What to Look for in a People Counting System for Your Business

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Remember the turnstiles that used to be so common in places like movie theatres, subways, and amusement parks? You’d walk through and the number on the dial next to the turnstile would change, counting as you entered or exited the area.

While you still might come across a turnstile now and then, many businesses today are turning to more technological and less intrusive ways of counting people as they not only enter or exit a business, but also as they move through the facility.

The waiting line or queue is a particularly important environment for people counting to take place. Businesses want to know how many people are in the queue at a given time.

There are several options when it comes to people counting technology for queues. We believe it is important to be aware of the pros and cons of the major categories of technology, as well as the qualities of an ideal people-counting solution.

There are three main types of technology for people counting. Bluetooth or WiFi, which uses a sample of the population (only those with bluetooth or WiFi turned on) to extrapolate results. Camera-based monitoring which uses cameras placed in the queuing area to count all customers in and out. And sensors, such Qtrac iQ, which uses wireless sensors to continually count and record the number of passing customers over time.

 

The Ideal People Counting Solution

We recommend you look for a solution with the following characteristics:

1. Informs customers with accurate wait times

Research has shown that a known wait time feels shorter than an unknown one. Look for a technology solution that measures queue traffic in real-time and reports estimated wait times to managers, or automatically to media displays in the queuing area. Beware of technologies that use sample populations. When traffic is light these technologies can’t access enough data to be accurate.

2. Provides actionable reporting and forecasts to improve operational effectiveness

Gathering information about your queue is only helpful if it can be put to use. Look for a technology solution that provides actionable reports and forecasting to help you identify the problems before they begin.

3. Delivers web-style analytics to the brick-and-mortar environment

Look for a solution that simplifies and improves your day, not one that complicates it with overly technical information. Web-style analytics, with an overview dashboard, will help you understand the key components of your queue and will allow you to react accordingly.

4. Notifies managers in real time of excessive queue lines or wait times to enable a shift of resources to handle the change in customer flow.

Knowing after the fact is too late, when upset customers have already left your business. With a real-time reporting solution (also featuring alerts to managers’ mobile devices) managers can reassign resources to reduce wait times and move satisfied customers through the queue.

5. Respects the privacy of your customers

People counting solutions such as Bluetooth and WiFihave some shoppers uneasy over privacy concerns. Video can create a similar response for both the customer and the employee, giving them the feeling that they are always being watched and no longer have privacy. To avoid customer privacy concerns, sensors offer a great alternative.

6. Simple to install, scalable, requires minimal network bandwidth, and will operate independently of other systems

Bluetooth, WiFi, and video people counting technology solutions can require a significant level of investment, installation time, and network bandwidth to operate. Mounting cameras can present architectural concerns. Keep these considerations in mind when selecting a system. Look for wireless systems to cut down on installation costs. Additionally, solutions that don’t require top-down views (such as ceiling-mounted systems) will save both time and money with installation and maintenance.

 

Is your business ready for the latest in queue management technology? Find out more about the Qtrac iQ intelligent queuing system and how it can improve your queue and your business.

intelligent queue management guide

About
the Author
Perry Kuklin is the Director of Marketing and Business Development for Lavi Industries, a leading provider of public guidance and crowd control solutions.