There are several technologies that fall under the category of footfall analytics including laser beams, cameras, thermal imaging cameras, Wifi, Bluetooth and GPS - all of which are used to measure people movement. Each of these technologies is a source of footfall data and in most cases, this data is pushed to the cloud, analysed and then presented in the form of analytics.
Here is a quick overview of each of them.
A laser beam is the most simple type of footfall analytics as it is only capable of providing a count as the beam is broken by people or objects, moving through it. Laser beam counters are generally used in retail stores, and work best in stores which don't have very wide entrances. The analytics provided by laser beams is limited to a basic count and can often be misleading as anytime the beam is broken, it's regarded as a count (think prams and trolleys).
Camera based footfall analytics are generally installed over doorways and entranceways of retail stores. They are also used for airports, train stations and other public places however many cameras are required for large spaces. This kind of footfall analytics can provide more accurate and detailed information including footfall counts and heat maps and dwell times where enough cameras are installed.
Wifi is perhaps the most common and reliable type of footfall analytics. Whether people connect to the Wifi network or not, it is possible to gain accurate footfall analytics from Wifi enabled smartphones. Wifi footfall analytics are very rich in terms of the data provided (people counts, dwell times, movement, heat maps, repeat visitation, time between visits and more) and is cost effective to install and manage, making this the most popular form of footfall analytics on the market today.
Bluetooth or BLE is also used to provide footfall analytics, however does require that people have the relevant app installed on their smartphones. For example, for the department store Myers to use Bluetooth for footfall analytics, it would require that Myers customers have the Myers app installed on their phones. For this reason, Bluetooth isn't a viable source of footfall analytics for most businesses.
GPS provides an excellent macro-level view of footfall analytics. The GPS data is typically supplied by smartphone apps that require 'location services'. As such, these apps report the smartphone's location on a regular basis. In most cases, GPS based footfall analytics is not tracking all the time, which means that location updates are only provided at intervals of up to several hours. Additionally, GPS is not very accurate indoors. This makes GPS footfall analytics ideal for understanding overall patterns of movement, but not very good for more detailed footfall measurement.
Mounted on the ceiling, thermal sensors provide footfall analytics for retail stores based on detecting the thermal heat signatures of people. Again, they provide little other than a count and where many sensors are installed, they can also provide heat maps. Additionally, the bulbs in thermal sensors have a limited life span and are expensive to replace.
There are many uses for footfall analytics, such as:
This is just a small selection of the many uses for footfall analytics and the value it provides.
If you'd like to discuss how footfall analytics can work for your business, get in touch with one of our specialists today.