A network of sensors used in retail districts across the world are to be installed in Aberdeen’s city-centre – to capture the movements of pedestrians and help shape the future of the city.
The new technology – a string of nine devices installed at strategic locations – will provide a greater understanding of the habits of visitors to Aberdeen’s commercial zone and reveal how accessible key areas are.
The system, which uses signals emitted by mobile phones, is used already used across the globe, including in the most famous shopping district in the world, Manhattan.
The £100,000 initiative is being funded by Aberdeen Inspired – the organisation responsible for the Aberdeen BID (Business Improvement District)- and led by specialist retail intelligence company, Springboard.
All the data collected will be used by Aberdeen Inspired to assess the progress being made in reinvigorating the city-centre and to help plan future projects.
Operations manager Alan Bree said the data collected was “completely anonymous”.
“There is no way for Springboard to single out an individual, but instead it views each device moving within the zone being covered,” he explained.
“It will also give a breakdown on the number of mobile devices from overseas in the area at any particular time, with that data very important for judging the impact major international exhibitions at the AECC can have on footfall around the shops and restaurants in the city centre.
“As with any organisation of our type, we have a commitment to measuring our performance. One of the key aims of Aberdeen Inspired is to stimulate interest in the business improvement district and increase footfall, with Springboard to provide the data which will allow us to gauge that over a sustained period.
“We will not only get an accurate account of the number of people using our city-centre but also the way in which they move through the area. The more information we have, the more able we are to make informed decisions on how to make the improvements that will breathe new life into Aberdeen city centre.”
The system is expected to be installed and operational by the end of the summer.