All posts by Asad Syed

A global visionary and leading technical engineering entrepreneur currently involved in the design, prototyping and implementation of highly advanced 'Internet of Things' technologies for the Smart City Market across the world. Actively involved in pioneering big data analytics, Internet of Things Sensors, Hardware / Software Technologies and Smart City Solutions including mesh networks allowing thousands of sensors to collect and push IOT data to be collected in cities across the world. Pioneering the smart city market alongside other leaders within this market, I am currently involved in world wide projects and have implemented many solutions for the Smart City.

Store increases sales by using live footfall counts

Alshaya is a world-class retailer with over 2200 stores across 19 countries. Their stores transmit point-of-sale data, in real-time, to their headquarters in Kuwait. Alshaya wanted to integrate footfall counts alongside their sales data, so that they could calculate sales conversion figures throughout the day. They needed an accurate, networked, people counting system which regularly transferred data into their MySQL central database. Our Video Turnstile system suited Alshaya because it was accurate, expandable and could provide them with people counting information when they needed it.

Alshaya decided to run a pilot in their American Eagle Outfitters store, which sells fashion clothing to young adults.

Initially Alshaya required hourly bi-directional breakdowns of footfall. Then they realised the power of the information and requested counts every 15 minutes. Finally they asked if the counts could be sent every 5 minutes. This was easy to do: the Video Turnstile software lets you choose the epoch length – the length of time over which the counts are totalled.

We were curious as to why Alshaya should need data every 5 minutes but all became clear when our CEO, Asad Syed, visited them. The footfall data was incorporated into their graphical and mapping software showing real-time counts alongside point-of-sale figures.

Ten minutes into a 15 minute epoch, data is sent back from headquarters to the store manager’s PC. This shows how close he is to his sales conversion target for that quarter of an hour. The manager has an earpiece connected to every staff member and tells them that they have 5 minutes to make the store’s 15 minute target, based on current footfall recorded by Video Turnstile. When Asad visited the store he remarked upon the flurry of activity which this aroused. The target-based incentives meant that sales rocketed.

Monthly graph of sales conversions

To find out more about real-time footfall data, either contact Asad Syed or fill in our on-line footfall quote form.

Why count visitors?

Measuring visitor numbers is the key to analysing shopper behaviour and turning browsers into buyers. All web shops measure visitor numbers; surprisingly, many businesses in the high street neglect to collect this statistic. What would they discover if they made measuring footfall a priority?

The impact of an advertising campaign

  • Did visitor numbers increase during the campaign?
  • Did sales increase proportionally?
  • Were visitor numbers sustained post-campaign?
  • Were marketing efforts successful in driving prospects. Without people coming into the store there is no opportunity for sales conversion.
  • Set visitor and sales conversion targets against which to measure marketing success.

Optimum opening hours

  • Understand visitor numbers by the half-hour (for example) and the day of the week. Do more people shop at one end of the day?
  • When you change opening hours, compare results over the entire day. Do new hours bring in new customers, or just spread out existing ones.

Sales conversion

  • Sales conversion = visits to the till / visitors
  • Calculate sales conversion by the hour, half-hour or every 15 minutes to see peaks and troughs.
  • Find what proportion of people don’t make a purchase and take steps to convert these into buyers. Would more staff convert more browsers to buyers? Or perhaps improving the store layout would help.

Queue management

  • Do you know how many people leave because the queues were too long? A good people counting system will help you find out.

Efficient staff allocation

  • Monitor visitors hourly for optimum staff scheduling – allocate more staff exactly when they are needed. You can’t do this just by sales figures – how many sales were lost because a staff member wasn’t available to close the sale?

Identify long-term business trends

A modest investment in people counting gives great benefits. You will be able to measure:

  • Whether your advertising is working
  • Your sales conversion rate
  • How many staff you neeed
  • How long are your queues
  • Your current occupancy
  • How long people stand at your displays
  • The path people take

For more information contact Asad Syed or fill in our questionnaire

Malaysia Theme Park Counts All

The largest helium balloon in Malaysia, and the first in the world to be tethered over water, hovers over the SkyRides Festival Theme Park.

When the theme park needed to know both how many visitors were arriving and the number of them going up in the balloon, they turned to a Video Turnstile counting system from Retail Sensing.

The helium-filled balloon slowly climbs 150 m to offer sweeping views stretching over 50 km. Its gondola holds 30 passengers, who can walk around to see the view from all aspects.

Video Turnstile counts more than 25,000 people visiting the Festivals Park each month. Many of them also ride in the star-attraction of the Skyrides Helium Balloon.

Intelligent video analytics units analyse pictures from CCTV cameras to count park visitors and balloon passengers with over 98% accuracy. They send the counts wirelessly to a central computer. The data can be used, amongst other things, to

  • compare ticket sales with actual numbers of people entering the park and ascending in the balloon
  • improve the visitor experience, for example by helping minimise queues
  • increase retail sales, for instance, by analysing and acting on sales conversion rates
  • accurately plan staffing levels for busiest times

Although the system uses video footage – it does not identify individuals in the picture, thus protecting people’s privacy.

More Information

For more details of counting people entering theme parks, balloon passenger counting and other outdoor visitor counting systems, contact Asad Syed.

Retail Sensing win IOT UK Boost Award

Retail Sensing are delighted to have won an IOT UK Boost award at The Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

STFC’s Hartree Centre, working in conjunction with the Digital Catapult, were offering support with the exploration and integration of Internet of Things (IoT) to just 10 businesses throughout 2017. They recognised the potential of our Smart City technology, and we look forward to working with them to develop our systems still further.

The Internet of Things is one of the fastest moving areas in digital technology. Collecting, exchanging, analysing and exploiting data through networks incorporating all kinds of sensor- and internet-enabled devices, it offers huge potential to boost business — and not just for the businesses harnessing those technologies, but for those supplying them too.

The STFC (Science and Technology Facilities Council) at the Hartree Centre provide access to world-leading, large-scale facilities enabling research and innovation. They are transforming UK industry through high performance computing, big data analytics and cognitive technologies.

As a result of winning the IOT UK Boost, Retail Sensing now have access to world-class research facilities, office space, business support and an environment which encourages innovation.

To find out more about our IoT systems, download the Smart City leaflet.

Counting in the Smart City: Pedestrians, Bicycles and Vehicles

Smart Cities have the power to provide data about what’s going on in a number of unprecedented ways. They change the way we can understand, manage and study cities. People can be better engaged when they have access to more information about their city.

What is a Smart City?

A smart city installs sensors which can share information with the public, businesses, city managers and other sensor systems. The city connects its sensors and services via the internet of things. The different sensor systems store their information in a common data warehouse and make it available to those who need it.

How it helps make Cities Better Places to Live

To effectively serve people it helps if the city authorities know how many people are going where and when. The flow of pedestrians affects the whole city environment. It is important to know not just the numbers of people but also how the numbers change over time.

An accurate people metering system provides feedback on changes in people’s behaviour within the city and allows the council to effectively manage the flow of people, vehicles and bicycles around the area. This is also known as smart mobility.

counting bicyclists in the smart city

Retail Sensing and the Internet of Things Smart City Sensors

Retail Sensing are a UK-based technology manufacturing company. Our head office is in Manchester.

Our Internet of Things Smart City device uses our own video analytics algorithm to detect pedestrians and vehicles, together with data logging hardware and Internet-of-Things connectivity.

The ISO9001 quality approved system is implemented around the city and sends real time data to “Brokers”. The brokers process the data and makes it available to all end users.

Urban Sensing

Counting Pedestrians

In the high streets and city centres, the Smart Counter (Pi VT) counts people. It provides both real-time and historical data for “Big Data” analytics.

It can also be used within individual retail units to discover vital analytics like sales conversion rate, average queuing time and the most popular area of a store. This demonstrates in a practical way the city’s commitment to retail on the high street.

The Smart Counters are attached to lampposts around the city.

Counting Bicycles

The Smart Counter can also be used to count bicycles. This helps monitor and support the promotion of healthy travelling and gives a measure of how green or pollution-free areas are within a city centre.

Counting Vehicles

Smart Counts accurately count cars down roads and at junctions. Councils can effectively manage the flow of traffic along the busiest routes across the city and monitor the days and times of the heaviest flow.

Combining the Counts and Scoring Effectiveness of Smart City Projects

The Internet-of-Things data provided helps quantify the use of footpaths and cycle ways. It shows the use of roads, including commuter routes around schools and major routes through the city centre. This can help score the effectiveness of Smart City projects such as City Verve, which aims to build and deliver a smarter, more connected Manchester. Creating a city that uses technology to meet the complex needs of its people.

From a health perspective the Pi VT Smart Counter provides Smart City data to monitor the effectiveness of sports activity, events and jogging routes within parks.

Counting on Public Transport

The Smart Counters are not just being used around the city streets. Buses, trains and trams can also benefit.

Counting Passengers on Buses

Transport authorities can know the numbers of people arriving by bus at various points in the city, by time of day. The data helps revenue protection – reconciling tickets bought with passenger numbers. It also enables effective fleet bus management with services around the city centre. With real-time GPS location of buses, it gives a clear picture of what is going on.

Counting the users of Trains and Trams

Monitoring the numbers of people arriving on platforms again provides vital information on the use of routes by time of day.

The Smart Cities of the not-too-distant Future

We’ve given a taste of just a few of the benefits of the Smart City.

A city is not just about streets, buildings and buses. Nor is it just about giving cutting-edge connectivity to sensors and devices, and the Internet of Things. It isn’t about “things” at all. It’s about people. And how their lives can be made better in order to keep the heart of the city beating.

The data is there for whoever needs or wants it. Enabling clever solutions to urban problems.

To find out more about Smart City systems, download the Smart City leaflet or call us on +44 (0)161 839 6437.

98% Footfall and occupancy accuracy for exhibition centre

The Business Design Centre (BDC) – London’s conference and exhibition venue – has increased the accuracy of its footfall and occupancy monitoring by switching to a video system from Retail Sensing.

Previously the BDC used infra-red beam breakers to count people. We set up a week’s trial of our Video Turnstile system, so the company could compare the accuracy of the CCTV set-up against the infra-red beams. Following live video verification, the Video Turnstile system was proved to reach an accuracy of 98% across the full entrance to the conference building. The Business Design Centre duly installed the video counters to provide real-time occupancy and footfall figures.

The occupancy count is accessible to all members of staff. By logging into a BDC Head Office computer any employee can see how many people are in the building at the moment.

The Video Turnstile real-time count and footfall data is now helping the Business Design Centre to run much more efficiently and be critically managed to get the optimum use of the centre.

For more information contact Asad Syed.