Holiday Data


Retailers get a head start on planning their holiday promotions earlier and earlier each year. To maximize sales during this critical time, baseline data is needed well in advance so that analysts can move marketing plans forward and to measure how effective each campaign was in driving seasonal revenue. But, with the expected onslaught of traffic, how can you pinpoint exactly where each customer or lead comes from?

The National Retail Federation (NRF) provides expert guidance on all the considerations that go into generating a useful and effective marketing plan in its annual playbook. Over 97% of retailers surveyed said they plan to incorporate a paid listing strategy in their 2016 holiday plan. With this in mind, traffic count data becomes a necessary tool that can be used to track online-to-offline attribution.

What does this mean?

Retailers can now cross reference their vehicle or pedestrian traffic count data with their POS sales data, tying offline sales to their online ad spend. Doing so allows analysts to create correlations between customers who receive promotional ads and emails with those who come in to shop after viewing or reading them. Businesses that begin to understand which campaigns drove in the most store visits typically see less of a steep decline in sales after the new year.


For more ideas and steps towards preparing a holiday plan, read marketing expert Rachel Sprung’s steps to  maximize  your holiday sales plans. Want to know more applications specific to your business, reach out to us and schedule a live demo.



traffic count technology for the franchise industry

Department of Transportation (DOT) metrics are often times outdated or inaccurate. Computer vision-enabled technology solves that problem and provides franchisees and franchisors detailed insights about a prospective location’s vehicle and pedestrian traffic counts, giving the new business its best chance for long-term success.



  • Why using traffic count technology is necessary before opening a franchise location
  • The importance of having accurate and reliable traffic data in real-time
  • How traffic counting tools continue to evolve in the franchise industry


Continued innovation in site selection tools is making it easier for franchise groups to identify high-traffic hot spots. In the past five years, site selection firms have stepped up their game in delivering traffic count data that is more accurate, timely, granular and hyperlocal.

Traditionally, companies have relied on Department of Transportation (DOT) data that tracks vehicle traffic counts along key roads, highways and intersections. That data is still a quick and easy way to identify busy, highly visible locations.

However, the old days of driving over a sensor on the road to collect vehicle traffic counts has given way to more sophisticated systems that leverage cameras, GPS location data, beacon technology and the Internet of Things to collect and analyze big data.


Are you in the franchise industry, or considering opening a franchise business? Stay ahead and up to date on forward-thinking initiatives by reading the rest of this article on FRANCHISE TIMES >>



Data Enablers


People are always moving. They’re going in and coming out of buildings every day. But how does a retailer know how many people are coming in and out of its space?

Motionloft has those numbers.

Motionloft’s mission is to be a “pioneer in the physical world analytics industry,” said Chris Garrison, COO and cofounder of Motionloft. “We strive to help our customers measure and understand their business opportunity potential by providing them with highly accurate traffic count data, thereby becoming partners in their growth and success.”

For more insights on IoT applications and our advancements in the CRE and Retail Industries, read the rest of this article on PYMNTS >>



Hurricane Matthew

Weather patterns can be unpredictable at times, but seasonal forecasting for your business doesn’t have to be. Whether it’s snow storms or heat waves, the threat of a natural disaster comes around every year. Hurricane Matthew, which just passed over the southeastern coast of the country last week, prompted citizens to run to their local grocery stores and big box retailers to stock up on essentials in preparation for days spent inside.

This long-lived cyclone formed September 28th and ended October 10th, created 160mph winds and was the first Category 5 Atlantic hurricane since Hurricane Felix in 2007. While many grocery chains typically see an increase in sales during these types of events, other businesses that rely on walk-in traffic, like apparel retailers and restaurants, often times see a drastic decline. Once the climate calms down, how do retailers fully measure if their efforts to bring stability back to their business actually work?

Much of the technology currently available to do so focuses on measuring indoor traffic only. Motionloft goes one step further by taking into account what happens outside a property as well. Fully weatherized sensors installed in seven different locations across the lower eastern seaboard all maintained accurate and constant function throughout the peak times of the storm. Not only did they withstand the brutal weather front, they also reported metrics on businesses traffic counts before, during and after the most inclement times. Take a look at our dashboard comparisons for data captured during that period.


Motionloft Hour Display

Here we see an hour-by-hour comparison of varying traffic times throughout the course of the week when the storm hit Florida. We noticed a considerable traffic shift between October 5th and October 8th.


Motionloft Trend Lines

In this graph, we compared two sensor locations in Florida that were located 350 miles apart. The sensor in Miami (red) and the sensor in Jacksonville (blue) showed a distinct correlation to the pace of the storm as it traveled up the state. Normal volumes for each of the seven sensors were compared, each of which saw about a 90% decrease in traffic during the day on which the storm was strongest.

Motionloft data is presented through informative trend lines that offer quantifiable insights on hourly vehicle and pedestrian traffic, which can help decision makers react or plan accordingly. Business owners can now see month over month and year over year analyses on average traffic patterns and fully prepare before any seasonal shifts affect the bottom line.

If you’re curious about how sensor technology can be applicable to your business, request a traffic study or get in touch with us by clicking here.



Vehicle Traffic


We’ve all experienced the frustration of being stuck in traffic, even going out of the way to avoid peak transit times and impacted areas. Instead of walking or driving longer distances, we ask a bigger question– can cities do anything to change their traffic problems?

The simple answer is yes, and here’s how:



Even though traffic is inevitable, understanding the root of the congestion can help create a solution. A survey by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics indicated that women typically drive less and men drive longer, 45% of daily trips are usually taken for shopping and errands, and the most daily trips taken occur on Fridays. Knowing your city’s demographics and primary industry by region can help you evaluate and forecast traffic trends.  



Nothing diminishes the vibrance of a city more than clogged thoroughfares and low pedestrian traffic flows. That’s why city planners should pay close attention to both alleviating those stresses and making the outcomes more user friendly. Consider a city that adds a bike lane or creates a walking trail. Doing so oftentimes encourage residents not to drive, thereby reducing the amount of cars on the road, while simultaneously boosting business confidence of retailers with brick and mortar store fronts.  



Innovation is seeing exponential developments in various industries. As a result, job growth has expanded in several cities across the nation. Municipalities are building mixed-use residences and open-space shopping destinations as a means to attract and retain newcomers. What does this mean for commercial real estate brokers? Traffic count data can affect the way property and retail owners select sites, adjust rental rates, and evolve city centers. By providing accurate and real-time data on pedestrian and vehicular traffic, cities are able to narrow their focus on the kinds of people within their districts and share the data with brokers who can lease spaces to businesses that appeal to them.  



With so many advancements, cities are adopting new ways to integrate smart technology in their future developments. Computer vision is at the top of the list because it helps support government authorities in their effort to understand information such as the number of commuters who walk, bike, take the subway or drive in a specific area. It can even show what routes people take, how long they stay on the route, and if they decide to stop in a local store for a coffee.



City planners, engineers, and business improvement districts are actively building better and smarter cities. To that end, authority figures should seek out better ways to engage with citizens, meet their demands, and increase overall well being. Taking steps, such as adding smart lighting sensors, can raise efficiency levels while producing valuable insights that can help districts lower crime rates, increase energy savings, and decrease traffic congestion.


Curious about more ways in which your city can become smarter? Reach out to us or schedule a live demo.




Traffic Count


Of the many factors to consider when measuring the success of your retail store, it’s incoming traffic count data should be at the top of your list. The right location greatly influences business potential, but is more often than not overlooked by planners and brokers alike. This is where pedestrian and vehicle counts comes into play. Clear analytics on what your competitors miss effectively removes ambiguity and improves your chances of long-term success.


Let’s go over a few applications on how the right data can help you:



Finding a good mix of tenants is important; however, maintaining long-term occupancy is a whole other challenge. After all, tenant success is tied to the business opportunity factor your space provides. Sensor traffic count data can help a tenant understand the value of a location, as well as their profit potential, based on quantifiable metrics. Keeping this information on hand allows you to engage in more authentic conversations that can result in your property leasing faster– and at a higher dollar amount, too.



Think about your marketing campaigns and visual display messages. They may be influential in driving shoppers to your location, but are you converting them when they walk in? It’s important to know how and when to staff employees accordingly. Comparing vehicle counts and pedestrian traffic, from inside and outside of one or multiple locations, can help you to determine why people walk in at the times they do and to run promotions when customers are most likely to see them.



You’ve heard the phrase “time is money“. So, how much are you spending on spotting and evaluating your business trends? If you’re focused on maximizing revenue, connecting the dots has never been easier. Sensor technology with computer vision helps you to not only forecast day-to-day patterns, but also to leverage them by making quick adjustments on predictions as needed. Set the best business hours to yield the greatest opportunity for sales.


Want to know more applications specific to your business, reach out to us and schedule a live demo. 

5 CRE Trends to Watch in 2016


Technology for commercial real estate has been picking up steam, with more and more apps and platforms designed especially for the industry. Millions in venture capital are being invested in the development of solutions to problems and obstacles to progress in commercial real estate. Technology is making us more efficient and productive in all areas, including customer relations, transactions, property management, project underwriting, and finance.

If the activity of the past year is any indication, we can expect the growing use of technology to continue into 2016. Look for developments that make us more effective communicators, record keepers, and dealmakers. At the core, our industry is still all about making connections, and the best digital tools for commercial real estate enhance that goal. We’ve chosen five areas that we expect will continue to be important in 2016.

Big Data

The power of big data is just sinking in for many of us. It’s helpful that this is not something you have to tackle on your own. Data analytics services like LoopNet, Compstak, Real Capital Analytics and Reis, Inc. tame the data waves and provide immediately usable figures on a tremendous range of market factors. Brokers are finding access to this information to be incredibly useful in understanding nuances of the market and in providing better customer service.  The idea of using data is not new, but being able to harness such massive amounts of data is. New approaches and ideas continue to develop, and big data will loom large for commercial real estate in 2016.


This approach to project funding and investing has taken commercial real estate by storm, and shows no sign of slowing. It’s predicted that over  $2 billion in capital will be raised via crowdfunding for real estate projects this year, a figure that has doubled since 2014. The number of crowdfunding sites devoted to real estate continues to climb. Recent reports put the number at 85 active sites in the U.S., but that number has likely grown since this post was started.

This type of transaction is popular for a lot of reasons: it puts projects in front of huge pool of qualified investors, often gets projects funding with blinding speed, and makes transactions efficient and transparent. Investors like it because they have unprecedented access to deals in what was once a game that only institutions and the immensely wealthy could play. We look for crowdfunding to continue to change the way we do business in 2016.


Drone technology is here to stay, and new uses for these flying photographers are being dreamed up daily.  The real estate industry is exploiting this technology in some innovative ways. Drone images can be especially useful in selling or developing large commercial properties. An aerial view is the only way to get a really clear picture of a large site and its relationship to surrounding structures and roadways.

Drones are useful for structural assessments as well. They can be sent into tight places to uncover issues with structure, plumbing, or HVAC that would be invisible otherwise. New FAA regulations are set to be in place by September 30 that will clarify rules for commercial use of drones.  We expect this to create more possibilities for this technology and its use in commercial real estate.


Sensor technology is another important tool with myriad applications. City planners have known for years the value of understanding pedestrian and traffic patterns in a given location. They are critical for planning optimal use of a space and for ensuring public safety and convenience.

The real estate industry, particularly the retail segment, has begun to apply this technology with great results.  Sensors have great ROI and set-up is simple. Services like Motionloft provide support and gather and aggregate data, so property owners or managers can access data at will and provide useful reports to tenants and other interested parties. As this strategy becomes better known, we expect to see it widely adopted in the business in 2016.

Mobile Everything

Finally, the ubiquity of Smartphones dictates that virtually every application has a fully functional mobile component. Our customers expect it, our competitors have it, and if it’s not mobile we don’t want it.  This is a trend that has tremendous staying power for commercial real estate.

Did we miss any critical trends? What do you think will be big this year?


Case Study for Integrated Analysis – StreetLight Vehicle Travel Metrics and Motionloft Pedestrian Sensors help the Great Wall of Oakland Analyze their Viewership

This analysis was done in conjunction with our friends at StreetLight Data. Thanks to them and to the team at Great Wall of Oakland. Also thanks to Ozumo restaurant and The Broadway Grand apartments for donating the location and powersource for the MotionLoft sensors.

The Great Wall of Oakland is a non-profit organization and a 100′x100′ projection installation in Oakland’s Uptown District. The Wall produces monthly projections of media art along with contributing to the economic and social health of Oakland and supporting artists in developing new work. The Wall, as it’s known by its friends, educates and enlivens the urban community, gives talented local artists a prominent place to screen their work, and to enriches the lives of the people who live and work in Oakland. As a free outdoors arts venue in the heart of Oakland, the Great Wall serves an extremely diverse population.

But the question emerges – how many people are educated and enlivened, and just how diverse is that population anyway? These questions are of more than passing interest – many art grants organization require estimates of how many people see the art they will be financing. The Wall’s prominent outdoor location makes this uniquely hard to measure (as opposed to say, a gallery location). Wall executive director Andrea Steves said, “We are working hard to increase our programs and positive impact in the community. But our great strength – being outdoor for all to see – also makes it tough to quantify the full impact of our work. In addition to funders wanting this information, we want to make sure we’re actually in the best location and showing at the best time – and that our projections are reaching as many people as possible.”


The Problem

The Wall, shown in Figure 1 below, is lit up with digital art one night a month. Both pedestrians and vehicles can see the art on The Wall these nights. To maximize viewers, The Wall’s shows are in conjunction with the Oakland Art Murmur which shuts town Telegraph Avenue to vehicular traffic each First Friday and hosts open gallery tours, street vendors, outdoor music, and more. The Wall is on Grand Avenue, just beyond the edge of the Art Murmur pedestrian zone (see Figure 2).

The challenge to measure viewers is threefold – first, pedestrian counts for specific times are very hard to get especially to compare First Fridays to other days/times. Second, ditto the pedestrian problem for vehicles. Third, The Wall staff has no way to assess the demographics of the viewers except to know from experience that people come from all parts of the Bay Area to visit Uptown Oakland during First Fridays.

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Figure 1: The Wall showing art, as seen from above.

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Figure 2: Map of Great Wall of Oakland and First Friday Art Murmur locations.


The StreetLight + Motionloft Solution

Two types of technology were used to create this study. Motionloft computer vision-enable sensors to count pedestrians, and StreetLight InSight® GPS analytics technology. Motionloft installed four sensors around the Great Wall, and StreetLight utilized anonymous GPS traces from tens of thousands of vehicles around the Great Wall to create these analytics. (Motionloft and StreetLight donated the analytics/sensors to the Great Wall for the purposes of understanding viewership.)

Motionloft installed four sensors near The Wall, as shown in Figure 3. Only counts from the three starred sensors were used. The fourth, on Broadway, was installed to see how much foot traffic is “lost” from Broadway. These sensors collected data for several months, allowing us to compare “First Friday” activity to other Fridays and other weekdays for November and December of 2015.

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Figure 3: Screenshot from the MotionLoft platform showing the locations of pedestrian sensors and counts for one section of an evening.


Though First Friday is a pedestrian event, vehicle analytics matter for two reasons.

  1. Drivers on Grand have a great view of the Great Wall, especially in slower First Friday traffic
  2. Many First Friday “pedestrians” drive to the region and park nearby

Thus, StreetLight ran two analyses – one counting vehicles that pass in front of the Great Wall, and the other looking at the characteristics of these drivers as well as those who park in the First Friday region – where are they coming from?


The Findings

The pedestrian sensors created many valuable findings. First, as shown in Figure 4, below, on a typical First Friday, The Wall is visible to ~4500 pedestrians. This is a 170% increase compared to a normal Friday.

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Figure 4: Total Pedestrians who can view The Wall on First Fridays compared to other Fridays in November and December.

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Figure 5 – Average hourly pedestrian wall viewers for November and December by day of week and time of day.


In addition, as shown in Figure 5, Fridays evenings are always the busiest night-time hours for this location. Saturday evening comes in second. It is also to interesting to observe that the peak during lunch time on Wednesday and other weekdays is higher than the typical Friday night (though doesn’t last as long). If there are opportunities for The Wall that don’t need darkness to be visible, Weekday lunch could be a great future opportunity.

Finally, as shown in Figure 3, there are lots of potential viewers on Broadway who don’t make the turn down W. Grand. Similarly, lots of pedestrians make it as far as the Starbucks but not all the way past The Wall. The Wall is visible from the Starbucks door, and somewhat visible from the corner of Broadway and West Grand. This finding shows that sign boards at these two locations explaining the amazing art just a few steps away could be a good investment to drive up viewership.

The vehicular analysis also yielded many useful results. The first analysis looked at drivers passing in front of the Great Wall during the shows. We found that despite the nearby road closures, each First Friday between 4500 and 5500 vehicles can view the wall between 5pm and 11pm. This is a 16% increase over typical Fridays. While vehicles may contain more than one person (thus more than one “view”), it is also true that some drivers don’t look at the wall while driving so we did not adjust for occupancy. We note that the many stops due to crosswalks and stoplights just next to The Wall make it likely that everyone in the car will see the art.

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Figure 6 – Vehicle viewers on First Fridays versus other Fridays in late 2015.


Next, we pulled the Pedestrian and Vehicular data together to see how viewership compared on First Fridays during the evening. As shown in Figure 7, vehicle viewers dominate in the early hours while Pedestrians are higher in the later hours. This can be useful with thinking about the timing of different elements of shows.


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Figure 7 – Share of viewers by hour of the night during First Fridays.


Lastly, as shown in Figure 8, we analyzed the origins of visitors to First Fridays. We only looked at visitors by vehicle, thus missing visitors who bike and transit to the event. We found a significant spike in parking events in the vicinity. In addition, the event draws a different type of visitor. Figure 8 shows the ZIP codes of origin for vehicular First Friday visitors. Trips originate from throughout the Bay Area, including lower income parts of West and East Oakland as well as Fremont, as well as across the Bay in San Francisco (and go beyond the map, which we zoomed in to be a little more legible). This shows the wide economic and geographical reach of public art viewed during First Fridays.


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Figure 8 – ZIP codes of origin for First Friday visitors who drove and parked in the First Friday district.


Figure 9 shows the difference in this trend for First Fridays compared to other Fridays. The darker orange the zip code, the more likely someone from that ZIP code is to go to the Uptown district on First Friday compared to a normal Friday. White ZIP codes are about the same. Purple ZIP codes means a First Friday visitor is LESS likely to be from that ZIP compared to a normal Friday visitor. As this map shows, First Friday pulls a different crowd – especially more people from West Oakland – a mixed income neighborhood, downtown San Francisco, Berkeley (especially UC Berkeley) and other more distant ZIP codes. In other words, First Friday pulls an even more geographically distributed crowd than a typical Uptown Friday and the Great Wall is seen by folks from all over – West Oakland, downtown San Francisco, Marin, Berkeley, and more..



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Figure 9 shows the difference in this trend for First Fridays compared to other Fridays. The darker orange the zip code, the more likely someone from that ZIP code is to go to the Uptown district on First Friday compared to a normal Friday. White ZIP codes are about the same. Purple ZIP codes means a First Friday visitor is LESS likely to be from that ZIP compared to a normal Friday visitor.

Next Steps

StreetLight and Motionloft will continue to explore applications of combining our technologies and analytic approaches to help clients. For The Wall, this report will be used to help in fundraising. Finally, we’ll help The Wall analyze other potential locations for new Walls and installations, gauging which ones could have the biggest impact on the community.

We welcome comments and questions at this link. Also be sure to check out new shows at The Wall if you’re in the Bay Area!

Top Five Holiday Shopping Days of 2015

Though many reports have stated that shoppers are making more online purchases this holiday season, at Motionloft we are still seeing a steady flow of consumers who head to the shops, but what days can retailers expect the biggest rush?

When we looked closely into individual shopping days nationwide, we were not surprised to see that busiest shopping day in retail centers is still Black Friday (Nov 27th) as shoppers take advantage of retail deals. However we were interested to see that several subsequent days hit similar traffic volumes- within 85% of the traffic that what was seen on Black Friday. We also see a significant last minute rush right before the Holidays. Below you’ll see the top five busiest shopping days of the 2015 season.

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No surprise that three of the top days are the days closest to Christmas. Many consumers still procrastinate, and delay their shopping until the last minute. Online shopping does not allow for this level of procrastination due to shipping constraints. We also see that many customers leverage their weekends in Mid-December to stock up before the big rush in almost as many numbers as Black Friday itself!

There is no doubt of the impact of online shopping to omni-channel retail sales, and traditional shopping patterns to brick and mortar locations. Therefore having access to real-time pedestrian traffic data during the holiday season becomes even more imperative to retailers and property owners alike. This data enables them to understand volumes, track year over year changes, and ultimately better prepare and serve that traffic to maximize revenue during the holiday season.

3 Ways Pedestrian Counts Can Change Our Cities For the Better

Technology is a constant in society, and enhances our lives in ways we’re not aware of every day. The use of sensor technology to monitor pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicle traffic, particularly in central business districts, is an important part of city planning and design. It can inform a range of decisions for city government as well as private businesses.

The American Planning Association endorses the use of pedestrian counts for all types of city planning considerations. According to this group, the counts can be applied to improving city centers in 3 areas: mobility, safety, and pleasure.



How easily pedestrians can move around in the city depends on several factors:

Conflicts with vehicular traffic – here pedestrian counts are very useful in determining where to install traffic lights, and determining the signals’ timing as well as whether to include pedestrian prompts, such as the Walk or Don’t Walk signals. A low pedestrian count at an intersection might be used to justify installing a flashing light rather than a timed traffic signal.

Sidewalk congestion- an overly congested sidewalk can force people to slow down or spill over into the street.  Pedestrian counts help planners avoid this issue by providing sidewalks of appropriate width, based on the typical traffic for the area.

Availability of pedestrian routes- Using land inefficiently can cause pedestrians to take longer routes than necessary to their destination. Pedestrian counts help planners identify destinations and provide optimized routes to get people where they want to go, safely and efficiently.



The most important factor in pedestrian safety is the amount of conflict with vehicular traffic.  Pedestrian counts can be used to study how people are responding to traffic signals. They’re also used to compare the rate of pedestrian and vehicle accidents related to the sidewalk traffic at a particular location.  They can tell planners whether a given intersection has a greater than average percentage of jaywalkers, which indicates that improvement is needed to make that crossing more efficient and safe.

A great example of the use of data to improve safety is the Vision Zero Initiative, a multinational effort that focuses on reducing pedestrian and vehicular fatalities.  These efforts look at how traffic calming and rerouting projects can impact pedestrian and vehicle traffic trends, and ultimately what patterns might be higher or lower risk.  Deployment of pedestrian counting technologies like Motionloft can surface these patterns in real-time.  



Being a pedestrian can be a very enjoyable experience, if the district is well planned.  How the routes are laid out can greatly enhance the pleasure and comfort of walking in the city. Things like canopies, trees, and artwork are strategically placed using information that includes pedestrian counts.


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City Garden, St Louis, MO


A great example of a well planned public space is the City Garden in St. Louis, MO.  The park design took careful consideration of utilization of space by taking pedestrian counts, and in-person observation methods to appropriately design the placement of art pieces and the parks lighting.  By taking these factors into consideration the city created a public space that naturally invites visitors to enjoy its space.

Data on pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle traffic is becoming more widely available, and it’s useful in many areas besides city planning. Management of events that temporarily increase congestion in a given area is made much more effective when these counts are considered. Businesses can make better decisions when they’re selecting locations for retail stores.

Cities use pedestrian counts to help determine downtown property retail values, and chart their overall rise and decline as well. For private business, the uses for this type of information are just starting to be explored. It is already an important tool for planners, and probably has an effect on each of us every day, whether we’re aware of it or not.