Retailers such as supermarkets, larger stores and other shops that need to ensure occupancy levels are maintained, to safeguard customer distancing measures, can now fully automate this process and minimise the otherwise labour intensive use of staff to operate and control it.

A new People Counting system, developed by Metro Security (GB) PLC as part of its 2019 Queen’s Award-winning Metro Analytic Retail Solution (M.A.R.S), enables retailers to keep an accurate and reliable tally of how many customers are in each shop at any given time. A simple-to-follow traffic light system tells queuing customers when it’s safe to enter, with on-screen messages explaining the system and providing reassurance.

Cost-effective, simple installation, easy-to-follow

The M.A.R.S People Counting system uses cost-effective, easy to install and re-deployable technology. It provides real-time, accurate occupancy monitoring for any retail site by deploying digital CCTV cameras, which use analytical software to monitor the ‘footfall’ in and out of any entrances/exits. The system’s sophisticated and reliable software algorithms accurately detect and measure those coming in and out, matching the number of people entering against those leaving to ensure pre-set occupancy levels are not exceeded at any given time. False counting and other potential mis-readings are eliminated.

 How People Counting works in practice

In daily operation, each arriving person can see a red or green light, with an on-screen message – for instance: “Available space inside: 2 persons. Please enter one person at a time and only enter when the traffic light shows Green. This system is working to help ensure your safety while you visit our store. Thank you for your cooperation and shopping with us.” The system can be configured to send an instant alert via text/email to managers if the occupancy threshold is exceeded.

Award-winning solution

As well as winning a 2019 Queen’s Award for Enterprise (Innovation), M.A.R.S has been shortlisted in two categories (‘Data and Analytics Provider of the Year’, and ‘In-Store Technology of the Year’) for the 2020 Retail Systems Awards. M.A.R.S has also won the London Final of the 2020 Celebrating Small Businesses Awards, organised by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).