An innovative and highly accurate people counting technology from OPTEX, a global provider of sensing and detection, is at the heart of a series of new solutions to support social distancing in business and commercial environments as the COVID-19-enforced lockdown is being gradually lifted throughout the Europe, Middle and Africa region.

Thanks to embedding the latest Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) protocol into OPTEX’s proven Akribos VC-1020 people counting system, three new solutions from IA Connects, Vaelsys and Xenometric have now been developed. The protocol enables data to be communicated in real time and for the people count to be instantaneously updated – a crucial factor in the live monitoring of people flow.

People counting sensor

To help employers comply with the governmental rules and create a safe environment for employees to return to, IA Connects offers a Social Distancing Room Management technology. It works by monitoring the number of people and occupancy level of common areas such as waiting rooms, meeting rooms, office lobbies, restrooms etc and displaying the appropriate instruction.

It might, for example, state ‘do not enter’, ‘cleaning required,’ or ‘free to go,’ or any other such status that the customer defines. The solution comprises the OPTEX VC-1020 people counting sensor, WiFi Gateways including IA Connects’ MobiusFlow software, and display units mounted by the doors. The solution can communicate with any Building Management System (BMS) and capable of accurately monitoring occupancy levels during and after lockdown. 

Analytics and performance tool

Vaelsys has developed EasyCount and updated their existing Datacentre people counting solution

To manage the flow of people inside retail outlets as they steadily re-open, Vaelsys has developed EasyCount and updated their existing Datacentre people counting solution to provide more functionalities regarding the social distancing. EasyCount enables smaller retail outlets to display (with a clear ‘go’/ ‘wait’ dashboard) the number of people allowed into their store at any one time and the average waiting time.

Datacentre is a scalable solution for larger and multi-site retailers that serves both as a people counter but also a more sophisticated analytics and performance tool. It has now integrated the MQTT protocol of their Akribos to provide real-time information and occupancy dashboards.

Retail analysis purposes

The third of the new solutions comes from Xenometric which has further developed its range of people counting and occupancy-level software packages to integrate the MQTT protocol and provide dashboards suited for enforcing the social distancing. The entry-level solution, Xenoview, is suited to independent retailers or smaller buildings. It collects the real time count data from up to four Akribos, displays the occupancy levels on an integrated dashboard, and issue instructions to ‘go’ or ‘wait’.

The count data is stored locally and can also be used for retail analysis purposes. For larger or multisite applications, Xenometric has developed the X-Server. Similar to Xenoview in terms of its functionality, it differs in that it is fully scalable and includes an SQL database and full reporting functionalities. It can be hosted on the customer’s server or on the Cloud.

Access and control queue

Many businesses and retailers are using their security staff to manage access and control queue volumes"

Masaya Kida, Managing Director at OPTEX Europe (EMEA Headquarters) says the new solutions provide installers with an opportunity beyond security: “Many businesses and retailers are using their security staff to manage access and control queue volumes and as such, installers have an opportunity to become the principal point of  contact for bringing new solutions regarding occupancy level and social distancing."

"Most of the solutions presented are not only solving the issue created by the pandemic, but also solve the ongoing challenge of efficiently and accurately monitoring occupancy levels within a busy working or retail environment.”

Real-time analytics

The OPTEX Akribos VC-1020 is a real-time and multi-directional indoor people counter that can provide more than 98% accuracy. It ignores trollies and baskets and manages groups of individuals by tracking the direction or every individual, even if they are loitering. It now features MQTT, a lightweight messaging open protocol, which manages telemetry information, and is used in Man-to-Machine M2M and IoT devices for real-time analytics, preventive maintenance monitoring etc.

The MQTT protocol allows the people count to be immediately transmitted to the integrated occupancy software platform and gives an exact picture on how many people are in the shop, room or a specific area.

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