Counting Footfalls in Suffolk (UK)

07 September 2018 - Published by Herma Otter
Suffolk County Council (SCC), to trial LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network technology) in a coastal town.

Using footfall counting technology, ie a combination of cameras and sonars, linked to the Digital Catapult’s LoRaWan network, the trial will provide invaluable data on the number of people visiting the promenade and town centre. Suffolk works in partnership with ‘Felixstowe Forward’, is working with the Digital Catapult (the UK's leading advanced digital technology innovation centre and backed by Innovate UK)

This will help to steer future decisions around local initiatives to boost the economy and visitor numbers. Additionally, SCC wants to discover – through shared learning with the other three local authorities that are conducting trials for air pollution monitoring; supported independent travel for people with learning disabilities and traffic movement – how else this technology could potentially be used in other areas of Suffolk and of course other domains.   The Suffolk footfall challenge was launched in April 2018 with SMEs and entrepreneurs invited to apply to become our tech partner. At a ‘Dragons’ Den’-style event held in London at the Digital Catapult Centre a number of SMEs made their pitch. The winner was Briteyellow. During June a training day was held in Felixstowe for project partners and other organisations interested in learning more about the potential LPWAN offers. This also allowed us to test the two Antennas that had been erected in the town centre and on the promenade using simple devices built during the training. In parallel we worked with Briteyellow we surveyed the areas to identify suitable locations (streetlights) on which to affix the cameras/sonars. Testing and refinement of equipment has been on-going, which is part of the innovative nature of this project. Live data is being recorded and displayed on an early version of the dashboard. The project has been extended to include the busy Christmas/New Year shopping/celebrations, with a Showcase in London of results to date on October 9 2018.