Using Regions of Interest to Get Insights About ‘People Crowding’

It is easy to make assumptions, but it is hard to make good decisions!

Crowds and people flow are critical topics in urban environments, especially with Covid-19, when social interactions should be limited and busy places avoided. However, when monitoring busy areas, reliable data is key in order to make good decisions.

The Swarm Perception Box can be used to easily and affordably count and monitor the movement of people, groups, and crowds in streets, squares, shops, and public transport. This empowers you to really understand the local situation, trigger real-time alerts, and take safety measures if needed.

Examples: Setting Regions of Interest for crowd monitoring in public spaces

Hardware Installation

The Swarm Perception Box is installed together with a (new or existing) conventional IP camera at the location you wish to monitor (e.g. shop, park, or junction).

Drawing Regions of Interest (ROI)

Next, the Swarm Perception Box is easy to configure via the Swarm Control Center. You can create, adjust, name, and save your ROI within minutes. This central management platform makes it easy and fast to obtain the people crowding data you need.

Configuration of a ROI in the Swarm Control Center

Example: real-time data and insights

Maintaining the Privacy of Individuals

Although data is generated by analysing video camera streams, the privacy of individuals is fully protected. This is ensured through an innovative approach which “translates” video streams directly into real-time anonymous data. No pictures or videos are saved, but data (consisting of numbers and words) are sent directly to the respective operator. Therefore, it is 100 % GDPR-compliant.

danielUsing Regions of Interest to Get Insights About ‘People Crowding’

How Effective are Recommendations for Staying at Home in Times of COVID-19?

Traffic Monitoring and People Insights

Measures for limiting social interactions have recently become more and more restrictive. Nevertheless, we hear news about people meeting in parks to enjoy the nice weather. Also, traffic volumes should have dropped as a result of new guidelines. Could data help in identifying critical areas and taking appropriate actions?


Traffic Monitoring Data

Usually, it is quite busy on the road during the week. Using the AI technology on the Swarm Perception Box, it is now easy to measure traffic by automatically counting all vehicles on a specific road with just a cheap (<€50) IP Camera. Since the data is gathered from a live video stream, you can detect what is happening on the road in real-time and generate immediate alerts. The collected data can also be used to compare traffic volumes for different vehicle types over the last hours, weeks, and months.

In the following real-world example from Austria, over the last few days, it appears that the COVID-19 measures had a significant impact on traffic volumes, causing smaller traffic peaks and lower traffic numbers in general.

Example: Counting line, for capturing traffic and pedestrian volumes

Data for People Insights

If the number of people moving on the streets and in public places is of special interest, people can be counted as well. In the graph below, real-time numbers of people walking on the street are compared to defined safe ‘crowding’ limits. The insights about events where safety limits are exceeded could support decisions about increased safety measures. As the data is collected automatically in real-time, alerts could be sent immediately.

Maintaining the Privacy of Individuals

Although traffic monitoring and data for people insights are generated with the aid of surveillance cameras, the privacy of individuals is fully protected. This is ensured through an innovative approach which “translates” video streams directly in real-time data. No picture ever leaves the camera, but messages, consisting of numbers and words, are sent to the respective operator to put the insights directly into use. Therefore, its also 100 % GDPR-compliant.

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Using Traffic Insights to Master Smart City Challenges

What city does not have to deal with traffic jams, bottlenecks, or parking? These days probably very few. Therefore, all people who are living in, working in, or visiting cities have to deal with waiting times, air pollution, and frustration. So the question is, what could cities do to become more efficient and react to road usage demand?

Of course, it is not easy for cities to control how many commuters or tourists use their streets every day. Nevertheless, cities must find ways to deal with significant traffic issues. The key is reliable data for the actual traffic situation and usage patterns of streets, paths, and intersections. These insights can be used to create effective plans and respond to traffic issues.

Traffic jam in the city

Swarm Analytics enables cities to get those reliable traffic insights by providing a device for upgrading existing traffic cameras with AI technology. With the Swarm Perception Box, cars, trucks, pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, and busses counted and tracked in real-time. Even the directions vehicles take at intersections are recognized (e.g. zone a to b or zone b to a). With access to these granular traffic insights, more efficiencies can be created in cities. At the same time, we ensure 100 % GDPR compliance as no picture leaves the camera.

Dashboard Examples

So, how can the gathered data be put into use? Here is a real-world example of traffic insights displayed in a traffic insights dashboard. The different graphs provide an overview of the current traffic volume, capacity status and road usage, as well as historic numbers. It is even possible to gain detailed insights into the types of road users like cars, trucks, busses, motorcyclists, cyclists, and people.

Putting the Data to Use

Of course, traffic data can vary widely depending on the city, intersection or road. Here are some general recommendations for how you could use the traffic data:

  • Analyze traffic volumes, peak times and types of road users
  • Compare data of different intersections or roads
  • Adjust traffic light control
  • Forecast traffic volumes
  • Use the data as a basis for urban planning
  • And generally, streamline operations based on historical and real-time data

For more information, visit our urban traffic solution page.

Innsbruck, AustriaUsing Traffic Insights to Master Smart City Challenges