101 of Retail Footfall Analytics — Part 5: Non-Retail Data
Advanced footfall analytics can serve people and businesses outside the most typical usage area, Retail Market. How people move is very interesting for any kind of real life development, from city and traffic planning to commercial and housing developments.
Cars, people and dogs — well, not perhaps dogs.. — have been counted different ways in different contexts for ages. Sometimes people have been manually counting other people or passing cars but more often different kind of camera technologies have became more popular. Also, other information, like transportation ticket sales numbers, is kind of data that helps to analyze movements.
The biggest drawback with basic counting has been lack of enough information. Yes, number of people (or cars) at certain times have been estimated and that’s it. No information of their travelling frequency or actual routes (via multiple measurement points) or how much time they do spend in the areas like squares, traffic junctions or markets.
Wifi analytics allows to do that, learn what kind of people go which way and when. Wifi analytics can be used nicely to evaluate how people move in the areas mainly used by pedestrians. Or what are their routes in and out of the e.g. train station, and not only by the used entrance(s) but even more far away, by blocks. Or learn about the people’s travel patterns with the public transport like trams, local trains or metros when you do not have a need to show your ticket to get in (or out).
This kind of data does not only help to develop the city but it provides real value for the businesses too. To set up a shop or a café or a bar by the street is big investment. And rents are quite often based on the area popularity, speculated footfall by the location. But just having a shop on the wrong side of the street can be matter of success or failure in business. Advanced footfall analytics data, wifi analytics, can provide useful information for choosing the most best business location.
Generally available footfall (open) data of the city centers (downtowns) sounds nice, doesn’t it? To have footfall index of the city which everyone can use. Nice thought but harder to achieve because of the complexity of the city centers. Any block or multiple of blocs have several different “rights owners”: city’s own different departments, building owners, traffic officials and whatnot. So, to negotiate with all of them and get approval from them.. enormous task. And then, who’s willing to fund the whole index and needed technology and services.. yeah, nevermind..