Singapore Gov’t Authority Using Sensors To Visualize, Load-Balance Malls To Help Social Distancing

The Singapore government has started published a really interesting real-time data visualization that provides citizens with the status of crowd levels at shopping malls.

The government’s Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) collaborated with mall operators on what has been dubbed Space Out – which visualizes the current crowd levels of malls, as well as patterns for slow, normal and busy periods.

The tool is a way to help people in their decision-making for trips out to buy essential goods and services – as people are going to be less likely to visit malls that are very crowded or those that have reached maximum operating capacity.

Each mall is represented on the map by a coloured circle – green (not crowded), yellow (some crowd), orange (crowded), and red (max). The website will also show malls with no crowd level information available in grey.

The crowd levels are derived based on the data from retail malls on shopper traffic and the safe distancing guidelines for retail malls by Enterprise Singapore (ESG).

URA will continue to invite more mall operators to join this initiative and progressively provide information on crowd levels for more malls on the website.

The visuals, available online and by extension to smartphones, help to “load-balance” malls, and you could imagine how this could be used for other types of venues and services, like government offices with waiting rooms (ie passport offices, vehicle registration, etc).

This specific application may not be all that applicable to digital signage and DOOH screens right now, but the technology and methods that use sensors, machine learning, databases and visualizations could definitely be used in all kinds of ways right now.

These sorts of visualizations can load-balance just about any scenario where there are multiple gateways and line-ups, and with a push to keep everyone six feet apart and limit access, this is increasingly important.