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Density, a start-up company that develops a series of people counting, artificial intelligence-driven sensors, announced today that it has raised $25 million. Density said that as it releases additional features in its software suite called Portfolio, the funds will be used to accelerate growth and expand plans.
In many ways, Density's products are tailored to respond to health crises. Cities all over the world have imposed restrictions on the number of customers that companies (especially restaurants) can enter. In addition, the shift to working from home and the financial headwinds driven by the pandemic have caused companies to question whether they need physical office space. Even before the pandemic, U.S. Commercial Real Estate Services estimated that the value of unused commercial real estate in the United States was approximately $1 trillion. In August, the capital market reported that in the first six months of 2020 (year-on-year), direct commercial sales of global real estate fell by 29% to US$321 billion.
To this end, the portfolio uses density sensor data to display real-time, day-to-day "back to the office" insights. The company said that the new benchmarking function is designed to help real estate teams view office usage information for a range of properties. Portfolio will automatically record weekly occupancy and usage changes, enabling users to set a safe maximum capacity according to local requirements. In addition, the software displays data over time, enabling companies to "adjust appropriately" their workspace.
Density uses in-depth measurement hardware and AI backends to perform crowd analysis to overcome the challenges posed by corners, corridors, doorways, and meeting rooms. Customers such as Pepsi, Delta, Verizon, Uber, Marriot, and ExxonMobil use their stacks to determine which parts of their offices are used most and least, and provide headcount statistics to hundreds of employees.
Above: Density's new Portfolio software.
Density co-founder and CEO Andrew Farah conceived of Density's technology when he was a graduate student at Syracuse University and worked at a mobile software development company. His original goal-to measure the busyness of a popular coffee shop-prompted him to explore several solutions, and then determine the solution that forms the basis of Density's people counting sensor.
According to Farah, Density's tracking provides an advantage over other methods: peace of mind. Unlike security cameras, its sensors cannot determine the gender or ethnicity of the person being tracked, nor can it perform intrusive facial recognition. This method also allows Density's sensors to perform occupancy detection in rooms where the camera cannot be accessed for compliance reasons.
Density recently launched Open Area, a sensor that uses artificial intelligence and radar to track the usage of physical workspaces. It is more powerful than Density's previous sensors and can detect key points on the human body. The device uses software to convert these key points into a point cloud on 3D graphics. For example, when placed over a table where people are sitting, the open area can show a rough outline of these people coming and going.
Due to the temporary closure of many customers, the pandemic initially hurt Density's sales. But since ending its Series B financing in June 2018 and raising $51 million in July, the company said that its sensors have counted more than 150 million people within hundreds of millions of square feet in dozens of countries.
Existing and former Density supporters include Kleiner Perkins, 01 Advisors, Upfront Ventures, Founders Fund, Ludlow Ventures, Launch, Disruptive and LPC Ventures. Participants include Alex Rodriguez, Julia and Kevin Hartz, Cyan and Scott Banister. The latest round of financing brings the total financing of the New York-based company to more than 100 million U.S. dollars.
On January 12, 2022, online listen to the opinions of CIOs, CTOs, and other C-level and senior executives on data and AI strategies.
Hear the opinions of CIOs, CTOs, and other C-level executives on data and AI strategies.
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