White Paper

Reinforce Social Distancing Measures with Occupancy Counting Technology


The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our way of life, at both a professional and personal level. As new information emerges about businesses reopening and restrictions lifting to give way to a new definition of normalcy, there remains public and health safety guidelines to curb the spread. This challenge could not be more top of mind for organizations, both public and private, in how they open up their operations while keeping their employees and customers safe. It has been established that social distancing plays a pivotal role in limiting the spread of COVID-19. Organizations such as retail stores and business offices need a way to limit occupancy rates in their facilities at any given time in order to support effective social distancing measures.


Motorola Solutions is committed to innovating mission-critical technologies to protect people and communities. In the face of this global pandemic, Motorola Solutions is currently investigating different solutions, including looking at the analytics and software technology we have in the market that can be leveraged to help organizations effectively protect their employees and customers.

Motorola Solutions’ Occupancy Counting feature in Avigilon Control Center (ACC) 7, the latest release of our video management software, can provide organizations an easy and streamlined way to count and identify the number of people in a facility. The feature aims to remove the staffing costs required to count people manually and the subsequent guess work on occupancy by frontline employees, particularly where facilities have multiple entry and exit points. Occupancy Counting helps organizations comply with social distancing guidelines by limiting the number of people in a facility, thereby reducing the interactions between them.

Occupancy Counting leverages Avigilon’s analytic-enabled cameras that feature advanced object detection, including enhanced detection of people, which is particularly suitable for facility entrances or exits.

To deploy the Occupancy Counting feature, Avigilon H5A or H4A cameras or third-party cameras connected to an Avigilon artificial intelligence appliance, can be specially placed at the entry and exit points of a facility or area to monitor traffic. AI-powered video analytics detect and classify a person crossing the entry or exit point and automatically translates these analytic events into entry and exit events. These events will be visible through dashboards in Avigilon Cloud Services (ACS) for managers to determine how many people are inside a facility, or alternatively, for automated screens to display at store fronts. Cloud-based reporting and visualizations provide helpful insights into hot spots and high traffic entry or exit points, allowing facilities to implement corrective measures to manage occupancy rates.

For example, a retail store has been directed by its local government to reinforce social distancing measures by limiting the number of people in its store to 50% of its typical capacity. The retail store installs H5A cameras at its entrance to leverage the Occupancy Counting feature. As customers enter or exit the store, they are counted and compared to the occupancy threshold set in the ACS dashboard by store management. The front door display shows the current occupancy and when it is exceeded, displays a red screen that lets employees and customers know that they have to wait until people inside exit before they may enter. The ACS dashboard gives managers both a real-time and historical view of the occupancy of their facility and delivers further insights on typical peak times, the number of times per day customers must wait to enter, and finally, informs measures to optimize outdoor queuing support (e.g., sidewalk markers or crowd control barriers).

The retail store is one out of many locations of a national chain. The security team of the retail chain has connected all of its stores that use ACC software to ACS, enabling them to use the Occupancy Counting feature across multiple stores from a central location, and determine if there are any trends that regional or national management should be aware of.

In an office building setting, occupancy counting can display the number of people inside a facility based on strategically placed cameras installed at entry and exit points of the facility. The net total occupancy is displayed on a dashboard in ACS and can also be publicly displayed on a tablet placed at entry or exit points to manage traffic. Based on a set occupancy limit being reached or not, the tablet can be triggered to display instructions to permit entry or wait.

The ACS dashboard can be used by management to provide insight on how many of their employees are returning to work in the office, allowing them to determine if additional guidelines like social distancing or face mask attire need to be reinforced. If occupancy limits are consistently exceeded, managers can also implement corrective measures such as requiring more employees to work from home.

Organizations can pair the Occupancy Counting feature with Avigilon’s social distancing technology for a more powerful solution. Avigilon’s social distancing technology is powered by video analytics to automatically calculate the distance between individuals in the H5A cameras’ field of view. Managers can continuously monitor social distancing efforts within a facility, run reports of when social distancing violations occur and identify high traffic zones requiring additional attention or corrective action.

As our world slowly reopens, it is imperative for organizations to follow public and health safety guidelines including social distancing and avoiding large gatherings. Innovative video security and AI-powered video analytics technology can deliver the intelligent capabilities that organizations need to protect people and create a new way of operating, especially when there is no timeline on when COVID-19 will recede as a global health crisis. In these uncertain times, a layered approach is the best strategy. Combining solutions for occupancy counting with technologies for social distancing, face mask detection and thermal screening efforts are essential for a depth in defense approach to limit the spread of COVID-19.


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