Subscriber Discussion

People Counting / Tracking With Axis And Lenel Onguard

We have an internal research group that is looking to work with ShopperTrak to count people coming into the entrance of one of our facilities. I am thinking this is relatively straight forward using out existing VMS (Lenel OnGuard) with an Axis camera? At least according to the OnGuard documentation. That is the first problem/issue.

Second part is they may want to throw a bit of people tracking, specifically where people linger. Basically they would divide an area into zones and count how many people were in a zone for what amount of time. Apparently, and I am just going by what I am told, Shoppertrak does this with a wee bit of analytics and big part of offshore manpower with a clicker and a chart! Again not sure on that but whatever…

So two issues here. First is the person counting using OnGuard and AXIS. Second part being is there any way to do this second part using OnGuard and AXIS. Looking for advice on both parts.

Ross, I am not familiar with ShopperTrak but from looking at their website, it appears to be similar to StopLift. If so, presumably, they will put in their own analytic 'boxes' at each store to ingest existing camera feeds. Does that make sense? Have you talked about these details with ShopperTrak?

In terms of use with Axis cameras, Cognimatic is what is most commonly deployed. However, if you are using ShopperTrak they likely have their own and may not integrate with Cognimatic, etc. I don't know. That's why it's key to check with ShopperTrak directly.

Ross, this really depends on whats the main purpose of People Countng, for analytics or mission critical stuffs, do you need it to double up with visual as well? Shoppertrak does this with their own stereo vision camera, similar to Kinect type of technology, so you don't get viusal image from it.

And of course, what's the accuracy required?

on 2nd part, I am not sure about OnGuard, Axis does provide API to their people counter cameras, so its quite easy for 3rd party application provider to integrate.

We have built Business Intelligence platform here that does integrate any People Counting cameras (with API) to provide in-depth analytics through Dashboard based visualisation.

This is purely for counting. How many people in the door and how many people out the door.

I don't have any clever answer for people counting with Lenel, just some comments from my personal experience

Real time counting People is now a common request in France from large retailer chains especially in very added value sectors such as High Fashion brands and jewellery. No need to be very accurate (we can't impose camera heigth, the speed of the target, the color of the ground and its reflectivity ) , just measure global streams (+10/-10% are acceptable) provide automated statistics and eventually launch specific rules sometimes when some limits are reached. Most systems don't do anything else that statistics ... no real time rules on people counting..

What they now ask for is, try to consolidate multiple entrances and exits on the same analysis and apply rules on that., because there is a big demand for "building open to public" capacity counting which involves also fire security in all public places.. This is currently done with costly IR systems difficult to set up and fragile or specific camera systems (so double hardware, double installation , support and maintenance and lack of integration)

What is missing, according to me, are Integrators trained to analytics.Most systems installed are not properly tested on site Day/night, or with high trafic during long period (it supposed to record 24/24 + count, and compare reality with analytic and set false/Positive and right/negative rates.
For people used to develop SQL and Sdk , as most VMS are based on it right now, it apppears you can now create very nice solutions by extracting datas from the SQL data base (so counters, or plates for LPR) and then customize a superb solutions adapted to your customer. You just need a SQL specialist

I know several System Integrators doing so on an Aimetis basis (analytic integrated within the Vms) , because tired to wait from the VMS or Analytic editors, a new feature which is not in their top prioritiy, and even not appearing in their yearly roadmap.

When the meta data from IP cameras are standardized (but unfortunately not in Onvif 2.0) it will become much easier to integrate edge analytic everywhere at lower cost in standard IP cameras ( most cameras are going to have embedded analytic in mid- term, like Axis,Sony, Bosch, Vivotek..etc)

Ross, but does your customer as I understand need "just" data/graphs/stats about people flow/presence? If so, maybe you could give the "appearance" of integration in the VMS if this version of Lenel they have had, for example, the availability of an interface with an internal browser, where to "embed" a web-based dashboard collecting the data from some video-analytics-based modules, eventually running edge into Axis cameras.

In general, at today VMS and Business Intelligence are often still looking like separate worlds, with separate goals.. VMS is often still more focused on security market "just" receiving and managing alerts from analytics or whatever else connected, but not continuous data like for example the counting, nor specific interfaces for specific functions showing graphs/stats/.. On the other side, the business intelligence products are focused on marketing/retail market, with products based on strong databases, with service providers making wonderful reports/graphs/stats/.. but definitely not connected to other security issues.. And in general, to complicate further things, mainly in big organizations, the security managers and the marketing managers are 2 completely different departments, often even "not talking" to eachothers (maybe in US they do, but you can imagine in Italy....;))....).

Yet, the same camera counting people by day, by night it could detect intruders for example.. Or people flow counting for marketing stats may also be used to estimate if an area is overcrowded and it may definitely be applied also to generate an alert for security purpouses as well.. Someone is starting to provide this (Milestone, Aimetis, ..), and imho I think it's logical we are going towards there time by time. I think it's going to be soon the same convergence path that we are seeing in these years about Security <-> IP/Informatics markets: we are going to see more and more solutions of VMS for managing both security and business intelligence issues.. Even if, as Marc correctly wrote, it's technically different to build and above all to manage a database for some hundreds of alerts per day or for some millions of records of counting per day..

But, coming back strictly to your problem (sorry for the digression.....;)..), as written before Axis has many partners providing people counting functions and eventually collecting and showing reports/graphs/stats by web-based applications, that you could then try to "embed" into Lenel interface, if a browser is available. This, if we must keep up these constrains: I mean, Axis cameras + people counting technologies + Lenel VMS appearing as single integrated solution.


Simone de Titta



Agent Vi's analytics integrate directly with the Axis cameras by embedding part of the analytics software in the camera. This means that there is no need to interface into OnGuard in order to perform the people counting and other analytics functions. Our functionality includes an entire suite of capabilities which can answer both your people counting requirements and the people zone tracking (what we call heatmaps). In addition you can also setup real time alerts for many types of security related events if needed.

Thanks for all the replies folks! We meet with ShopperTrak tomorrow to get the lowdown. My concern is the cost of Shoppertrak’s solution. The people counting function appears to be pretty straightforward, but they are asking $3900 simply for the camera. Not including the onsite server or anything else. That seems ridiculous to me, but maybe it is not out of line?

The other part they are bringing in is Bluetooth sensors that actively track devices with Bluetooth on. Not sure how well that will work since I am thinking 50% turn it off and the other 50% doesn’t know what blue tooth is….

I would love to be able to do this all in house with our existing OnGuard VMS, but from the sounds of it that will be a no go for anything other than the counting.

I don't know if $3,900 is ridiculous but there are certainly many lower cost options. For instance, the Cognimatics add-on to Axis cameras, I believe, retails for ~$500. However, as Kison mentions, evidently these are stereo vision cameras, which likely explains the increased cost.

I don't know about blue tooth sensor monitoring but have you seen the NY Times article about retailers tracking customer's cell phone?

Apparently the blue tooth trackers are what they will use to build a map similar to what the NYT article shows. They take the blue tooth info and join it up with the data their camera puts out and come up with the fancy-schmancy map. It will interesting to see what it all entails and the costs associated.


We have not used People Counting. However I am aware of several after maket analytics manufactures doing People Counting. Many of them integrate already with Axis IP cameras. Here is a list of Axis compatible people counting applications.

Also many of the Appliance manufactures have People counting as an analytic built into or available with their appliances. Two that come to mind are 3VR and March Networks.

Thanks for the link to that list Damon. I am going to send that on to the research team. I know Agent VI is one of the people they talked with already, but maybe there are a few others they will reach out to.

Well, for what I know the blue tooth systems have 3 problems. First, a very short range and it may need lot of antennas to cover all the environment wth reasonable precision (but for a little shop it may even be reasonable). Second, it needs a definitely not banal spatial calibration, that you may need to repeat again anytime the morphology of the environment changes (if the retailer moves a table or a shelf, or adds a totem, ...). But third and main one, it's a collaborative technology: if the customer has not a mobile or any blue tooth tag, it is of course invisible to the system and of course not counted/tracked.

Actually I "almost completely" agree with John, that (as I already wrote in a post before) in the market there are some Axis' partners able to embed very cheap applications (even less than $400 to you..) into the camera. I can confirm.....;) And for counting IN/OUT already more than reliable for what you need. "Almost completely" because of course I don't agree the suggestion of Cognimatics...;)))

Jokes asides, an issue may of course be where you are meant to count. Inside an internal environment, with always fixed and controlled artificial lights, or as I suppose by an entrance door where shadows, sunlight, reflections may occour? If you still have freedom of choice for the cameras, in the first case even the cheaper Axis M30 series is perfect; in the second case I would instead definitely suggest to use much more performing models, such as P33 series, with WDR and P-Iris. More expensive of course, but definitely much cheaper than $3.000.......)


Simone de Titta - TechnoAware

Hi Simone, what you have just has pointed out, is Finger-printing methodology, which i seriously do not think Shoppertrak has in their proposal, what seems to be the case, is just Presence Detection coupled with directlonal path mapping which can produce an error of 10 meters.

Ross, yes, there are reliable cameras out there already embedded with Counting/Path-Tracking and the combined price definitely much much lower....:) But that is only haft the solution, there is still the graphical, statistical and geo platform that will be required to compile and visualise the meta data with pre-defined rules; and this must be customised against the real-world problems that client wanted to solve as a whole.

+1 to Kison's point about the reporting side. It's one thing to run a digital equivalent of a clicker counter. It's a completely other one to develop charts, graphics, maps, etc. that digest and organize the data. Some organizations are fine with the former, others want very specific combinations of the later. The free ones that come with cameras frequently provide minimal reporting.

What kind of experiences have people had with Mobotix's people counting analytics in their cameras?

We have Mobotix's people counting on our short term list to test.

Thanks for all the input here folks! I have included a video of the area we are trying this little experiment. Right at the start of the video you will see the coffee bar and collaboration space, which is the spot we will cover. There are also numerous photos of the area at Work In Progress - Herman Miller

We have opted to go with and/or Agent Vi | Comprehensive Video Analytics Solutions using AXIS M3114VE cameras. Agent Vi’s pricing is a bit much in my opinion, especially for a trial basis, but Prism offered a deal too good to pass up. So they will each get a shot at what could become a permanent fixture at some or all of our facilities. We will be using the AXIS VE model’s in case the research team does not like the outcome of their testing I will be able to redeploy the cameras anywhere I want. That and Agent Vi does not support the cheaper M3004’s per their website. We will do the people counting aspect through our existing Lenel OnGuard VMS which we found to be around 97% accurate once we tweaked the camera to a higher resolution and frame rate than we normally use.

Meeting with the facilities and research team this morning to go over the install because they are itching to get this started. I will keep you posted on the outcome and let you know which of the solutions is getting the best reaction from the researchers.