Churches with large congregations often find themselves pressed for time during busy masses. Staff members all have a specific job to perform before, during and after the mass and often times one of these jobs is to collect attendance data as people come and go from the church. It is important for churches to understand the number of people who attend its services so the church is able to improve their day to day operations.
Freeing up the time of staff members is a key concern to larger churches. Time is a commodity and staff members could better spend their time serving the people of the church rather than counting attendees. Ushers, for example, should be concerned with properly seating parishioners comfortably rather than multi-tasking and counting those arriving and exiting the church as they try to seat members of the church.
We recently sat down with Brendon Badway, SenSource sales representative, to discuss the importance of people counting for churches and how many churches are collecting their data.
Badway mentioned that one way to free up time of staff members is to install and implement a people counting system. A people counting sensor such as the SenSource VidX, is able to collect accurate and automated service attendance monitoring for the church. With this information staff members are able to determine which service times are busiest and in turn ensure the operations of the church are in order.
“Having an automated process is important as it takes the potential for human error out of the picture.”, stated Badway. The automated system also allows users to see the attendance numbers quicker, even in real time through the Vea analytics reporting platform dashboard.
Not all people counting sensors are created alike and there are a few things to consider before implementing such a system. Badway suggests that you start by looking at all of your points of entry in and out of the space to ensure that they are all covered. If points of entry and exit are left uncovered, this could result in skewed occupancy numbers. For example, staff entrances are easily overlooked but can account for several counts which can have a big impact on overall accuracy.
Churches that have already implemented people counting technology into their sanctuaries have received the best results by covering all points of entry and exit. Churches with a campus-like environment benefit the most by tracking their perimeter, or overall building traffic, as well as to the sanctuary traffic.
Installation of a people counting system is now quite streamlined. SenSource offers full installation services if needed, otherwise customers can install the system themselves. The installation process involves the mounting of the sensors in the appropriate placements for optimal accuracy, running network cable as the sensors are PoE devices, and the configuration of the sensor (completed remotely by SenSource technicians). One thing that Badway recommends is that since the sensors are overhead mounted (typically surface mounted to the ceiling) and network cabled, it would be best to have plans in place for a sensor before any new ceiling is put in place. This is important for mounting and for running network cable.
One church that has had recent success in updating and implementing their people counting system is Grace Family Church in Northeast Ohio. Grace Family Church has been a customer of ours since 2012. They have 6 campuses and started out with our thermal imaging technology. In 2018 the church reached out as they were interested in a technology refresh and wanted to know if we had something new and better to offer. After a month or so of testing the church upgraded all systems to our newer 3D stereo video system. They also decided to go with our newer Vea Cloud reporting platform, rather than our locally installed legacy software. This helped eliminate data storage and server maintenance on their end. With the 3D system they can now video validate for accuracy as this was not an available feature on the thermal system.
If your church is looking to automate its attendance tracking and occupancy data needs contact a member of the SenSource sales team to learn which technology and people counting system is right for your church.