OPTEX people counting technology at heart of new social distancing solutions
10 June 2020
AN INNOVATIVE and highly accurate people counting technology from OPTEX is at the heart of a series of new solutions to support social distancing in business and commercial environments as the COVID-19-enforced lockdown is gradually lifted.
Thanks to embedding the latest Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) protocol into OPTEX’s proven Akribos VC-1020 people counting system, three new solutions from IA Connects, Vaelsys and Xenometric have now been developed. The protocol enables data to be communicated in real-time and for the people count to be instantaneously updated – a crucial factor in the live monitoring of people flow.
To help employers comply with Government-defined rules and create a safe environment for employees to return to work, IA Connects offers a Social Distancing Room Management technology. It works by monitoring the number of people and the occupancy level of common areas such as waiting rooms, meeting rooms and office lobbies, etc and displaying the appropriate instruction. It might, for example, state ‘do not enter’, ‘cleaning required,’ or ‘free to go’ or any other such status that the customer defines.
The solution comprises the OPTEX VC-1020 people counting sensor, Wi-Fi Gateways (including IA Connects’ MobiusFlow software) and display units mounted by the doors. The solution can communicate with any building management system and is capable of accurately monitoring occupancy levels during and after lockdown.
Retail sector focus
To manage the flow of people inside retail outlets as they steadily re-open, Vaelsys has developed EasyCount and updated its existing Datacentre people counting solution to provide more functionalities regarding the social distancing.
EasyCount enables smaller retail outlets to display (with a clear ‘go’/‘wait’ dashboard) the number of people allowed into their store at any one time and the average waiting time. Datacentre is a scalable solution for larger and multi-site retailers that serves as a people counter, but also as a more sophisticated analytics and performance tool. It has now integrated the MQTT protocol of Akribos to provide real-time information and occupancy dashboards.
The third of the new solutions comes from Xenometric which has further developed its range of people counting and occupancy-level software packages to integrate the MQTT protocol and provide dashboards suited for enforcing the social distancing. The entry-level solution, Xenoview, is suited to independent retailers or smaller buildings. It collects the real-time count data from up to four Akribos, displays the occupancy levels on an integrated dashboard and issues instructions to ‘go’ or ‘wait’.
The count data is stored locally and can also be used for retail analysis purposes. For larger or multisite applications, Xenometric has developed the X-Server. Similar to Xenoview in terms of its functionality, it differs in that it is fully-scalable and includes an SQL database and full reporting functionalities. It can be hosted on the customer’s server or on the Cloud.
Opportunities beyond security
Masaya Kida, managing director at OPTEX Europe, believes that the new solutions provide installers with an opportunity beyond security.
“Many businesses and retailers are using their security staff to manage access and control queue volumes and, as such, installers have an opportunity to become the principal point of contact for bringing new solutions regarding occupancy level and social distancing. Most of the solutions presented are not only solving the issue created by the pandemic, but also solve the ongoing challenge of efficiently and accurately monitoring occupancy levels within a busy working or retail environment.”
The OPTEX Akribos VC-1020 is a real-time and multi-directional indoor people counter that can provide more than 98% accuracy. It ignores trollies and baskets and manages groups of individuals by tracking the direction or every individual, even if they are loitering.
It now features MQTT, a lightweight messaging open protocol which manages telemetry information and is used in M2M and Internet of Things devices for real-time analytics and preventive maintenance monitoring, etc. The MQTT protocol allows the people count to be immediately transmitted to the integrated occupancy software platform and gives an exact picture on how many people are in the shop, the given room or a specific area.*For further information visit https://www.optex-europe.com/integrations/people-counting-analytics