A laser keeps an eye on passers-by in bamberg

It’s just a small, inconspicuous device on the edge of the roof of a house on the grunen markt square. But the box, which is only 25 centimeters long and eleven centimeters wide, keeps a very close eye on what’s going on underneath it. He throws a laser curtain on the hustle and bustle in the fubganger zone in front of the martinskirche, the laser thus records how many visitors are on the move in the bamberger city center – and this is freely visible on the internet.

This is how the site of the start-up hystreet from coln reveals it.Com that on the long shopping night on saturday, 7. December, the busiest day on the green market: the day is the top performer of the year with 85.131 people. For comparison: on a normal saturday, not even half of the number of visitors is busy – for example on the 13th of december. April 36.850 people paid.

The whole thing can also be broken down to the hour: on the record-breaking saturday, 7890 passers-by were measured in the peak hour between 4 and 5 p.M., while the average on saturdays is 3681. To be precise, the figures do not refer to people, but to pedestrian frequencies, because if someone crosses the line several times, they are also recorded several times.

Such measured figures are not just a game, but proof of a city’s attractiveness, which is interesting for traders or investors, explains julian C. Aengenvoort, one of two managers at hystreet. "We do this to understand the inner city: what is happening there, where is it going??" The manual payment is to be replaced by the continuous laser measurement. According to the company, the laser is "eye-safe and invisible", on the other hand, it is harmless from a data protection point of view, since no personal data was collected.

Measurement is carried out in 52 cities

Hystreet has now installed the devices in 52 cities in germany, including munich, koln and heidelberg. The busiest city is munich, with over 2.7 million passers-by at just one measuring point in november – at the grunen markt in bamberg, the figure for the same period was just under 680.000 passers-by.

According to aengenvoort, hystreet’s aim is to provide data to the city center in opposition to online retailing. And to disprove that pedestrian frequencies are declining. Such facts are naturally also highly sought-after by real estate investors. Even the start-up’s parent company is interested in the figures. The hystreet.Com gmbh ultimately belongs to aachener grundvermogen. The investment company focuses its investments on inner-city retail properties in germany, including bamberg.

In trade, the receipt pays

The city marketing department has so far not noticed anything about the laser measurement. Managing director klaus stieringer sees the benefit of frequency measurements in being able to see whether marketing messages are being received. But with a view to retail promotions such as the long shopping night, he makes it clear: "in the end, it’s always about the customer: the decisive factor for retailers is sales, not frequency."

In trade, the receipt pays. And it is known that the frequency of passers-by is declining, in some cases significantly. "On the other hand, the bon is on the rise." Fewer people bought more.

The long shopping night works, says the city manager. For stieringer’s taste, there could easily be more. He is therefore advocating fewer regularities for shopping promotions, for example the abolition of the requirement that sundays be open for sales on special occasions. Because the only remaining open sunday during the blues and jazz festival doesn’t make anyone happy: although hystreet paid above-average numbers of passers-by at the grunen markt (more than 35.000), but on this 11. August hardly any customers.

Apart from that, hystreet managing director aengenvoort asserts: "we believe in the city center." He doesn’t see the black for the world heritage city anyway: "bamberg will continue to be one of the winners", according to his forecast.


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