Simply put, people counters are electronic systems that utilize readers mounted at entrances to count people as they walk into a facility or zone. Our VisiCount software then separates the counts by entrance and by time, adding in variables such as sales transactions, daily special events, weather conditions, and staffing hours. With this key data, a full suite of business intelligence reports are generated, enabling store owners and business managers to make informed business decisions.
Overhead vs. Horizontal (beam-type)
Like the names suggest, Overhead people counting sensors are mounted in the ceiling, and Horizontal (beam-type) sensors mount on both sides of a doorway.
Wired vs. Wireless
All Overhead sensors will require wired network connections. All of our Horizontal people counter sensors can be wireless (battery-powered), and our Z-Series can be either wired or wireless.
Bi-Directional vs. Uni-Directional
With many of our people counting systems, we can tell whether a person walked IN or OUT (which is called Bi-Directional counting). Uni-Directional Counters don’t distinguish IN from OUT counts, and so the total traffic counts per hour are divided by two to determine the number of visitors.
If you have ever seen an employee at a carnival, movie theater or sports arena standing at the entrance with a small metal counter, clicking it when each person comes through, causing the number readout on the device to climb, you’ve seen a people counter at work. People counting is the simple tracking of the number of people that enter a given area at any given time.
At Traf-Sys, we have taken the basic analog person counter concept and made it digital. Our digital people counter is not only fast, efficient and automatic, but it also allows you to collect much more and more useful data than merely the number of people who have entered the area.
Our pedestrian counters are designed to count each person who walks through the area where the sensor is set up as one person. Because you are usually only concerned with how many people are entering your facility, not how many are leaving, you will need either a bi-directional patron counter that can tell the difference, or you will want to divide your total count at the end of the day by two — since, presumably, everyone who enters eventually leaves.
You should be sure to put one of our pedestrian counters at every entrance where a person may access the customer-facing portion of your facility. Also, do not forget that a horizontal people counter has difficulty registering two people who enter at the exact same time, so if your entrances are wide enough to accommodate multiple people at once, you will want to be sure to install an overhead person counter.
What types of insights can come as a result of foot traffic counting? In fact, the value of foot traffic counting data can be massively significant for your business. Just a few of them include:
- Deployment Strategy: Just a one-half percent increase in foot traffic can mean an increase in profits of hundreds of thousands of dollars for a large chain. If you are managing a retail store, a retail traffic counter can tell you when the most customers are likely to be in your store, so you can have more employees on hand at that time, improving customer service and making more sales possible. You can also choose these times to bring out new or more expensive inventory and make other useful decisions based on this data.
- Marketing Feedback: Evaluate the success of marketing campaigns with reliable customer counting. Too often, businesses feel like their marketing efforts are successful when they are not. A digital person counter can provide hard, undeniable data on whether or not your marketing strategy is resulting in greater traffic. If it’s not, you can end that strategy or promotion, saving you untold amounts of money. If it is working, you can build upon those efforts.
- Staffing Decisions: Is your business really benefitting from being open 24 hours? Are you paying a full staff during dead periods where no one is in your store? A Traf-Sys digital people counter can provide you with the data you need about specific periods, letting you know when the entire team is needed and when you can get by with paying only a skeleton crew, or even by closing during those hours.
- Security: People counting information can let you know when the highest foot traffic times are, and hence, the most important times to have a strong security presence. Not only will this be better for the overall safety of your establishment, but it can also help you save money by not paying for extra security during times when you do not need it.
It is our experience that any business that relies on physical customers or patrons can benefit significantly from people counting hardware. This includes places like shopping malls and retail stores, stadiums, casinos and concert halls.
Visitor counting can also be extremely useful in areas where knowing attendance can affect policy and funding, such as:
- Non-Profit Ventures: Visitor counting information can be used as data for funding requests, letting donors know how frequently the non-profit venture is being used and lending support to requests for expansion funds.
- Libraries: Use our sensors to determine how many people are visiting the library relative to how many books people check out, providing important data about circulation rates. This can help you know how many books you need to order/keep in stock and what your staffing needs are.
- Student Unions and Other School Buildings: Let university management know how often students and/or faculty are using the Student Union and other school buildings — and how many people are using them — for use in staffing decisions, expansion plans, budget appropriation and other strategic decisions.
The following questions are designed to help determine the best traffic counting solution based on the unique needs of your business:
How is your entrance set up? Does it consist of swing doors or is it an open entrance?
If you have an open entrance, horizontal counting can generally be less accurate because multiple people can block each other from being counted by the horizontal door counter. Also, horizontal counting requires that the door only swings out, since in-swinging doors will block the beam from detection.
How wide is your entrance?
The wider the entrance, or the more group traffic you have, the less accurate horizontal counting will be. What is your ceiling height and ceiling construction? If you are looking at horizontal counting sensors, they will work at up to about 15 feet of entrance width — and are only recommended at this width if you don’t have much group traffic. If you are considering an overhead sensor, you will need one sensor for every 11 feet of entrance width, depending on your ceiling height. And, with overhead door sensors, you will need network connections to the sensor in the ceiling at the entrance.
Do you want to capture traffic counts per day, or do you require shorter intervals?
If you need traffic counts in the per-hour range, consider using one of the bi-directional sensors (which includes all of the overhead sensors and the horizontal OmniCounter). Since the sensor captures ins and outs, your hourly traffic counting results will match up closer to the actual traffic trends throughout the day.
Do people typically browse around in your entranceway?
If they do, an overhead video people counting sensor is suggested because it can handle detection even when people are standing still.
Do you have a 110V power outlet available at the entrance?
This will be essential if you want to use the wired capability of the Z-Series horizontal sensors or the Overhead Wireless Thermal Sensor.