Why security cameras are not suitable for accurate people counting analytics
Many retail stores have security cameras, and they are excellent devices for surveillance and capturing crime. But can they also do the job of providing accurate and robust people counting data?
CCTV or dedicated people counter?
The choice is yours, but with our 22+ years’ experience in the people counting industry, we have tested many technologies and types of devices. In most cases, trying to get a device to be 1st rate in two different areas is always a challenge and there will no doubt be compromises. This will mean first and foremost, they will be 'excellent' at security observation and detection, this naturally leads to compromising with being accurate at people counting.
If you want to be accurate at people counting, and why wouldn’t you, particularly if you are going to use the data to measure performance or to monitor occupancy, then there is no getting away from needing two types of technologies. In the long run, it will pay for itself in future-proofing your business.
Can I use security cameras for people counting?
Here are some more reasons why a CCTV set up will not be able to provide you with accurate footfall data;
Privacy This is the main reason as data protection is becoming increasingly important (especially in certain parts of the world). The images captured will need to be processed, either on the device or externally (likely in the cloud) to count the amount of people entering/exiting. Some companies argue that as it is all processed on the device they do not transmit personal data and respect privacy, however any IoT could be hacked and the video feeds used. One way to ensure privacy is protected is to not capture this data in the first place.
Accuracy Counting accuracy is subject to a number of factors such as the quality of the AI processing the image and environmental factors such as lighting or shadows. CCTV cameras do not perform well in bright sunshine, darkness or when there is a high contrast (such as shadows) in the view.
Field of View Using existing CCTV cameras may not give you the coverage you require – they would have been deployed for other purposes. Security cameras are usually mounted at an oblique angle in order to capture people’s faces, which means there will always be occlusion and inherent inaccuracy.
People Movement They could probably count OK if traffic flowed one by one through a defined space, but people stop / start / meander / U-turn / move erratically – there are no algorithms that can cope with this. You therefore need a dedicated Time of Flight technology that delivers accuracy levels of >99%.
To find out more about our people counters and occupancy counters, get in touch.