Questions to Consider When Choosing a People Counter

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Making the decision to streamline your building’s operations with a people counting system is easy. The hard part is finding ideal people counter for your building’s unique entranceway or busy area. This guide will help you distinguish between the different kinds of people counters and determine which matches your business needs.

What you need to know about choosing a people counter

There are several types of people counters to choose from, including overhead, horizontal, wired, wireless, bidirectional and unidirectional. There are distinct differences between each:

  • Overhead vs. horizontal – Overhead people counting sensors are more compact and are mounted above your doorway. Horizontal sensors are beams that are mounted on either side of your doorway.
  • Wired vs. wireless – Some sensors require network connections, others can operate wirelessly.
  • Bidirectional vs. unidirectional – Bidirectional people counters (overhead sensors) reveal whether a person walked in or out. Unidirectional people counters (horizontal counters) cannot distinguish between in and out. Software can be used to automatically divide unidirectional counts by two.

People Counter Questions

Now that you know which people counter types you can choose from, you can narrow them down by considering how they can accommodate your building’s business needs. Here are few factors that will affect your decision:

1. What do your employees need for people counters?

Get input from the end-users themselves – your employees. Ask them about the strengths, weaknesses and trends they have noticed in your building. This will help you determine your overall business needs and people counting goals. They will be more cooperative during the installation and training process if they have a hand in the decision.

Not to mention, if they aren’t happy with the sensor and software your business chooses, it will make for a less successful install. Your employees should benefit from an improved workflow as a result of your install and your managers or shift leaders should be able to easily generate, read and analyze reports.

2. What does my entrance need to look like for a people counting system?

Is your entrance wide? In a wide entrance, horizontal sensors can lose accuracy as multiple people can enter at once and block the view of one another. In fact, the wider the entrance, the less accurate a horizontal sensor will be. Stick with an overhead sensor.

Do you have swinging doors? A horizontal sensor requires that the door only swings out, since in-swinging doors will block the beam from detection. Is there an outlet available close by? When using a wired people counters, access to a nearby outlet is necessary.

3. What is the density of your traffic?

Do several people enter your entranceway at the same time? If so, consider an overhead sensor. As mentioned, the more traffic that passes through your entrance at once, the more likely it is that one will block the view of another. A horizontal sensor will count only one person when this happens, producing an inaccurate count.

4. How do your visitors spend their time?

Do they move around a lot? Are there specific areas they tend to mill about? Are they neglecting certain areas? If you want increased information about how customers are spending their time, then you can install several overhead sensors throughout building. Horizontal sensors are meant to be installed on either side of an entranceway, whereas overhead sensors can be installed above any area.

Do people browse in your entrance? An overhead video sensor can detect people even when they are standing still, which will help you distinguish between people who are passing in and out of your entranceway and people who are simply browsing the area.

5. What level of reporting do you need from your people counter? 

Do you need to read people counting reports per day or hour? If you need hourly counts to optimize labor or maintenance for peak periods, bidirectional sensors can capture the amount of people passing both in and out of the entranceway, allowing for a closer match between hourly counts and daily traffic trends. Do you need to distinguish between people entering and people leaving? Again, go with a bidirectional sensor. Unidirectional sensors cannot distinguish between in and out.

Now you’re ready to purchase your preferred people counter and start streamlining your business!

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