People Counting Technologies Comparison

Horizontal Infrared beam 

A transmitter and receiver unit is mounted on either side of the entrance. Every time a person or object breaks the beam the system interprets this as a count.


  • Inexpensive
  • Simple to fit
  • Relatively quick installation


  • Cannot detect two people walking side-by-side; they will be counted as one
  • Cannot accurately detect people walking in groups
  • There is a possibility that the beam may be blocked by stationary people, merchandise or displays


Overhead Thermal Sensors

Passive infrared thermal sensors are mounted above the entrance and detect the heat emitted by people as they pass through the entrance.


  • Provides directional count data i.e. count_in and count_out
  • High accuracy; typically in excess of 95%
  • Very long lifetime; MTBF >25 years
  • Non intrusive and a reduced risk of vandalism as the sensors are ceiling mounted
  • Ability to network multiple sensors together to span wide openings
  • Can count in complete darkness


  • Higher cost than horizontal infrared beam systems
  • Cannot be used with ceiling heights below 2.2m


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