, most users are willing to share their data if they receive a clear value in return. Therefore, it will be crucial for application publishers to provide users with value in exchange for sharing their data. 

There are predictions made by a brand-new report by Market Research Future that by 2022 the global people counting system market is anticipated to reach 1100 million USD. The integration of internet of things (IoT) and cloud services for fortifying the security of buildings and complexes are likely to augment the demand for people counting systems. Devices which count people are in high demand in such places as night clubs, concert halls, and events to comply with government-outlined rules, and policies are expected to bode well for the market in the forthcoming years. 


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