Consumer Data Research Centre

Finally launched! 1,000 ‘smart’ sensors to monitor high street footfall

Finally launched! 1,000 ‘smart’ sensors to monitor high street footfall

The Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC) in collaboration with the Local Data Company (LDC), hosted the launch event for the SmartStreetSensor project at University College London (UCL) on 30 June 2016.

The SmartStreetSensor project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), is the most comprehensive study of footfall patterns across Great Britain to date. Some 1,000 sensors will now measure live footfall in 81 towns and cities across the UK. In the pipeline for 18 months, the launch garnered significant publicity across social and traditional media channels and was therefore launched amidst a lot of anticipation, with a select number of attendees from across the retail, academic and media sectors.

The event kicked off with an introduction to the CDRC by our Director, Prof Paul Longley, who asked delegates to think about what is happening across our towns and cities and why this now forms a crucial part of the big data debate. Matthew Hopkinson, Director of the LDC, then discussed how the project aims to have “real people delivering real data”, which was crucial to conducting an evidence based analysis of footfall across Britain.

Our researchers Jens Kandt and Roberto Murcio, along with Phd student Bala Soundararaj, gave the final presentation, discussing ways in which they intend to conduct the research and identifying the types of challenges a project of this nature may pose, explaining how they aim to overcome these.

The closing session involved a spirited question and answer session; attendees were particularly keen to learn about the nuances of the project, including who stands to benefit from the types of data generated.

For a full account of the project, how it will work and why we are pursuing it – access our joint press release.


Paul presenting

CDRC Director, Prof Paul Longley, delivering the opening talk at the launch event for the SmartStreetSensor project



Presenters at the SmartStreetSensor project launch. From L: Bala Soundararaj (CDRC), Jens Kandt (CDRC), Matthew Hopkinson (LDC), Paul Longley (CDRC) and Roberto Murcio (CDRC)


Matthew in discussion with attendees

LDC Director Matthew Hopkinson (far L) in discussion with attendees at the launch of the SmartStreetSensor project

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