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Accurate people counting – learning valuable lessons from retail

Do you really know how many people are using your library daily? Do you know if the data you are collecting is accurate? Are you making planning decisions based on incorrect data? To find out the answers to these questions and more we planned a session with people counting experts Irisys.


On 8th February we hosted a webinar in partnership with Irisys, a Fluke brand. With over 500,000 sensors installed worldwide and over 10 billion people counted annually, Irisys have been providing the technology for understanding people movement in buildings for over 25 years.

Irisys identified that a lot can be learned from how retailers monitor their buildings’ occupancy levels and that this technology is also perfect for library spaces, helping library managers to fully understand library usage and better inform management decisions. 


Why is the Irisys solution different?

You may already be using people counting methods for your library space, and if you are then you will realise the importance of this data. These older methods such as manual clicker counting which is time consuming and not 100% accurate as it is reliant on constant monitoring; or maybe you have beam technology instead?  This system is simple, but can easily be blocked and when several people enter at one time it fails to accurately count them all, plus it does not function well with wider entrances. In fact a beam breaker counter is <54% accurate. 



So, the data you have may not be giving you an accurate picture of your library’s occupancy and therefore your reports could well be under-counting the true footfall for your library spaces. 

The technology used by Irisys uses sensors to provide intelligent people counting solutions. There are no concerns around privacy as the sensors use anonymous ‘Time of Flight’ sensing technology, protecting occupancy privacy. 


What are the benefits of the Time of Flight counting methodology?

› It is highly robust

› Counts children & adults 

› Counts staff

› Is suitable for wide openings

› Ignores goods deliveries

› Provides interior analytics


What difference would accurate data make to the management of your library? 

There are three key benefits to having accurate occupancy data for libraries: 

› Attendance and footfall measurement

With accurate attendance figures your reports will become more meaningful.  You can measure the usage of different zones within the building.

In addition live data can be accessed on the website enabling visitors to make real time decisions – is the library busy right now or should I visit later on? 

› Occupant wellbeing

By measuring occupancy, you can put measures in place to ensure the wellbeing and safety of your library users. With a clear picture of the number of people in your library you can manage your occupancy levels to ensure the wellbeing of your library users.

With the SafeCount solution you can also monitor usage in certain zones such as public access PCs and different areas of the library.

› Reduce costs

The availability of accurate data gives you the ability to align your services such as cleaning to the usage and demand in the library rather than schedules.

Data matters, and so the key benefit is that you will receive accurate, intelligent data that you can rely on. 

Woman and man reading / using the computer in a library setting

Can the system be expanded to include more features? 

Absolutely, the True Occupancy ecosystem is designed to be scalable for libraries. True Zone features sensors to measure people movement in key locations such as entryways, departments and zones, with True Data providing occupancy figures in real-time. A small number of sensors can cover a large area, reducing costs. The system is highly scalable, buildings can be divided in to as many zones or sub zones as required.


Diagram showing The True Occupancy ecosystem in a library
True Occupancy ecosystem within a library setting

It’s exciting to see how technology that has been used effectively in retail settings to measure and manage footfall can be implemented in a library setting and provide a level of accuracy that hasn’t been available through other existing counting methods. The data provided will enable you to make data-driven decisions on managing occupancy, understand high traffic areas within the library and to accurately report on library visitors. 

The system is installed with minimum disruption as the sensors are located in the ceiling and with completely anonymous data collected there are no concerns around privacy or GDPR. 

We’re excited to be able to bring this technology to the library setting and are confident that our partners Irisys have the expertise to add real value to the management information systems available to library and service managers. 

To find out more read the presentation recently shared in our webinar.

Or to view the webinar, click here to watch. 

Get in touch to discuss what accurate people counting could do for your library planning.