People Counting and Occupancy for Safe Workplaces

In our latest webinar, “People Counting and Occupancy for Commercial Spaces,” we introduced Rigado partner HELLA Aglaia, experts in stereoscopic people sensing who developed our latest integrated sensor device, the APS-90E. The webinar recording is available here, and the APS-90E is now featured in our integrated partner device list.

Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of this discussion and why this new capability central to any safe workplace, retail, or smart building solution.

Occupancy Meets People Counting

You may be familiar with Rigado’s real-time occupancy sensor, the RS 40. We’ve deployed thousands of these low-power, battery operated sensors for room and desk occupancy applications. It’s an easy-to-install, cost-effective passive infrared solution, useful for determining space utilization powering smart office applications. However, it doesn’t provide a precise count as to how many people entered or exited a zone, and in the current COVID-19 environment this information has developed even greater importance.

Our solution to this challenge was to add complementary people-sensing technology to the RS 40 and integrate it into our Cascade Gateway and Edge Connect data processing platform. Enter the APS-90E from HELLA Aglaia, a 3D stereoscopic camera that determines individuals and groups, tracks their paths of motion, and even calculates the relative distance between people. It’s Ethernet powered, and does all of the analysis locally on the device in order to maintain GDPR compliance for privacy. By integrating it with our edge-as-a-service solution, Rigado can collect the APS-90 data (such as people counts) and send it to cloud applications using the same data pipeline as the RS 40 and any other devices in the network.

Speaking of those “other devices,” orchestrating a workflow across the entire sensor and device network is the key enabler of our Safe Workplaces solution. An example one customer is deploying uses the people counter and a small wireless display to show real-time occupancy status next to restroom entrances for tenants to know when it is safe to enter. They can also show the number of current occupants in the restroom, and indicate if that is below or above the threshold for safe distancing. The RS 40 occupancy still plays a role, since it can be installed in difficult-to-reach areas where a simple occupied/empty reading is needed. So depending on the particular use case, space, and application, occupancy sensors and people counters work together to complete the picture.

Putting People Counting to Work

As easy as the installation of a Rigado sensor network including the APS-90E can be, what’s equally important is getting the business application the data it needs from those devices. There are a few ways we accelerate this process for solution providers:

  • Pre-integration with cloud providers such as Azure IoT to make the device plug and play. Like the Presto Kit for Azure IoT, we’ve created IoT Central device templates with telemetry for the APS-90E that make it possible to demonstrate people counts in the cloud in a matter of minutes.
  • Training and documentation from Rigado on how to install, calibrate, and optimize performance. Although it is highly accurate (98%+) and very flexible, using the best practices when installing the device is key to getting reliable counting results.
  • Coordination with other sensors such as the RS 40 to conduct counter resets, and digital signage to display latest status to tenants and service workers.
Example Power BI Dashboard using Rigado’s People Counting Solution

It’s also worth noting that although we’ve talked a lot about safe workplaces, people counting plays a strong role in retail as well, where path analytics and dwell times are useful in optimizing store layouts and customer experience. Connect with us if you’d like to learn more about this exciting product and our unique approach to integrating it with the rest of our wireless device ecosystem.