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OPTEX offers people-counting solutions

by Benchmark

A highly accurate people counting technology from OPTEX 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 world. By embedding the latest Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) protocol into OPTEX’s Akribos VC-1020 people counting system, three new solutions from IA Connects, Vaelsys and Xenometric have 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.

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 appropriate instructions. 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 is capable of accurately monitoring occupancy levels during and after lockdown.

To manage the flow of people inside retail outlets as they re-open, Vaelsys has developed EasyCount and updated its Datacentre people counting solution to provide more functionalities regarding 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 Akribos to provide real-time information and occupancy dashboards.

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 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 units, 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 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 in the Cloud.

Masaya Kida, Managing Director at OPTEX Europe, stated, ‘Many businesses and retailers are using their security staff to manage access and control queue volumes and as such, there is 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.’

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

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

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