HomeBuildingsDeutsche Telekom intros LTE / LoRa access controls to help retailers regulate footfall

Deutsche Telekom intros LTE / LoRa access controls to help retailers regulate footfall

Deutsche Telekom is offering a sensor-based people counting solution and alert system to retailers in Germany manage in-store traffic volumes and social distancing as they reopen after lockdown.

The solution uses LTE or LoRaWAN for local-area sensor connectivity, and LTE, LoRaWAN, Wi-Fi, or Ethernet for gateway connectivity to the cloud. It is available from €1,500 for a 12-month subscription, covering hardware, connectivity, and cloud services.

The system, placed at store entrances, makes use of a green-red “traffic light” alert to regulate access to shops, and other retail spaces, notably food chains. It comprises two pillars, placed either side of the entrance, up to five metres apart, connected by a photoelectric barrier to count customers in and out of the premises.

Lights on top of the pillars turn from green to red when stores are at capacity; alarms are triggered and staff are notified in an app if customers enter when red lights are showing. Data is sent in real time via a gateway to the cloud. The three versions of the solution offer alternative networking paths.

Deutsche Telekom said its primary plug-and-play offer connects to the cloud via an LTE gateway in the pillars. A second option directs data over a local LoRaWAN connection, and outwards via a LoRaWAN gateway either in the pillars or in the ceiling. It is also enabling backhaul over Wi-Fi and wired Ethernet.

The plug-and-play solution featuring an embedded LTE-based SIM contains some edge processing, said Deutsche Telekom, to be able to work offline, and with just a single entrance pillar. The cloud connection is for “analytics and historical data”, it said.

The solution helps store owners with compliance around local rules on social distancing, and eases the pressure to hire additional staff, said Deutsche Telekom. It also offers sight of footfall, more generally, according to the time of day and day of the week.

“The system can be used, for example, to plan more accurately the numbers of staff needed at any point in time. Or to decide when best to schedule activities such as shelf-stacking or cleaning the cold store.”

Rami Avidan, senior vice president for IoT at Deutsche Telekom, said: “What businesses now need is reliable solutions for the ‘new normal’ in times of coronavirus. The access control lighting system helps them keep their customers as safe as they can be.”

The service is already available in Germany; Deutsche Telekom said its “first step is to deliver in Germany and Europe”, but suggested as well that a “global rollout is under discussion”.

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