Radar Footfall Sensors – using new technology to do amazing things

By Ivana Mogin

June 26, 2020

Last time I spoke a little bit about the team that has been working on the next generation of our footfall technology and today, I’m going to talk a bit more about the technology; how it works and why we are so excited about introducing it to the market.

The challenge with the previous sensor was its reliance on another technology. Counting mobile Wi-Fi connections was a great proxy for people, however, frequent changes to Wi-Fi technology meant that the tech required a lot of maintenance and our technology team had to work hard on shifting sands to keep the counts consistent.

This led to a project investigating the use of Ultra-Wide Band Radar technology to count people. This technology is similar to the parking sensors in many modern cars to detect solid obstacles. The system we are using can distinguish between humans and other moving objects such as cars, bicycles or the swaying branches of a tree. I’m very proud to say that we are the first company to use this technology in this way and I have been absolutely delighted with the astonishingly high accuracy rates we have managed to achieve.

Why did we choose this technology?

Firstly, this tech is very stable and does not rely on anything apart from a power supply to work correctly. Secondly, it works 24/7 and can operate just as well at night with low visibility as in bright sunlight, as it detects movement by reflection of ultra-wide band waves as opposed to cameras that require daylight. It’s perfect for night-time operators and winter months when daylight hours are reduced.

SensorLocal Data Company Radar Footfall Sensor installed in a shop window

 

A huge benefit to this tech is its compliance with a topic on many people’s agenda: GDPR. The technology captures no personal information, counting the number of people walking in front of the sensor at any one time. It ‘sees’ people as shapes not faces. The technology respects peoples’ privacy, and therefore does not require consent.

Another key reason for choosing radar technology is its ability to detect direction of travel. This enables us to calculate conversion rates of passing foot traffic into stores - vital information for retailers, centre managers and landlords and anyone assessing the effectiveness of marketing initiatives. The precise nature of the technology also means that multiple entrances can be monitored at the same time across stores, shopping centres and other schemes and property.

Finally, key to Local Data Company’s commitment to providing reliable and consistent data is the very high accuracy rates achieved. Our data scientists developed algorithms which enable the technology to detect and remove static objects such as street furniture, bus stops, etc. Alongside this, the radar can count clusters of people walking together, even when stores are busy resulting in precise and granular counts.

After an extensive testing and development period, we are thrilled to announce that the technology has performed better than expected and, after a slight delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have starting installing in stores.

For more information on this new product please get in touch with us via team@localdatacompany.com, or call Local Data Company HQ on 0203 111 4393.

 

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