Radar Sensors Can Help Maintain Social Distancing

LAWRENCE, KS—As the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc across the globe, hotels have turned to housing first responders and other essential workers. In this socially distant world, sensors have become more useful than ever. And, as the world begins to recover from the pandemic and guests begin traveling again—this time, with social distancing in mind—the practicality of sensor solutions won’t abate.

“With new requirements for social distancing, there is an interest and need to deploy additional sensors to help in understanding visitor and guest behavior as it relates to visitor traffic flow and crowd density management,” said Andrew Boushie, VP of strategy & partnerships at Ainstein. “While cameras are good at recording what’s happening, radar will provide data points such as presence information, the number of people in a given area, where people are located within the sensor field-of-view, as well as the distance between people. This data can be aggregated and analyzed to gain insights on crowd density and hotel visitor traffic flow.”

Radar sensors can determine which rooms are occupied—in addition to creating a better guest experience, this also lets housekeepers know when the room is safe to enter. In an emergency, sensors can determine if a guest hasn’t evacuated, helping first responders do their job more quickly.

And, unlike sensors that use ultrasonic or other technologies, mmWave radar sensors can be installed behind the ceiling or walls, improving aesthetics in the room.

Boushie noted that with the mmWave radar sensor, Ainstein works with system integration partners to deploy the sensor systems in the field. “These systems integrate with the building management system,” he said. “Once deployed, users will interface with the sensor data through the building management system for real-time insights and a cloud analytics interface for data review and analysis.”

The biggest benefits for hoteliers, he said, are that “sensors can help to automate tasks and building functions like surveillance and security, crowd and visitor traffic management, as well as lighting and HVAC control. Radar can also be deployed in hotel rooms and restrooms to monitor usage for maintenance purposes as well as for incident detection like falls.”

And for guests? “The guest experience is improved through automation and increased safety,” Boushie said. “Radar sensors facilitate social distancing through proper traffic flow planning as the aggregated data provides powerful insights to more effectively and efficiently remove friction points in high-traffic areas, providing extraordinary protections to hotel guests.”