Automating Access Control Using Digital Doorman

With smart counting systems, retailers automate entry control and optimize their sales opportunities through customer flow analysis.

Many things can be done online, but not everything. And the experience on-site is also not replaceable. That's why many people are happy to know that, in addition to supermarkets or DIY stores they can also shop in other shops and visit public buildings again. Unfortunately, building operators can only let a smaller number of customers into the business - and that probably for quite some time. At present, many are reducing their shopping carts for this reason, or security guards keep tally sheets. But both variants are cumbersome and prone to errors. Enter smart technology that makes crowd control a lot easier. We explain how digital customer flow management systems help you optimise in-store crowd movement, and how to use them to boost profitability. 

Digital Doorman: Fully Automated Access Control

The IoT specialist Smart City Solutions and the IoT platform Conrad Connect have developed the digital doorman system to relieve your employees and at the same time increase security. Because instead of tally sheets and counted shopping carts, the smart customer flow regulation system relies on state-of-the-art technology and limited availability of shopping trolleys.

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Maximum Security and Control Levels  - No CCTV Required

Our digital doorman boosts store safety in more ways than one. As the sensors use high-accuracy IR, the light curtains detect both the number of people and the direction they are moving in. Lots of individuals quickly moving in different directions tends to overwhelm even the most experienced store security staff if they let their attention slip for a moment. No problem for our digital access control system – thanks to the latest technology, it easily keeps track of everyone in those situations.

Unlike its traditional counterparts, our digital doorman does not rely on CCTV cameras. This enables shops to comply with both governmental regulations for admission control and data protection. If authorities request reports, the solution allows you to request all the desired data in anonymized form. The privacy of your customers will be preserved.

Analyze customer flows yourself and discover sales potential

You do not need an external consultant to discover new sales potential based on customer analyses. With the smart customer flow regulation and Conrad Connect, you can do it yourself. Because beyond the admission control, the digital doorman system enables you to perform business-relevant analyses of visitor flows.

The data feed isn’t limited to being displayed on a screen: use a browser-based drag-and-drop Conrad Connect dashboard widget to visualize current and historical numbers of customers coming to the store.

Correlating customer flow data with weather forecasts, time of the day or marketing activities gives you a whole range of valuable insights. Is there anything that requires your attention right now? What about improvements in the long term? Easy analysis, display and management of the information via the Conrad Connect dashboard helps you develop a suitable strategy. Moreover, interfaces allow straightforward data export to and use in other IT systems.

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Increase sales opportunities in daily business

 

Not only for long-term planning, but also in day-to-day business, the doorman system can help you completely reveal new insights that increase your sales opportunities. If you use the wireless sensors in addition to the entrances and exits, to be placed at nodal points on the sales floor, you get a real-time overview of where a particularly large number of customers are currently located. This is also possible without any problems. Use templates or create individual notes, which can staff are immediately alerted if there is an increased volume of sales at a sales station and therefore need for advice.

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The digital doorman system takes up its job so easily

The solution for smart customer flow regulation is easy to set up, easy to operate and flexibly scalable. You do not need to call in experts to commission the compact sensors and connect them to the internet via a control box. Just get started with the cost-effective starter kit. It includes a gateway, an IR sensor and twelve months of Conrad Connect Professional service. The starter kit can be extended with a variety of sensors at any time.

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The sensors being battery-powered means they can be put up anywhere. They operate using LoRaWAN wireless standards which ensures signal coverage over a couple of hundred meters. Means distance and interference from other wireless networks do not affect data transfer.

It only takes a couple of minutes to link the hardware to Conrad Connect, to display the numbers on the screen, or to analyze them. Ready-to-use templates allow setting up the necessary automation routines with a couple of mouse clicks. As the GUI has been optimised for mobile browsing, use your smartphone or tablet to access the data from anywhere in the store – you don’t need to be in the office.

Moreover, the whole system isn’t limited to visual cues: why not opt for audio signals or pre-recorded voice messages to manage customer flows in-store? 

You are free to choose whether you want to display the admission control data for your customers on smart TVs, tablets or digital signage displays. They can be visualized on all networked end devices. An acoustic signal and an automatic voice announcement will soon inform your customers on request. We are continuously developing the digital doorman system further and are constantly adding new functions.

 

Smart customer flow regulation in practice: Successful application at Conrad Electronic Berlin

Since May 2020 the digital doorman system is in use at Conrad Electronic. The branch of the electronics retailer in Berlin-Schöneberg uses it to automatically control the entrance. Quick and easy to install, the low-cost, yet high-performance technology has already paid for itself. "With the digital doorman, we can easily comply with the maximum limits set by the authorities and are always quickly and comprehensively informed about current customer numbers. Also, the digital traffic light is well received by our customers," says Jochen Mädler, branch manager of Conrad Electronic in Berlin-Schöneberg.

 

And the electronics retailer isn’t just talking about a temporary measure here as the system can do far more than managing customer access. “Once this pandemic is over, we are looking into using the sensors on Conrad Connect to monitor customer flow patterns in-store,“ adds Mädler. “For instance, the system is able to autonomously alert staff to open another checkout whenever customer queues are building up.”

Small Business Alternative: Traffic Light Style Access Management

The Conrad Electronic Berlin outlet demonstrates how to easily set up and operate an affordable automated access control system. Besides, the digital doorman is highly versatile and suits any type of retail store or public building.  

 

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However, small shops don’t miss out either as there is a simple checkout-based semi-automatic solution that uses smart buttons and smart lighting products  linked up to our platform to manage the number of people inside a store. In order to do so, you need to configure two buttons to switch on a red and a green light, respectively. Red tells people to wait outside, green means they are allowed to come in. Highly effective, low-cost and intuitive enough to ensure your customers comply.   

Conclusion: More security and profitability through automated counting systems

Our digital doorman allows you to continually monitor and manage customer flow across your store. Setting up things takes a couple of minutes only – no technical knowledge required. Moreover, the system is extremely versatile and can be customized in ways that make it suitable for basically any type of retail outlet or public building.

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Accurate customer counts enable building managers to easily comply with the law, protecting staff and customers alike. And all this in a fully automated fashion, rendering tally sheets, security staff and limiting the number of available shopping trolleys unnecessary. With the counting sensors you learn more about how your customers move around the store. Use this knowledge to analyze your customers in more detail and create new sales experiences or deploy your staff more effectively. Just make informed decisions. Means, in the long term, our automated access management solution is a really useful tool to identify potential for growth and to maximize business profitability.

Find out more about how to use automated customer flow management on Conrad Connect Professional to take your business to the next level.