How does the Head-Counter device offered by Blimp work?

The Head-Counter is a device produced and marketed by Blimp, with the aim of providing its customers with information regarding the flows and density of people entering its scope of action. The device falls within the broader category of Digital Signage devices.

To take its measurements, the Head-Counter uses face detection algorithms, which refer to technologies that detect the presence of a human face in an image but do not identify it.

The image and video analysis and acquisition system developed by Blimp detects a snapshot in a given area. The photograph is then processed by a computing unit inside the meter, which extracts the information of interest.

Privacy plays a key role for Blimp: aggregation and anonymization

From the photographs and video recordings, anonymized and numerical audience information can be extracted through aggregation and anonymization operations. These include: the number of faces, the number of pedestrians or vehicles in an area, and the number of individuals belonging to a particular gender or age group. The identity of the data subject cannot be traced in any way.

Acquisition is limited in duration and occurs within the device itself. No personal data remains in the hard drive of the Head-Counter. The extrapolated data remain exclusively in the volatile memory (RAM) of the Main Board for the time required to process them, up to a maximum of 500 milliseconds. After that, they are immediately deleted.

The Main Board cannot be accessed from outside or remotely: during standard use, communication is one-way. Access to the Main Board is possible only during configuration, under explicit customer request and through specific commands.

A system to protect privacy

The Italian Data Protection Authority clarifies that if the system uses mere face detection algorithms, if the methods of image deletion are almost immediate, and no personal data remains stored in the system on a long-term basis, the data processing complies with the principles of personal data protection.

In order to protect data subjects, Blimp also ensures that due technical-organizational measures are taken in the field of data security in order to avoid incidents, data leaks and data breaches. It prevents access to data by non-professionals and ensures that its operators are properly authorized to process personal data.

Not only that, Blimp constantly monitors its devices through a system of periodic audits designed to prevent tampering and malfunctions.

Privacy by Design – operation scheme


Physical Audience
Measuring Technologies and Privacy Concerns

The whitepaper and the related web tool are the result of the work of a discussion panel between the main players in the OOH and Retail sectors, the CRCLEX studio, the Italian IoT & privacy Institute and Blimp.

Download the whitepaper