Tuesday, 15 March 2016 04:37

Accurate People Counting

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In retail business the interest to customer behavior psychology investigations is growing day by day, and attention is being increasingly focused on customer flow analysis. Most retailers consider the store customer traffic to be the second most important criterion after the cash desk data, showing the company efficiency and allowing to obtain such metrics as conversion rate and average basket size. In retail business, conversion is deemed to be the proportion of sales number to general customer traffic, usually measured in percents. Today, the tendency to implement customer flow analysis can be seen in many other fields too: exhibitions, sporting venues, museums, libraries, state institutions. Special emphasis should be placed on customer counting in transport business services – modern airports and railroad stations strike for implementation of the state-of-the-art developments in passenger transportation analysis to provide a better service.


So as to analyze the customer traffic and estimate the conversion rate the visitor counting systems are used. Currently, the market offers a great variety of devices - from horizontal infrared sensors to video counters with computer-aided analytics. Every counter type has its own advantages and designed to be used under certain conditions. The prices vary from several hundred to one thousand dollars. The devices differ in quality as well, their working capacity depending on the components used by the manufacturer. Generally, the high quality equipment is an off-the-shelf solution, including everything one needs to launch it and obtain statistics. There are a large number of manufacturers, specializing in development of one or two types of counters, but there are very few companies, providing complex solutions for customer flow analysis. In Europe this niche is confidently taken by the Ufatech company, offering a wide range of self-engineered developments for retail business.


A video counter with in-built video analytics represents the most up-to-date generation of customer counters. This type of devices, that has obtained a wide circulation over the last few years, is based on complex analytical and mathematically based algorithms, built into the counter. Most retailers choose the video counters for customer traffic tracking in particular, because they count the visitors accurately under any conditions. There are video counters with one or two lenses. Until quite recently the stereo systems with two lenses had been ahead of the one lens counters, as the latter were sensitive to shadows, flecks of sunlight and other interferences. However the technological development allowed to create a completely new counting algorithm for image capture sensors with one lens. The Ufatech VideoCount visitor counter incorporates the 3D ASSIS counting algorithm, created by the team of Russian engineers, besides, it is equipped with modern processor. It is an excellent example of high quality equipment for visitor counting and video analysis, setting a standard not only in European countries, but all over the globe as well. The VideoCount 3D ASSIS has the same functionality as the more expensive 3D customer counters do – it can distinguish the object by size, make tracking maps and thermal maps. Such technology is used throughout the entire world, and the Ufatech video counters can be found in malls, chain stores, airports, stadiums and libraries outside the country.


Except for the customer counters of different types, there are many other ways to work with the data received. Some solutions allow to upload data locally only, the others need special devices for data transmission, whilst there are also counters compatible with one specific software, involving extra charges sometimes. For users it’s much more convenient to purchase systems, supplied with software in kit and allowing to integrate data from visitor counters into existing data bases. The Ufatech company has created a wide range of solutions for analysts, offering different instruments for data processing: Statistica analytical software package, Web-module to be accessed from any device, Software for data integration into existing data base.


One of the key features of the customer counting systems is their counting accuracy, that can be measured in several ways. The easiest one is to find out what the difference between the number of people, who have come and left, is. Theoretically, this number should be approaching zero, confirming that the same number of people have entered and left the store. Another way to measure the counting accuracy is to count the visitors manually and compare the received data with the data from visitor counters. In this case we can take neither value for reference, as the person, making the counting, can’t be 100 % accurate, be the incoming and outgoing traffic too high. Here, the most sensible solution is to count a hundred incoming visitors manually and compare the received value with counters data. The same thing is to be done with outgoing customers. Under ordinary conditions, the high quality customer counting systems are 95% accurate and higher.


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