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RFID system to keep crowd within Covid19 limits

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Automatic RFID technology-based room capacity control system keeps crowds within the Covid19 limit.

Guidelines for shops and workplaces issued by governments require that facilities limit the number of occupants in a room to maintain social distancing. For example, “this room has a capacity for 50 people at one time”. It means that people must be employed to practice crowd control to ensure that the maximum number of people in a venue at any one time meets the criteria laid down.

RFID Technologies have developed a system that will regulate the number of people in an area automatically by allowing more people to enter as others leave, thus ensuring that the occupation regulations are always adhered to. This greatly reduces the burden on security personnel and allows them to carry on with the duties for which they are employed.

Radio Frequency ID (RFID) solution|
The RFID system is placed at the doorway to the room or shop. It counts people entering and leaving the area automatically and shows a bright red light at the doorway when the room is at capacity. This stops further people entering until others have left the room, to keep the occupancy within the designated capacity.  The system can be linked to automatic gates or other access control mechanisms.

The technology
The system is an RFID system using UHF RFID technology. A reader is set up at the doorway to the area being monitored. It is a stand-alone system just requiring mains power. Staff are carrying a transponder on their person (or part of their ID card), which identity is read by the reader. The reader reads the identity on each transponder passing in and out through the doorway. By keeping a list of those who have entered, it can count the room occupancy. When people leave the room, they are removed from the occupancy list.

A light on the top of the reader indicates to newcomers whether there is still space in the room, or if they must queue outside. The transponders carried by people are credit card sized and can be read by the reader up to 10 metres away.The operator can adjust the number of people allowed via a cellphone interface, allowing changes to be implemented as regulations and requirements change.

This device is to assist in unwinding the lockdown imposed by many governments by giving citizens more freedom, depending on circumstances. Some authorities are suggesting that social distancing will be with us for the next two years.

This system makes life easier for employees and shoppers to use facilities and shops in such a way that they do not break regulations which might result in the loss of that facility or shop due to non-compliance with current regulations. Here the employee or shopper can see, before entering, whether the facility/shop is already at full capacity.

For example, in a shopping centre, a shopper can be given an ID card when entering the mall, and can then go to a variety of different shops in the mall that have different capacities, regulating their entrance to each shop depending on whether it still has capacity at that time.

Typical applications

  • Canteens in large companies where many staff members share the same facilities.
  • Changerooms and locker rooms in large companies.
  • Tea rooms in medium companies.
  • Shops in shopping centres which are required to limit the number of customers in the shop due to its size.
  • Elevators in deep mining operations.
  • Shuttle busses in large industrial companies for moving staff back to the entrances.
  • Lecture halls in universities
  • Conference sessions at international conferences
  • Payment halls in municipalities
  • Pubs at sports clubs.

RFID Technologies CC is a South African specialist company based in Johannesburg, founded in 1994, that designs and manufactures UHF RFID systems which it supplies to users in 55 countries.


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