How many people have entered a business, how many have left again? The "People Counter" by IEE keeps track of every single move.

The device is slightly bigger than a smoke detector and can be installed above the main door, where it will capture every person that enters or leaves the premises.

The "People Counter" is now in its third generation and was developed by Luxembourg based IEE, which has established global reach over recent years. The device has been on the market for a considerable amount of time, but can now be updated with a new Covid-19 software.

The home improvement store Batiself in Ingeldorf will be the first local business to start using the updated counter.

Creating topographic images with 3D sensor technology

To maintain the proper safety standards in times of the coronavirus, a maximum of 150 people are allowed inside at the same time. Three separate People Counters will be installed over each entry door to monitor the flow of people at all times.

Through the use of 3D sensor technology and infrared light, the tool creates a topographic overview of the area it is surveilling. As soon as a customer enters said space, the reflected infrared light will be processed by a chip to create the 3D image. The so-called "Time-of-flight sensor technology" (TOF) is essential for the success of this process, which is also employed by traffic cameras.

The "People Counter" up close.

Kai Pabélick, head of the IEE department for sensory people and object monitoring, noted the benefits of the advanced technology: "In comparison to our device, regular light barriers can only register a person's movement, but not the direction in which he or she is moving." The People Counter furthermore operates with more precision than light barriers or thermal scanners: "Our accuracy is at 99%."

Faces will not be registered

All three devices inside Batiself are connected with each other so that they can successfully monitor all customer movements. The data is then processed and broadcast on a screen near the entry. A traffic light indicates whether or not more customers are allowed to enter. A red light indicates that the Covid-10 limitation has been reached.

Through the use of the registered data, statistics of customer movements can be established.

Although the software is highly accurate in its processing, there is one aspect it strictly leaves out, Pabélick emphasises: "The 3D scan does not register faces." That means that no information on customers' identities is being processed.

Apart from regulating customer capacities in times of Covid-19, the People Counter can moreover be employed to improve staff schedules, since the data can be used to gain an overview of peak business times. The device can also monitor the flux of people in case of an evacuation.

Original author: Uwe Hentschel

Pictures: Uwe Hentschel