Choosing Camera for Crowd Analytics

Choosing Camera for Crowd Analytics

Stereoscopic camera is the go-to technology for most standard people measurement applications. It delivers almost perfect people-identification, precise positioning, high frame rates, solid privacy protection (no video capture when properly configured), high-field reliability with a minimum of moving parts, and the ability (with matrixing) to cover even very large indoor areas.

When it comes to people-measurement, it’s the most proven and reliable choice you can make.

We work with a variety of camera sensors and can help you pick the right ones and even mix-and-match camera with other sensor technologies (like LiDAR) to provide the most efficient coverage of your space.

  • Matrixing delivers Full-Journey Analytics

    Add an on-premise NUC processor to your environment and you can matrix dozens or even hundreds of sensors into a single continuous field-of-view. Matrixing lets you do full-journey tracking of almost any size space with proven camera sensors.

  • Excellent Economics

    By configuring the right camera to the right space, you can pay just for the coverage you need. Camera is an economical solution for everything from single-door measurement to quite large spaces.

  • Optimized for Crowded Environments

    The top-down, ceiling view of a stereoscopic camera minimizes the blockage and impact of crowds. If you have dense crowding, top down positioning will maximize counting accuracy.

  • Outstanding Reliability

    These stereoscopic people-sensors have been in the field for a long time. They have very few moving parts and they almost never break. It’s a technology you can deploy with absolute confidence that it works and works reliably.

Comparative Capabilities

The three most important factors to consider when choosing a sensor technology are its core people-tracking capabilities, the environments it works in, and the total cost of ownership.

People-tracking capabilities include population capture (% of people tracked), positional accuracy and capture rate (how often it collects a person location).

Environmental factors include lighting requirements, ceiling height requirements, mounting position (Top-down, side, both), and outdoor capability.

For TCO, the key factors sensor cost, coverage, installation cost and failure rate.

  • People Tracking

    Camera and LiDAR both deliver exceptional people-tracking. They will track nearly everyone in a typical space, with almost perfect positioning and will generate at least 2 frames per second – meaning you measure every step in a customer journey.

  • Environment

    Camera requires stable indoor lighting and top-mounted ceiling heights between 9-15 feet. LiDAR can be ceiling mounted or wall-mounted, indoor or outdoor. LiDAR can also be hidden behind specialized glass to be invisible to the environment.

  • Cost

    The cost of cameras vs. LiDAR is very space dependent. Camera works best with high (but not vaulting) ceilings. If you your ceilings are in the 12-15ft range, camera is often optimal. Even with lower ceilings, camera is usually optimal in smaller spaces or in spaces with high line-of-sight blockers or very dense crowds.

Understanding Coverage

Coverage can be a complex issue, but camera implementations are usually straightforward. Camera coverage depends on the sensor and the ceiling height. Usually, that’s all you need to know.

Ceiling (or mounting) height is surprisingly impactful. The difference of a foot or two can mean 2-30% differences in coverage area and can fundamentally change the economics of a deployment.

In general, the best camera sensors at optimal (12-15ft) heights will cover around 1000 square feet of space.

  • LiDAR Coverage

    LiDAR coverage is NEVER what the manufacturer says. Reliable people detection and classification can usually be done at about half the range claimed. However, even this will vary wildly depending on line-of-sight blockage and crowds. The LiDAR needs to put enough beams on an object to recognize and track it. In addition, LiDAR sensors typically have a significant blind spot underneath the sensor and some wave-pattern gaps in coverage. From a practical standpoint, this means that the minimum LIDAR implementation is 2 sensors even in spaces where a single LiDAR would otherwise suffice.

  • Camera Coverage

    Camera coverage is much simpler. In general, a top-down camera will give you the coverage claimed by the manufacturer based on ceiling height. When doing full journey, also keep in mind that cameras must have an overlapping area to track people across their field of view. This will reduce the actual measured area of each camera and is NOT the same for every sensor.

  • Choosing between LiDAR and Camera

    Both provide excellent measurement, so the choice usually comes down to environment, privacy and, most of all, cost. If LiDAR is the only workable solution then your decision is easy. If LiDARs lack of video is a PII essential, ditto. But if neither of those things are true, it’s very much a matter of picking the best TCO alternative for you space. In smaller spaces, that’s almost always camera. In medium to larger spaces, the right answer will take careful evaluation of your site but may well be LiDAR.

The Importance of Integration

The ability to integrate multiple sensor technologies is critical for many applications and spaces. Our DM1 platform does this seamlessly, letting you cover different parts of a space with different technologies or overlay electronic measurement of a space on top of LiDAR or camera.

  • Mix and Match Sensors

    If your locations have a mix of small, enclosed spaces and larger open areas, how do you pick the right technology? Office-spaces, for example, have conference rooms that are typically a few hundred square feet. That’s much too small for efficient use of LiDAR. But they may have public areas and bull-pens that are ideal for LiDAR. By integrating camera and LiDAR seamlessly and tracking individuals across both sensor types, we provide the most cost-efficient and measurement capable solution possible.

  • Overlay Electronics

    If you need to track specific assets or employees, electronic tracking (BLE or UWB) might be your best option. We can integrate that information right on top of the same location. Some of our sensor partners will even integrate the electronic detection on the sensor so that no extra setup is required.


Our go to camera sensor partners are Xovis and Hella. Both have outstanding technologies that have been field proven across thousands of implementations.

The capabilities of these sensors are quite similar, but there are some differences in coverage area, cost, overlap requirements when matrixing, and remote management that may favor one or the other.

Either way, we’ll help you make the right choice for you space. Nor are we limited. If you prefer another sensor, if it provides an event-level push feed (every object in the space in real-time), we can probably integrate it for you.

  • Xovis

    Xovis sensors shine in large-scale, complex implementations. Their cameras have the best coverage options for large spaces, minimize overlap requirements for matrixing, and, when deployed with their Spider processor, scale really well.

    They also provide a clean, easy to use https push mechanism and support very near real-time data.

  • Hella

    Hella sensors provide extremely accurate people-tracking at very reasonable price-point. They’ve greatly expanded their remote management capabilities and improved their matrixing – making Hella sensors an excellent choice for any door-counting / occupancy application and for many smaller and mid-size full-journey tracking applications.

    While the SOAP interface is more complex to setup, it provides a ton of flexibility in configuring the data push.

Find Out More

Learn more about our advanced SaaS people-measurement platform and its unique capabilities in both real-time and analytic measurement.

Full Journey Tracking

Our DM1 platform is the most robust people-measurement system in the world. LiDAR is a perfect sensor for the full-journey tracking we specialize in.

Queue Management

For large queue areas (Airports, Transit Stations, Destination Retail, Arenas, and high-volume public spaces), LiDAR and our real-time queue management are match made in heaven.

Learn how people-measurement can solve fundamental business problems in retail, airports, transit, public spaces, museums, arenas and offices.


Optimize labor, improve path-to-purchase, remove queue friction, test&measure displays and dynamically allocate Associates.

Airports & Transit Centers

Optimize every queue. Integrate data sources. Track full journeys. Deep-dive into retail areas to optimize conversion.


Measure every part of the experience. Queue. Wait Times. Crowding. Key areas. Retail.


Measure occupancy. Compare to reservations. Integrate real-time usage data. Measure any kind of public space and its usage.

Request a Demo

The best way to evaluate ANY enterprise software? See it in action.
Drop us a line and we’ll set up a time to walk you through DM1 and answer any questions you have.

    Select Products(s)

    What are you hoping to learn about?