FAQ Real-Time counting

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, the need for managing visitors in both in- and outdoor locations has become crucial in preventing further spread of the virus. This has caused a shift towards Occupancy or Real-Time Counting. It basically means you are able to see exactly how many people are currently on your premises. Since governments around the world are trying to monitor visitors in closed spaces, this information is of the greatest importance. Here you will find the 'frequently asked questions' around Real-Time counting. If you have other questions, get in touch with us today!

Is real-time counting possible with every camera/sensor?

Real-time counting can only be done with a 3D stereoscopic counter. More information on 3D stereoscopic counting can be found here

Real-time or near real-time, what's the difference?

There is a slight delay (<one minute) between the moment a person walks through a counting line and the moment the count is visible in the dashboard. This delay is minimal, which makes it possible to speak of real-time counting.     

What about privacy in real-time counting?

The sensors used to count people are mounted on the ceiling of a passage and facing down. People are counted from the top of their head, a face is not visible. The data that is processed consists of sensor ID, date, time and number in / out. Read more about how we deal with privacy here.

How do I inform visitors about peak hours at my location?

There are several ways in which you can inform visitors about peak hours in your store or shopping centre. You can share the real-time dashboard on a screen that is visible to your visitors. In this way, visitors can see how many people are currently in the store or the shopping centre. You can also choose to create heatmaps of the number of visitors in your store or shopping centre per week / day / hour. These heatmaps can be shared on your website or social media, so visitors can see when it is crowded. Visitors can then choose a quiet moment to go shopping. Via an API you can also retrieve our data in your own environment and publish it on your website. Click here for more information. 

How can I manage occupancy based on real-time counts?

By using real-time counting you know exactly how many people are present at your location at any time. By setting a maximum occupancy in a certain space, you will be alerted by our systems when crowds per m2 increase and when the maximum number of visitors is reached. This allows you to act immediately, for example by temporarily closing the entrance.

Why are there still people in my store or shopping center when it is closed?

At PFM, we are regularly asked how it is possible that the real-time number represents an x ‚Äč‚Äčnumber of people when the shopping centre or store is already closed. This seems strange, but can easily be explained. A 3D stereoscopic counter from PFM counts very accurately (> 98%). This means that we count with a very small margin of error. No matter how good the sensor or configuration is, there is always a minor error.

In addition, it is possible that a location has to deal with a leakage. This leakage occurs when a location has a passage without a PFM sensor installed. When a visitor uses a passage without a sensor as an entrance or exit, a count is missed. As a result, it is possible that after closing time there are still people "present" in the store or shopping centre, while this is not the case. To minimize this phenomenon, our software automatically resets to 0 every hour if there is a negative number of visitors. In addition, the real-time number is reset to 0 every night at 4 a.m.