Using Sensors to Monitor Foot Traffic During the Holidays

Sensor data can help city planners and businesses optimize their operations, and one Danish city is attempting to do just that this holiday season.

by / December 16, 2014
At the annual Christmas market in Aalborg, Denmark, city officials installed sensor technology to determine whether the event is justifiable.

City leaders want to make their communities smarter, and that transformation comes in many forms. In one Danish city, it means using sensors to measure the impact of large events around the holidays. In Aalborg, Denmark, the Aalborg City Business Association will use sensors from Blip Systems to monitor pedestrian flow and movement patterns at events like the annual Christmas market. 

By collecting anonymous data from Wi-Fi devices like tablets and smartphones, the deployed sensors can identify the number of pedestrians present, where and when they shop, and where they pause. The collected data is used by the municipality for urban development, and also by business owners that wish to optimize opening hours and staff allocations.

Flemming Tingbak, director of the Aalborg City Business Association, said the sensors will help his group verify whether the annual Christmas market, which costs more than $160,000 to host, is worth the investment.

Users are afforded privacy, the sensor maker reports, because no personal information is transmitted about individuals, and each connection is anonymized and encrypted.