Placemeter Uses Computer Vision To Help Businesses And Cities Measure Vehicle And Pedestrian Traffic

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If you own a business, you probably want to know how many people walk into your stores. If you’re a city, you may want to know how many people use a given sidewalk or drive down a certain street. You could measure all of this with some basic sensors or WiFi pinging, but that’s either not very accurate or difficult to install. New York-based Placemeter, which is coming out of beta today, uses computer vision to track both pedestrian and vehicle traffic (including motorcycles and bicycles).

Customers can use their own IP cameras and hook them up to Placemeter’s cloud backend to track movement.

Montreal’s Quartier Des Spectacles, for example, use the company’s technology to look at how many people used the main subway station and how many of them interacted with a number of art exhibits in the area. To make this work, Placemeter hooked into existing security cameras and created a virtual box around the art installations to see how long people stayed around them.

Similarly, a number of stores have used the service to see how many people walked by them and how many of them walked into the store (think real-life conversion rates).

The company is already collecting data in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Tokyo and Montreal. Placemeter charges users $149 per month per point if they don’t want a long-term contract, or a discounted $99/month for an annual commitment (you could be tracking multiple points in a single feed, so this could quickly add up).

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Starting today, Placemeter is also selling its own camera at an introductory price of $99.

For businesses that already have video data they want to archive at some later time, the company charges $20 for every hour of video it analyzes.

Placemeter, which came out of the TechStars NY Spring 2013 program and also participated in the New York Times’ TimesSpace program, was founded by Alex Winter and Florent Peyre. The company has now raised a total of $7.8 million with backing from NEA, Qualcomm Ventures, Tiplepoint Capital, Collaborative Fund and a number of angel investors. NEA lead PlaceMeter’s $6 million Series A round.