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People Counting: The Definitive Guide

The counting of people has changed and developed over the years. This article traces the evolution, talks about the rise of people counting technology, and explains how Isarsoft Perception counts people.


February 3, 2023

Crowding in the airport

Everything you need to know about video analytics-based people counting, in one insightful article.

What is people counting?

People counting is, quite simply, the counting of people. The counting process is applicable according to requirement and situation: enclosed spaces, the number of people entering or exiting an area, queues, etc. 

This data is considered essential data and not without a multitude of reasons. Having an accurate tally of the number of people inhabiting a space (on average) is useful to architects in order to assess design structures, efficiency and systems. Infrastructural changes can be implemented on the basis of the data. 

Additionally, people counting proves especially useful in regulatory processes such as the prevention of overcrowding, deployment of staff and resources, and the establishment of safety protocols.

People counting aids security, planning and optimization processes
People counting aids security, planning, and optimization processes.

Relevance and Growth of People Counting Technology

People Counting Technology refers to the gradual evolution of how people are counted, with respect to the tools used to do so. The origins of people counting began with human counters, deployed at specific venues, who performed the job. Not a feasible solution for the long term, new methods were developed.

There are currently a lot of options to choose from, if people counting is the objective. People counters, manual clickers, smart-flooring technology, WiFi trackers, thermal imaging systems, infrared beams and, of course, video analytics.

Technologies for People Counting

There are a lot of existing technologies in the market for people counting. The following list explains them briefly. Door counters are a commonly used method of implementing the following tech.

Manual Clicker

A manual clicker is a piece of mechanical equipment that has to be updated by pressing a button in order to keep a running tally of people counting. It can also be done digitally via a mobile app designed for the purpose.

However, since the core component here is the human element recording the observations- this process is largely considered outmoded in comparison to newer, simpler technologies.

Electronic People Counter

A people counter is an electronic device that can be used to measure the number of people traversing a particular space/entrance/exit. The technology in use here can vary; sometimes light beams are used, while at others there are complicated dedicated sensors such as stereo cameras, time sensors or flight sensors.

Smart Flooring Technologies

Smart floor technologies designed for people counting do so by means of sensors that register contact when stepped on. 

Thermal Sensing

Thermal sensors are trained to count people by detection of body temperature. They are generally installed, top-down, at entrances or exit points to enhance accuracy.

Thermal sensing is, however, conditional. It is prone to being negatively affected by sunlight since sunlight radiates the whole light spectrum. 

thermal sensors can be used to detect people
Thermal sensors can be used to detect people

Active Infrared

Also known as break-beam sensors, these sensors have an infrared emitter and an infrared receiver. Standard Active Infrareds count the number of times the beam is ‘broken’. The final figure is then divided by 2.

Most AIRs are bidirectional and are typically installed on one or both sides of a doorway.

WiFi Tracking

This particular technology is functional only if your phone is logged onto the area’s WiFi network when you enter it. All you need to do is have your WiFi turned on.

This technology is not very accurate when it comes to detection at a room level. It also errs on the side of invasive, and so is not favored universally.

Camera-based counting

Camera-based counting systems use cameras to detect objects.

How does Isarsoft Perception count people?

Isarsoft utilizes the security camera infrastructure as a host site for the software. This is a cost-saving measure, as Isarsoft Perception is compatible with all leading camera systems and the installation process is both cost-effective and quickly done.

How, then, does the software count people? Isarsoft Perception uses AI algorithms to mimic the human ability to see. Existing cameras can be used, regardless of their position and the software can be deployed on-premise, in-edge or as a part of cloud servers. 

Isarsoft Perception can be used to seamlessly measure occupancy
Isarsoft Perception can be used to seamlessly measure occupancy rates.

Isarsoft Perception offers users varied functionality when it comes to counting. The range of applications available also define the requirements of a specific circumstance. For example, the Object Count application may prove unsuitable for dense crowds in which case, the Crowd Count application will do the job.

The list of applications offered by Isarsoft Perception is as follows:

Benefits of People Counting

The benefits of people counting are plenty. Here is a curated list of the major benefits that people counting softwares such as Isarsoft Perception offer customers.

Resource Deployment

People counting helps in the accurate assessment of resources, aiding their accurate deployment and conservation. Knowing the accurate average count of footfall is essential for businesses, event venues and public transportation terminals.

Infrastructure Monitoring

People counting is a tool used by planners and architects to assess existing infrastructure, and implement requisite design changes based on the data that is generated. It is also useful in monitoring occupancy, space efficiency, and other relevant KPIs.

Streamline Security

The enforcement of adequate security measures can be enhanced and streamlined by high-precision people counting. In large-scale event venues and public transport terminals such as train stations, it is important to make sure that commuter/customer safety is a guarantee.

Measuring the footfall allows personnel to have a realistic idea of the level of preparedness required to ensure safety and accessibility.

Insights into Customer Behavior

People counting data is being increasingly used to gain business insights and customer behavior. By analyzing factors like number, frequency, movement and trajectories- a lot can be uncovered.

Customer Insights
Monitoring the people flow offers insights into customer behavior

Visitor Analytics

The whole point of data collection and analysis is to use it for better understanding. Visitor analytics can be used by retailers and event planners to further their understanding of real-time businesses in physical locations and make improvements as they see fit.

Areas of Application

Where can one implement people counting?

Isarsoft Perception operates in four primary verticals - train stations, airports, retail stores, and roads/highways. Each category displays requirements for and can benefit from people counting, albeit in different ways.

In train stations, for example, Isarsoft Perception can be used to conduct automatic passenger counting both on the platform and inside the vehicle, i.e, in the train. (Read our article on Automatic Passenger Counting in Trains.)

People Counting in a Train Station
People Counting at a Train Station

Airports witness high rates of footfall daily. People counting is especially useful while performing queue management processes at check-in counters and luggage carousels.

Retail, as touched upon briefly before, involves a wide spectrum of uses for people counting. It can be used to regulate queues, measure footfall, analyze and assess customer behavior and alter infrastructure. All of these, ultimately, boost business.

This video offers a look into people counting and flow analysis at a supermarket - done at the entry/exit point to help users better understand how Isarsoft Perception uses camera-based video analysis to keep track of the number of people who enter and leave the store.

More about Isarsoft

With Isarsoft Perception, your camera systems become part of your business intelligence. Whether the goal is to increase efficiency, customer satisfaction or safety, Isarsoft Perception provides the insights needed for informed decisions.

Isarsoft Perception Dashboard
The Isarsoft Perception Dashboard

Contact us, to learn more about how to turn security cameras into intelligent sensors.

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