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What do VergeSense sensors actually capture?

March 30th, 2023 | 4 min. read

What do VergeSense sensors actually capture?

Dave Brown

David is a strategic advisor and sales professional serving the corporate real estate community. He has dedicated the past 7+ years of his career working with a variety of F1000 clientele globally to unlock the full potential of the built environment and is highly passionate about the future of work and the environment, providing workplace, real estate, and facilities teams with the data and technology to optimize their global portfolios while supporting a sustainable future for all.

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If you clicked on this article, it’s likely that you are interested in investing in occupancy intelligence but have some concerns about optical sensors and what data they collect. 

Your questions are valid. Privacy and security is of prime importance as real estate and HR teams look to adopt technology to help with their portfolio and space optimization efforts.  

Let’s start by laying out some intentions for this post. Our goal is to: 

  • Provide facts to ultimately help guide your decision as to which sensor type and data collection method is most appropriate for your organization. 

  • Explore in detail how this technology works and what optical vision sensors actually capture, how it’s processed and destroyed. 

  • Ensure that you have everything you need to know to evaluate this technology, consider its capabilities and make a decision that can help your office space and employees thrive in a world of inconsistent occupancy. 

And, if you’d like to learn more about whether optical sensors will violate your company’s privacy policy, we’ve got you covered

Let’s get started. 

What are optical sensors?

Optical sensors are powered by anonymous computer vision technology, which means that these sensors go beyond just counting people in spaces and actually understand how these spaces are being used. 

These sensors are ceiling mounted and cover a large section of the floorspace or locations using a single device. This makes them scalable for enterprise use as opposed to legacy technology where a 1:1 device to seat ratio is needed (which would mean that a sensor is needed anywhere an employee/guest can work or occupy space).

What do VergeSense sensors capture?

1. They capture low resolution images of the space


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Fig. 1: An example of a low resolution image captured by an optical sensor

What are we looking at here? Can you tell? 

It’s lower resolution than the cameras being used when you drive through a toll-booth, and you can’t make out who or what is in the image. 

VergeSense optical sensors capture low resolution images of the space, which is immediately destroyed once the AI derives information from it in the form of 0’s and 1’s. They do this through E.L.S technology, which stands for edge-processing, low resolution, and secure. 

This means that the low resolution image is captured, and all processing of that image happens on the device— not in a centralized database. 

2. They detect passive occupancy, unlocking your complete occupancy story

Passive occupancy refers to a space that is occupied by the presence of common objects, therefore in use, even if a human isn’t present at that very moment. Think about when you leave your laptop on a desk so you can run to the bathroom, or leave your bag in the conference room while you grab coffee- that’s passive occupancy. You are marking space as in use so you can return to it without actually being there. In fact, 50% of your workplace occupancy is passive, which underscores the importance of measuring this data. 

VergeSense, and specifically the Occupancy Intelligence for Space Optimization solution, uses optical sensor technology to detect passive occupancy, differentiating it from every other solution on the market. 

What don’t VergeSense sensors capture? 

1. They can’t identify individual employees

Let’s answer the number one question you and your team are asking yourselves: our sensors cannot determine or identify a particular individual. 

As highlighted, low-resolution images captured by our sensors are automatically anonymized, VergeSense AI derives information from it, the image is then destroyed, and only numerical values, 1’s and 0’s, are transmitted as a JSON packet back into the system. No identifiable information is derived, captured, or stored. 

The number one thing that all  workplace professionals care about is if these sensors can track an individual or read sensitive documents. The answer is no. These devices are physically incapable of identifying individuals or reading documents and as such are unable to collect any personal information. Moreover, all occupancy data processing takes place “at the edge” on the sensor itself which should give buyers peace of mind and the confidence they require as they deploy this technology in their built environment.  

It’s important to note, however, that other optical solutions such as XY Sense use edge processing high-resolution cameras, which could be a concern for your privacy policy. 

2. They can’t capture sound

Optical sensors cannot capture sound. To capture sound, a device needs a microphone. Optical sensors work by converting light into an image, which then uses AI to derive information from that image. VergeSense optical sensors generate low-resolution imagery on the device, which is immediately destroyed once AI derives information from it. Therefore, no sound is ever detected. 

What data does your organization need?

Want to have a conversation with a workplace expert to understand what data you need? 

VergeSense is the world’s first and only Occupancy Intelligence Platform, and it offers two solutions designed to empower workplace leaders to reduce CRE spend all while improving employee experience. 

1. Occupancy Intelligence for Portfolio Optimization allows real estate leaders to reduce costs by correctly sizing for where they need more office space and where they need less. 

2. Occupancy Intelligence for Space Optimization allows workplace and facilities leaders to improve experience by using real-time occupancy data to adapt their most valuable spaces with confidence.

Still have questions? Speak to a workplace specialist today to learn more about what data is right for your organization.

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