People counters can be an excellent addition to any organization’s visitor intelligence strategy. They are able to detect people with a high degree of accuracy, and can help you measure visitor traffic to, and throughout key areas, in your venues.

In this article we’ll cover some of the unique advantages of people counters, their use cases, and how you can combine them with additional data points to gain a more complete understanding of what’s happening in your spaces.

What Are People Counters?

People counters are electronic devices that measure the number of people that pass through, a particular area, passage, or entryway.

The latest generation of people counters use stereoscopic (3D) imaging and advanced image processing to separate individuals from groups, objects, and the surrounding environment with up to 99% accuracy. Some devices can even distinguish between certain types of individuals, like staff and children.

How Do They Work?

Once a people counter device is installed, count lines and zones can be created within its  field of view to measure bi-directional traffic, as well as zone entrances, exits, and dwell time.

Count lines can be drawn to measure the number of people that traverse them, and in which direction (entrances vs exits).

Zones can be drawn to measure the number of people that enter a certain area, as well as the amount of time they spend there.

What Are People Counters Good For?

People counters offer an effective method for detecting when people are in, or move through a particular space. And while other technologies, like WiFi and Bluetooth, can be used to measure visits, there are a couple areas where people counters shine:

1. Directly Counting People

Unlike other methods for measuring visits, people counter don’t rely on visitors carrying a connected device. They can directly measure people. This can be useful in some situations where a direct count might be beneficial, such as:

  • Measuring footfall to inform tenant mix and rental premiums
  • Monitoring maximum occupancy in your venue
  • Correlating visits with purchases to calculate conversion rates

Additionally, when other forms of counting people are used in conjunction with people counters, the data can be calibrated to collectively produce a more accurate measure of visits throughout a venue.

2. Measuring Specific Interactions

When you need to measure very specific interactions within a confined space, people counters are a great option. Multiple count lines and zones can be configured for a single field of view, making them well suited for:

  • Measuring conversion and abandonment in checkout areas
  • Monitoring the amount of time visitors spend waiting in line
  • Measuring engagement with different product displays, merchandise, or other specific points of interest within a confined area

Use Cases for People Counters

In general, any venue that wants to measure traffic throughout their space can benefit from people counters. Below are some specific examples of how certain verticals might leverage people counters.

Retail and Supermarkets

Retailers can use people counters to count the number of visitors that enter their venues, and then correlate that data with POS data to measure conversion rates. Additionally, being able to better understand and predict traffic patterns can help retailers more accurately plan staffing schedules to meet demand. Finally, the ability of people counters to monitor interactions in confined spaces can help retailers measure engagement with retail displays, and monitor checkout times.

Shopping Centers

Shopping centers can use people counters to accurately measure footfall throughout different areas. This data can be helpful for attracting desirable brands to high-traffic areas, measuring the effectiveness of different brands to draw traffic to an area, and informing rental premiums based on footfall.

Airports, Stadiums, and Entertainment Venues

Venues with a lot of traffic entering at the same time can benefit from the ability to measure how different entry/exit points are being utilized, as well as how long it takes visitors to move through those areas. This data can provide a better understanding of how traffic is flowing through these types of venues, as well as where congestion issues might be occurring. Finally, once improvements are made, the impact of those changes can be measured.

Cultural Centers

People counters can help cultural centers measure traffic to their venues, as well as how different exhibits inside their centers are performing. Additionally, correlating the data with different outreach campaigns, and external factors like weather, can help cultural centers better understand what drives visitation.

Making the Most of Your People Counting Data

Ok, so we’ve established what people counters are, and some of the unique benefits their data can provide. However, to really capitalize on that data, you need a good way to visualize it – and ideally, connect it with data across your organization to improve the depth of insights it can offer.

In this section, we’ll discuss a few tips for maximizing the value of your people counter data by incorporating it into a larger omnidata intelligence strategy.

Consolidate Your Reporting for Deeper Insights

The ability to view data across your organization in a single platform can help you add context to your people counter data, and gain a deeper understanding of what factors are influencing traffic in your venues.

An omnidata intelligence platform like Skyfii IO not only provides detailed reporting for people counter data, it also allows you to visualize that data alongside additional data sources, like WiFi, POS, social media, weather, the web, and marketing campaigns.

For example, in the people counter report below, the ability to incorporate weather data can help you understand if there’s any relationship between certain weather factors – like rainfall and temperature – and traffic to your venue.

The ability to overlay weather data on top of a people counter report can help venues understand the relationship between weather, and traffic to their venues

Fill in Demographic & Behavioral Data with WiFi

While people counters can help you count traffic throughout your venues, their data won’t tell you much about who your visitors are. That’s where WiFi comes in.

When visitors register to your WiFi network through a service like Skyfii’s Guest WiFi, you can ask them to provide valuable information about themselves, like age, gender, interests, contact details, etc.

WiFi captive portal

A WiFi captive portal can help you add additional context to your people counter data, like visitor demographics and loyalty.

Using WiFi location data, Skyfii IO can also measure how different types of visitors move through your venues, how long they spend in different areas, and how often they come back.

Visit flow report

The visit flow report can show you how different types of visitors move through your venue.

So, while people counters can help you accurately count the number of people that visit a particular area in your venue, you can leverage WiFi to gain an accurate representation of how those visits breakdown by additional data points, like demographics, interests or loyalty.

Leverage People Counters to Trigger Notifications to Staff

You can leverage people counters for more than just counting traffic. Combining them with a multichannel engagement tool, like Skyfii’s IO Engage, can provide some unique opportunities for real-time communications to your staff.

You can use people counter to monitor particular areas, and trigger notifications to staff based on that data. Here are a few examples:

  • Monitor restricted areas, and alert security personnel when people are detected in them.
  • Monitor occupancy in your venue, and trigger alerts to staff when the venue is reaching maximum capacity.
  • Monitor a retail area, and alert additional staff to assist based on dwell times or the amount of people detected.

Monitor occupancy in your venue, and trigger alerts to staff when it reaches a certain threshold.


If you’re looking for a high-fidelity, granular method of counting visitor traffic to, and throughout, your venues – people counters are one data source you should consider. They can help you understand how different areas of your venues are being utilized, monitor and improve the performance of strategic areas, and identify which factors are impacting visitation.

Additionally, when leveraged as part of a larger visitor intelligence strategy, people counters can help you gain a more complete understanding of visitor experiences and behavior in your venues.

Interested in People Counter Solutions for Your Venues?

Visit our people counters page to learn how Skyfii can help you get more value out of an existing people counting solution, or build one from the ground-up.

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