In a world of ubiquitous global positioning, tracking a crowd’s movement has never been easier — if you’re not following them around an office, that is. The logistical challenges posed by corners, hallways, doorways, and conference rooms make indoor people-tracking a real problem, but that didn’t stop entrepreneur Andrew Farah from trying — and succeeding.
Farah is the cofounder and CEO of Density, a startup that uses depth-measuring hardware and a machine learning backend to perform real-time crowd analytics. Clients use its stack to figure out which parts of their offices get the most use and which get the least, and to deliver people-counting metrics to hundreds — and in some cases thousands — of employees.
“They’re usually trying to consolidate space, and they don’t know which percent of the office is not being used,” Farah said. “Office space is typically the most expensive line item next to payroll.”
It’s also the most wasteful. During a typical workweek, desks are only used 59 percent of the time and meeting spaces 39 percent of the time, research shows. And paid-for square footage often remains vacant — the federal government, for example, spends up to $1.7 billion a year maintaining 770,000 empty office buildings.
Farah conceived of Density’s core technology at Syracuse University, in graduate school, while working at a mobile software development firm. His modest goal was to measure the busyness of a popular coffee shop, Cafe Kubal.
“I didn’t want to have to trudge through three…