Why does a real estate owner want to count?
A real estate owner would like to have insight in the number of visitors and passenger flows of for example a shopping centre. This provides an image of the attractiveness of a particular shopping centre and for example the influence of spatial changes in the shopping centre of the effects of events, campaigns and opening hours.
Why does a retailer want to count?
A retailer would like to have insight in the number of customers to a store. In addition, it provides insight in the route customers take, allowing retailers to improve their instore customer service.
Who is counting?
The counts are performed by PFM. Since 1984, PFM has provided systems that count and track visitors of shops and shopping centres.
How does it work?
Sensors in the city centres capture wifi-signals from mobile devices that have wifi. This will count the unique MAC-Address of each device (and is then auto-encrypted).
What can you see based on these counts?
Based on the wifi-signals, information is obtained about the number of unique passages in a shop / shopping center, the route of passengers, the duration of stay (within the sensor network) and how often they return. The measuring systems of PFM do not capture other data from mobile devices. More information about the counts: https://pfm-intelligence.com/en/Contact/Privacy-protocol
What about privacy?
PFM is a well-established company that deals with privacy carefully. They regularly review their services to the current regulations and monitor developments in this regard. They are members of the Market Research Association MOA and use the Fair Data principle. PFM has a privacy protocol about their methods and objectives that can be seen through the website: https://pfm-intelligence.com/en/Contact/Privacy-protocol
What do we know later?
PFM counts the crowd and makes aggregated reports without the possibility of any link with individual personal data. No MAC-addresses are delivered to customers. All edits are completely anonymous, similar to how, for example, traffic jams are measured daily. In addition, the required MAC addresses for these calculations are automatically encrypted so that a link to an individual person is impossible.
Everybody has the possibility unsubscribe the MAC-Address of their mobile device via an opt-out register. After this, these MAC addresses will no longer be counted and included in their investigations and analyzes. The opt-out register can be found on https://pfm-intelligence.com/en/optout
I live in the city centre, what is being done with my information?
PFM counts the number of passengers in and around shops and shopping centers. The sensors therefore have an automatic filter to prevent residents from taking part in the counts. PFM knows that signals from residents are measured mainly before and after shop opening hours. Therefore, PFM assumes that when the same signal is seen twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, this is a signal from a resident. These signals are automatically filtered out every day. Therefore, if you live near a counting point, you will not be included in the counts.
Can the sensors cause malfunction or interfere with other (medical) equipment?
The PFM sensors only capture the presence of wifi-signals from mobile devices. They do not send out any signals. As far as is known, there is therefore no interference or disturbance of other (medical) equipment.