Welcome, tech enthusiasts and innovators! Today, we explore an exciting project known as Paxcounter. Powered by the ESP32 MCU, this device offers real-time passenger flow metering by counting the number of mobile devices in its vicinity. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the intentions behind this project, its privacy-focused approach, and the various ways it can be implemented. So, let’s dive in!

Understanding Paxcounter:
Paxcounter’s primary purpose is to accurately estimate the number of people present without invading their privacy. By detecting and evaluating the MAC addresses of nearby Wi-Fi and Bluetooth signals emitted from mobile devices, it provides a non-intrusive solution for passenger flow monitoring.

Respecting Privacy:
One of the standout features of Paxcounter is its commitment to privacy. It achieves its goal of counting people without the need to track individual devices. This means that MAC addresses are not stored persistently, and the scanned devices are not subjected to any form of fingerprinting. This privacy-conscious approach ensures that personal data remains secure and anonymous.

Data Storage and Transmission Options:
Paxcounter provides multiple options for storing and transmitting data, allowing flexibility in data management. Here are a few notable methods:

  1. Local SD-card Storage: The device can store data locally on an SD card, providing a convenient and accessible way to retrieve and analyze passenger flow information.
  2. Cloud Transfer via LoRaWAN: Utilizing LoRaWAN networks like The Things Network or Helium, Paxcounter can securely transmit data to the cloud. This approach enables centralized data storage and analysis, making it ideal for larger-scale deployments.
  3. MQTT over TCP/IP: For seamless integration with existing IoT infrastructure, Paxcounter supports data transmission via MQTT over TCP/IP. This protocol enables efficient communication between the device and a local host, ensuring real-time data updates.

Battery-Powered Efficiency:
Paxcounter’s design allows for battery-powered operation, maximizing uptime and minimizing maintenance efforts. Leveraging the ESP32’s deep sleep mode and a single 18650 Li-Ion cell, the device can achieve long-lasting performance. This makes it an excellent choice for applications that require mobility or installations in remote locations.

Applications and Future Possibilities:
The versatility of Paxcounter opens up a world of possibilities in various domains. Here are a few potential applications:

  1. Public Transportation: Monitoring passenger flows on buses, trains, or subway systems can provide valuable insights for optimizing service efficiency and resource allocation.
  2. Events and Venues: By tracking visitor numbers at concerts, conferences, or sports stadiums, event organizers can enhance crowd management, ensure safety, and improve overall visitor experience.
  3. Retail Analytics: Retailers can leverage Paxcounter to gather footfall data in stores, enabling them to identify peak hours, optimize staff allocation, and evaluate marketing strategies.
  4. Urban Planning: Collecting data on pedestrian flows in busy urban areas can aid in urban planning, traffic management, and infrastructure development.

Paxcounter’s ESP32 MCU-based solution presents a groundbreaking approach to passenger flow monitoring. With its privacy-conscious design, flexible data storage and transmission options, and battery-powered efficiency, it offers a powerful tool for numerous applications. As technology continues to evolve, Paxcounter paves the way for smarter, data-driven decision-making, ultimately enhancing the quality of experiences for both individuals and communities.

So, whether you’re an urban planner, event organizer, or an innovative thinker, Paxcounter is a project worth exploring. Embrace the possibilities and embark on a journey of efficient and privacy-respecting passenger flow monitoring.


An amateur radio operator, Royal Signals veteran, jack of all trades and master of none.

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