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28 September 2012

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Data Acquisition Intelligence

The Newsletter for PC-Based Data Acquisition and Control
Issue 170      September 2012
--------------------ISSN 1472-0221----------------------

We focus on the data acquisition of people counts 
this month - how many people went into a building, 
passed by an entrance, travelled on a bus or walked 
down the street. We also welcome back the Excel Corner 
after its summer break, bring news of upcoming 
exhibitions and conferences and round up the highlights 
of this months's data acquisition news.

For more data acquisition news, tips and special offers, 
follow us on Twitter - @DataAcquisition.

I hope you enjoy this issue, but should you wish 
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Monitor Newsletter


* Windmill used in Outdoors People Counting System

* Choosing a People Counting System: infra-red, thermal, video...

* Excel Corner: Finding What Happened When

* Data Acquisition Exhibitions

* DAQ News Round-up

Follow @DataAcquisition on Twitter Google+ Data Acquisition News Feed (RSS)

Windmill used in Outdoor People Counting System

Windmill Software has written the software for the 
Video Turnstile outdoor people counting system.  
With an embedded video server, Video Turnstile lets you 
view live TV footage and verify the counts through 
our setup software over the internet, from anywhere 
in the world. 

We've designed the software to be highly versatile, 
so users of the system can change settings for each 
individual counting area. For example, you can choose 
whether or not to count children or to optimise the 
counting zone for crowds. 

With the help of Windmill, the bi-directional 
Video Turnstile system counts outside with the highest 
accuracy no matter what the weather. Tried and tested 
in sun, wind, rain, snow and ice, Video Turnstile is
over 98% accurate, even in the busiest situations.People Counting Camera

CCTV cameras link to intelligent people counters which 
detect the people in the picture. The software regularly 
collects data from the people counters - every day or 
every hour for example - and can show the updating counts 
in real-time as they happen.

For more details contact Windmill Software - 
[email protected] or see the Video Turnstile website:

Choosing a People Counting System: infra-red, thermal, video...

You've decided you want to count people: perhaps to
monitor occupancy or see which areas of a building are 
most used. But which type of people counting system to 
choose? There are several options out there, including:
- video people counting,
- thermal sensors,
- infra-red beams,
- hand-held tally counters.

Which you choose depends on your priorities, which will 
probaby include:
1. Accuracy
2. Flexibility
3. Directional or non-directional
4. Reporting
5. Cost

1. Accuracy
How accurate do you need the data to be? The best 
performing systems achieve 98% accuracy. But make sure 
that the accuracy quoted on the manufacturers' web sites 
is not just that for perfect conditions. Will the system 
meet your accuracy needs in your specific conditions?

Amongst the most accurate systems are the video people 
counters. Here software analyses CCTV pictures and 
identifies people crossing a counting zone.  These 
systems can exceed 98% accuracy.

Next are the thermal sensors. Positioned above an entrance, 
they detect people's body heat. Quoted accuracies are 
between 96 and 98%. Accuracy, though, can be affected by the 
ambient temperature within the counting area being above 
or below a certain value. Low ceilings can also reduce 
the accuracy.

With infra-red beam systems, a sensor sends a beam to a 
reflector on the the opposite side of the doorway. As 
someone passes through the beam breaks and a person is 
counted. These were in demand some years ago - now 
managers generally demand a higher accuracy and more 
comprehensive information to be collected. Additionally, 
accuracy tends to decrease with wide or busy entrances. 
If two people cross a beam together, for instance, only 
one count will be recorded. Direct sunlight onto the beam 
will also affect the system. Difficult conditions can 
bring accuracy down to 80%.
Handheld tally counter
Hand-held tally counters are the least 
sophisticated of solutions. A person 
stands clicking the tally counter 
whenever anyone passes through the 
entrance. This may be acceptable for 
a one-off people counting excercise, 
but is obviously unsuited to 
continuous monitoring. Accuracy 
depends on the people holding the 
tally counters. Tally counters were once used in 
nightclubs and bars to monitor occupancy, but are now 
being replaced by automatic counting systems.

2. Flexibility
For businesses with many entrances, check that your chosen 
solution is configurable for all the different situations 
in which you want to count, not only now but also in the 
future. The most versatile systems are video and thermal 

3. Directional or Non-Directional
Do you need to count people going in and out? The video and 
thermal counters do this automatically. Some infra-red beam 
systems rely on you dividing the count by two, although the 
more expensive beam counters are directional.

4. Reporting
Do you need access to your data? How often? Some companies 
keep hold of your data and just send you reports. Others give 
you full access to all data so you can analyse it as you wish. 

Consider also how often you need the counts. Do you require the 
count per week, per day, per hour, per half-hour, in real-time? 
If you want to see your own data - in what format do you it? 
MySQL, xml, text...? 

people count chart

How is the data distributed: centrally at a head office PC, 
locally, or both? Can authorised users grab it at any time from 
anywhere in the world?

5. Cost
Last but not least, how much is a system going to cost? Consider 
initial cost, future expansion, installation, technical support, 
any on-going charges.

The cheapest option is the hand-held tally counter but this is not 
suitable for detailed analysis. Also, you need to take into account 
the cost of employing someone to stand there clicking the counting 
all day.

Next cheapest is in the non-directional infra-red beam system, 
followed by the directional beam counters. Installation costs 
are saved with this type of system as most infra-red beam 
counters can be installed by businesses themselves.

The most expensive systems tend to be the thermal imaging. Like 
the video counters, they have installation costs. However, the 
thermal counter has a lower field view than video counters and 
you may need more thermal units to cover the same width of 
entrance or counting zone. 

More Information
More details on counting people are in the new blog from 
Video Turnstile:

Excel Corner: Finding What Happened When

Excel lets you enter a date, or a time, and see what the 
data reading was at that instant. You do this with the 
VLOOKUP function.

For example, continuing with our people counting theme, 
you have a table of how many people entered a building 
each day. In the first column is the date. In the second 
column is the number of people. 

To find how many people entered on a specific date, you 
would tell vlookup the date, the extent of the data table 
and how many columns across to look. To find how many 
people entered on 8th September you could use

First comes the date, second the range of the 
data table, third how many columns across to look up 
- in our case 2.

Using Excel's VLOOKUP function

To use this with our date example, you need to make 
sure that the first column is formatted as text and 
not as dates. When you import saved data into Excel 
from Windmill Logger, in Excel's Text Import Wizard 
just select text as the format of the date column.

Of course, you can do this with any kind of data: 
temperature, pressure, strain...

For more Excel tips see

Data Acquisition Exhibitions

Our quarterly update of data acquisition and control 
exhibitions around the world.

Engineering Design Show
10-11 October 2012
Coventry UK
Focuses on the needs of design engineers in the 
mechanical and electronic fields, with a conference 
and workshop programme.

Building Controls
24-25 October
Sandown Park UK
Building control technologies and seminars.

Perth Process & Instrumentation Technical Trade Show
31 October
Perth Australia
Exhibition of products and service related to 
automation technology. From Institute of 
Instrumentation, Control and Automation.

Automotive Engineering 2012
7-8 November 2012
Birmingham UK
See the latest engineering services, design and 
production technology supporting vehicle design.

Automation 2013
21-24 January 2013
Chicago USA
Showcases the full spectrum of automation technologies 
and solutions. From traditional industrial applications 
to new technologies.

DAQ News Round-up

Welcome to our round-up of the data acquisition and 
control news.  If you would like to receive more 
timely DAQ news updates then follow us on Twitter at!/DataAcquisition

IEEE data breach demonstrates need for increased server-level security
   The usernames and passwords of 100,000 members of the 
   Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 
   have been found unencrypted on a FTP server by a 
   Romanian researcher, Radu Dragusin.
   Source: Help Net Security
Nestle Embeds GPS Trackers In Kit Kats
   Customers buying Kit-Kat bars in the UK could be 
   unwrapping a 21st-century version of Willy Wonka's 
   Golden Ticket - a GPS unit the confectioner will use to 
   find them, apprehend them and give them a prize.  
   Source: POPSCI
Strong Growth for Wireless Sensor Networks
   The wireless sensor network market, led by ZigBee, 
   grew ten-fold from 2007 to 2010 and exceeded 
   45 million annual shipments in 2011. According to 
   ABI Research, strong growth is expected for 2012 and 
   beyond as ZigBee pervades the home automation and home 
   entertainment markets, whilst Smart Meters continue 
   to be rolled out across the globe.
   Source: ABI Research

Ethernet for cars consortium launched
   Alliance aims to drive wide-scale adoption of Ethernet-
   based automotive connectivity.
   Source: Industrial Ethernet Book
Thermoelectric efficiency boost is good news for solar
   A way of bumping up the efficiency of thermoelectric 
   materials has tantalising implications for the 
   efficiency of solar panels.
   Source: New Scientist

* Copyright Windmill Software Ltd
* Reprinting permitted with this notice included
* For more articles see

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Windmill Software Ltd, PO Box 58, North District Office,
Manchester, M8 8QR, UK
Telephone: +44 (0)161 833 2782
Facsimile: +44 (0)161 833 2190
E-mail: [email protected]


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