Tracking human queues using single-point signal monitoring
We investigate using smartphoneWiFi signals to track human queues, which are common in many business areas such as retail stores, airports, and theme parks. Real-time monitoring of such queues would enable a wealth of new applications, such as bottleneck analysis, shift assignments, and dynamic workflow scheduling. We take a minimum infrastructure approach and thus utilize a single monitor placed close to the service area along with transmitting phones. Our strategy extracts unique features embedded in signal traces to infer the critical time points when a person reaches the head of the queue and finishes service, and from these inferences we derive a person’s waiting and service times. We develop two approaches in our system, one is directly feature-driven and the second uses a simple Bayesian network. Extensive experiments conducted both in the laboratory as well as in two public facilities demonstrate that our system is robust to real-world environments. We show that in spite of noisy signal readings, our methods can measure service and waiting times to within a 10 second resolution.