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Automate one-in-one-out with sensors and people analytics (Covid-19)

people counting display

Retailers and supermarkets have introduced new “one-in-one-out” rules designed to enforce social distancing and limit the spread of coronavirus. IoT and people counting technology can be used to automate the process of one-in-one-out, therefore, reducing cost and improving safety.

Quick Summary

  • Use sensors to count people entering and leaving your store or building.
  • Use the system to program your limits (i.e. 100 allowed in the store).
  • Provide automated prompts when people are permitted to enter.
  • Staff can access real-time figures from mobile and tablet devices.
  • Automatically advise shoppers of queuing times on displays, online or social media.
  • Use the data for retail analytics—footfall by time-of-day, etc.


Enforcing the “one-in-one-out” rules do introduce an overhead to retailers, requiring staff to man the entrances and exists or hire external firms to do so. Rather than rely on marshalling or teams of staff, 3D sensing and people analytics technology can be used to automatically count the number of people entering and exiting the store.

The use of technology in this manner streamlines the process, increases accuracy, reduces cost, and safeguards both staff and customers.

Aldi’s restrictions on the number of people inside the shop at one time comes as supermarkets across the UK have been forced to ration essential items.

One-in-one out example

The 3D sensor technology is simple to install and operate.

  • Sensors are installed above the entrance lobby and exit areas.
  • The sensors automatically count people (and groups) going in and out of the store.
  • A computer screen can be installed at the entrance, indicating how many people are currently in the store and the imposed limit. The store manager can program these items.
  • When a shopper is permitted to enter, the display can play an audible tone and show a visual indication that the shopper can proceed.

Enhancements and Metrics

  • Enhancements to the system can also include:
    • Estimated queue/wait times displayed, or made available to staff on tablets or mobiles.
    • Estimated queue/wait times can be displayed on outdoor matrix displays or screens.
    • Estimated queue/wait times can be displayed online, on social media or the retailer’s website.
    • Guidance, rules and advice can also be displayed alongside the core metrics.

Insights and reporting

People count example
Automated people counting can help enforce one-in-one-out policies

The use cases mentioned in this post look to automate and simplify the process of social distancing and one-in-one-out policies.

In the broader context, people analytics in retail, tourism and Government have more comprehensive benefits:

  • Retailers can visualise footfall by time-of-day, and even throughout their entire store.
  • Count individuals, groups and group-sizes.
  • Local authorities and Government can assess behaviours during quarantine/lockdown measures, and post-coronavirus.


The solution is fully GDPR compliant and respects shopper privacy – capturing no images nor recording any footage.

Easy to install

The solution needs to be installed on the ceiling or above the target entrance/exit. The solution uses power-over-Ethernet, so the only installation requirement is a CAT5 cable back to a power source (100m) and network point. From here, the system transmits the metrics back to MTG servers where the data can be viewed online and in real-time.

Visual displays and audible indicators can be added to the system with ease.

Find out more

Xovis Indoor Scanner
People counters are easy and quick to install without complex cabling.

If you would like to learn more about how people analytics and 3D scanning can be used to enhance the safety or operations of your business, safeguard your staff and customers, or reduce the cost of enforcement/marshalling – please get in touch.

You can e-mail sales@mtg.im, submit ‘Request a quote’ or call +44 1624 777837.

Further reading

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Joe Hughes is the CEO of Manx Technology Group. Joe has a background in software development, information security, networks, datacentres and enterprise IT.

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