People counting? It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3

Social distancing means crowd-management companies are taking off.


June 1, 2020

Photo by Pierre Suu/Getty Images

Forget sheep: These days, everyone in tech is trying to count people.

Plenty of states are limiting the capacity of offices, factories, or restaurants at 25% or 50% — but instead of asking one poor employee to tally up who enters and exits on a notepad, businesses are turning to tech.

One startup, Density, tracks when people move in and out of, say, conference rooms. A screen positioned outside will warn you when a room is full and estimate how long you have to wait.

Density’s customer base is getting crowded: Since last quarter, the company has witnessed a 560% jump in sales, including signing on an Indiana meatpacking plant.

The crowd management biz is near capacity

Once upon a time, the sector was tiny. Big businesses used a service like Density to measure which of its spaces were most popular.

But now everyone wants to show off their counting skills. WaitTime, a company originally designed as a “Waze for concession stand lines,” is marketing itself to sports stadiums — WaitTime will monitor crowded bathroom lines and signal when it’s safe to enter.

Another rival, VergeSense, can monitor the distance between workers in office spaces, and it’s “on track” for 500% growth.

Tracking companies like SenSource and SafeCount are also seeing ballooning grocery store fandoms. Honestly, counting to 10 has never been so cool.

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