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How people counting helps enforce social distancing

How people counting helps enforce social distancing
With the coronavirus ravaging most parts of the world, social distancing guidelines are being implemented by various end user entities, for example retail shops and supermarkets, who need automated solutions for proper enforcement. In this regard, people counting can play a key role.
Needless to say, covid-19 has become a major health threat that few countries can escape from. According to the latest statistics by Worldometers, the disease has thus far infected over 12 million and killed over 550,000 worldwide.
Amid covid-19’s ravage, many end user entities have shut down to avoid further spread of the disease. However, there are certain end user organizations that are deemed “essential” and thus need to remain open. That said, they have to abide by social distancing guidelines
However, enforcement can be complex, prompting end users to turn to technology in this regard. People counting, then, becomes a viable strategy to limit the number of people who can come to the entity. With the occupancy of the entity under control, social distancing can then be better enforced.

How people counting can help

People counting has evolved a long way. In the past paper and pen were actually used, whereby the store clerk actually wrote down the number of people coming and leaving, causing accuracy issues. Today advanced solutions entailing technologies such as sensors and cameras are used to increase accuracy and efficiency.
“Sensors are specifically designed to count people and work continuously. Extensive historical data and reports are also available, showing how occupancy changes over time, as well as showing how well your building complied with occupancy limits,” said Irisys in a post.
People counting solutions typically use sensors working in conjunction with analytics to determine the number of people coming and going. Typical sensors include the following:
Infrared: The sensor detects a person by way of infrared radiation emitting from that person.
Video: A camera is set up on top of the entrance and detects the number of people entering and exiting using analytics.
Wi-Fi/Bluetooth beacons: The sensor detects visitors by the smart devices that they carry. This technology solely depends on devices carried by the visitor.
The occupancy level of the entity can be displayed on a message board that directs the visitor on what to do. OPTEX, for example, has teamed up with IA Connects to monitor the number of people and occupancy level of certain areas within an end user entity. The solution entails OPTEX’s people counting sensor, IA Connects’ software and a display unit, which may state “do not enter,” “free to go,” “cleaning required” or any other messages that he user defines, to keep the area clear of large crowds, thus allowing social distancing.

Beyond people counting

In certain occasions, rather than relying on people counting, different technologies are used to enforce social distancing. For one, video combined with artificial intelligence is used in this regard. LeewayHertz’s solution, for example, uses AI to monitor if there’s a gap between individuals. If not, or if the gap is not big enough, an alarm will sound off to alert those in charge.
Then, there are “virtual queue” solutions. Qminder, for example, has a solution that allows the visitor to enter the queue of an end user entity virtually over the Internet – they can wait, in their homes or vehicles, for their turn to enter the facility when called upon. “Alternatively, you can change your delivery method to curbside pickup, which would mean even fewer direct interactions between the customer and staff,” the company said.

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