Technology is a field that never stands still. And one such area of innovation is the functionality of cameras and recorded video. Marco Della Peruta, the head of technical services at Sensor Security, expands on this advance and its associated benefits.
“In simple terms, heatmapping is a camera’s ability to monitor a scene and visualise the varying levels of activity using different colours. This means that traffic or movement can be accurately measured and the information is displayed as colour densities. These shades range from clear through blue, green, yellow, orange and red to show heightened levels of activity. This enables the viewer to easily see where high and low traffic areas within a scene lie.”
Marco is quick to point out that heatmapping isn’t the same as thermal cameras that identify instantaneous thermal heat and motion detection, which is indicative of current movement.
The benefits of heatmapping are numerous. Marco highlights retail, maintenance and warehousing as examples of where heatmapping can boost marketing and planning efforts greatly.
He explains, “Take a store for example, heatmapping can identify when the busy periods are and which areas within the shop are over or underutilised. This gives the managers an almost immediate ability to raise the efficiency of their outlet. Heatmapping also provides an accurate insight as to what people may have been doing in key areas within the monitored scene and actions can be taken to encourage foot traffic at key times in key areas. The converse is true and steps can be taken to reduce excessively congested spaces.”
Marco continues to explain that if one overlays the heatmapping findings with the 4 Ps of marketing (Product, Price, Place and Promotion), one quickly understands that 25% of the process is based on ensuring that customers see the product. “There is popular research out there that suggests that 70% of brand selections are made at stores, 68% of buying decisions are unplanned and 5% of consumers are loyal to the brand of one product group. These figures in themselves reveal how critically important it is to make sure that high-level brands are placed in the high traffic zones.”
Not only does heatmapping help improve the layout of a shop, it can assist shopping centres in identifying which equipment has been through higher duty factor usage. It can also help management plan their maintenance schedules at times that are least inconvenient to the shopper. Warehousing is another area that can benefit from heatmapping. Marco explains, “While most warehousing environments have stock information on what is high moving, the flow of traffic is not always easy to identify. “Heatmapping insights can help decongest bottlenecks and make general activity flow more smoothly. The same thinking can apply to courier and distribution companies.”
Is heatmapping the only technology or method to produce such statistics? No, says Marco, “RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tracking could be an alternative in the field. RFID is similar to heatmapping in that it records the movement of radio devices, such as mobile phones. This means that individuals can be monitored to a much higher specificity than heatmapping, however, it lacks the visualisation aspect – and it may actually be an invasion of people’s privacy.”
Furthermore, Marco points out that the heatmapping camera is gathering information about changes in the image and collating this data. The results are then displayed in easy-to-interpret colours, and – given that this information exists in a database format – specific time segments can be isolated and the information for that period is displayed. This means that the busiest hours, days and months can be isolated and leveraged. In short, the implications and benefits are endless.
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