In our last blog we talked about how the journey began from a simple conversation with a Business Improvement District (BID) manager, to Proximity Futures being launched and our first product ElephantWiFi. In this blog we want to expand on our second product Geo-Sense, how it came about and compare the pro’s & cons of traditional vs digital footfall monitoring.
As ElephantWiFi developed and the results were starting to make people sit up and take note, Jonathan, Hinkley BID manager at the time, asked us if there was anything we could do to make footfall reporting easier. Turns out he was spending hours pulling in raw high-level data and converting it to reports that he could use, but basic information.
Not being one to shy away from a challenge, we agreed to have a look at it. At the time there were only so many ways to count footfall. So, we started to look at what was available on the market already. We soon realised that the options were very limited and like the beam counters already being used in Hinckley, the data was very high level and not that useful.
So, what happened? Geo-Sense happened!
“what makes yours different?” we hear you say, “there are lots of footfall counting products on the market”’. While this is true now, would you compare a Mini with a Ferrari? The answer is probably not, and the same can be said for data.
Let us explain. Traditional footfall counters such as cameras, beam counters or laser curtains all have a place but what are they actually telling us? What we want to hear or what we should hear? Let us explain further. A traditional method of footfall counting will count every time a beam is broken, or object enters a counting box, and this is fine to a certain degree after all we are looking for patterns and trends. The question is how many of those counts are of the same person coming and going? The same person could walk past the same counter multiple times on a visit to your place on the same day, so are you getting a true picture of the actual footfall?
For six months we experimented with all these methods to try and get the intelligence that Jonathan wanted, not just a count of how many people have walked past a counting point. But no matter what we tried we soon realised the level detail required was not possible with this technology and could still only tell him how many people had walked past the counting point, nothing about dwell time, repeat visitors vs new visitors, daily, weekly, monthly comparisons, all this seemed impossible with the traditional footfall counters.
We also looked at our own ElephantWiFi access points as a source of footfall data and spent the next 6 months working with the data collected and Interrogating the results. Once again, we realised that this just didn’t give us what we wanted (or more Importantly what our customers wanted). Frustrated, but not deterred, it was at this stage we set about developing our own proprietary system to count footfall. Not just a standard footfall count but, a system that could be viewed live, in real time, that could also tell us so much more about what people did in our towns and cities. So, armed with a lot more understanding of what was required GEO-Sense was born.
GEO-Sense is a revolutionary footfall system developed by Proximity Futures for one purpose, to make footfall counting as accurate as possible.
Launched in 2016 as a completely independent system to ElephantWiFi, GEO-Sense turned the footfall analytics market on its head due to the level of accuracy provided. The key to this being GEO-Sense counts unique visitors rather than the conventional beam and camera platforms which are incapable of identifying unique pedestrians and as a result will multi count, artificially increasing visitor numbers. GEO-Sense also has a 360° field of view opposed to the normal 120° of cameras or fixed location of beam counters.
GEO-Sense brings to you data not yet seen by conventional footfall cameras or counters, capturing, storing, recalling, monitoring visitor movement and differentiating between new and repeat visitors, giving you a unique insight not only on visitor footfall, but also invaluable information on visitor dwell times and how often they visit your place.
Designed to help towns, cities and retailers fully understand visitor information 24/7 using technology that can actually differentiate between new and repeat visitors. GEO-Sense tracks all WiFi enabled devices, anonymises the data and delivers analytics in real time, any time. All of which can be viewed, downloaded and interrogated.
Based on a proprietary system designed by ourselves, GEO-Sense associates the unique ID provided by WiFi enabled devices
to individuals. This unique approach to footfall allows us to provide a wealth of reports providing the type of information YOU want, allowing you to make informed and intelligent decisions through data.
Unlike systems recently developed to mimic GEO-Sense, we use dedicated sensors that do not require visitors to make any WiFi connection. GEO-Sense simply listens with no interaction required.
GEO-Sense is also responsive and 100% mobile compliant meaning not only will you have access to all the footfall data you need while in the office but, you can also take it on the move and access all the reports on your mobile or tablet.
Our single sign-on, cloud-based portal known as Intelli-Sense provides access to GEO-Senseas well as all our other applications including ElephantWiFi, Enviro-Sense, Parking-Sense & Retail Sense. Intelli-Sense offers ‘a fly on the wall’ view of who comes to your place, how often they come back and what they do when there.
As Geo-Sense is capable of reporting on unique visitors, the reports included within the Intelli-Sense system contain more detail when compared to traditional footfall systems. The reports are specifically tailored to include unique and returning visitors, accurate dwell time, identify how people move around a town or venue and heat mapping to understand areas of less and greater interest.
Reports are all available via the Intelli-Sense system, on screen, downloadable in raw format as CSV files as well as automated PDF reports sent direct to your inbox. For those of you who are more technical we can also provide secure API access to have raw data streamed direct to you and have also developed WordPress plugin to show data live on your own WordPress based website.
Below is a summary of the reporting available with Geo-Sense and Intelli-sense, reports that are simply not possible with traditional footfall counting systems.
Visitor report – This shows detailed Information specific to the venue as a whole such as new & repeat visitors, dwell, busiest time of day, busiest zones, weather all of which are selectable by date range down to 15-minute increments.
Zone report – As per the visitor report but specific to a single zone.
Day / Night report – This report includes information as per the visitor report but allows for the selection of a specific time period over a set number of days. For example, comparing visitor number results for Monday to Friday between 5:00 pm and 11:00 pm.
Visit report – This report details the number of visits made by people visiting your venue each day customisable by a range of set hours. For example, how many people visit the place twice in a day with an hourly gap of at least 2 hours between each visit.
Repeat Visitor report – This report is very useful for places that have tourism but works just as well on the high street. The report is designed to detail how often a person revisits the venue. For example, on the high street, how many people visit once every week or for a tourism venue how many visitors come back at least once every year.
Event Information – This report is designed to create a virtual area by combining a selection of zones into one, the event zone. Once created the zone will act as a single super zone and detailed information can then be gathered on this area. The report also has a live counter updated every 30 seconds which is very useful for crowd control.
Comparison Reports – These are mini visitor number-based reports which allow you to select various dates (up to 9 on a single page) and compare one date with another.
Heatmap – This report represents each zone at a venue as a hot spot, the deeper the colour the busier the zone is. The report is fully animated so a time / date selection can be made and watched as a time lapse showing how crowds move around your venue.
Visitor Journeys – This report is very popular and shows the number of visitors that move from zone to zone up to a maximum of 10 journeys. Starting with the most popular zone, journeys are created showing the number of people moving back and forth onto the next zone and so on.
Below are a few screen grabs of the capability of our portal with Geo-Sense:
This is all great but what about GDPR? Privacy is a major consideration of a system like GEO-Sense. Even before GDPR became law in May 2018, GEO-Sense was designed to follow all the guidelines set out by the ICO for WiFi based location analytics from its original concept in 2016. As such GEO-Sense is 100% GDPR compliant and fully anonymises any data collected.
With 96% of the UK phones & devices now being ‘Smart devices’ our Geo-Sense system gives over 90% accuracy, something again, not possible to achieve with traditional footfall counters.
Even with on-going development of our own system and looking at other systems on the market, there is yet to be anything that is 100% accurate, but at over 90% accurate Geo-Sense is the market leader. Despite all this tech, whether you choose traditional or digital systems it ultimately boils down to looking for trends and patterns when interpreting data – you just need to be looking at the best data you can!