2019 | RCTJ

Counting Shoppers in Japan's Busiest Commercial Centers

Dataviz, Business Intelligence , Visual Analytics, and Location Intelligence

Japan–based technology provider and consultancy RCTJ caters to mall managers and owners with their "People Counter:" a system of cloud-connected imaging sensors that record the flow of shoppers. The sophisticated technology aims to give users a bird’s eye view of activity, but the “view” was difficult to access behind a text–heavy interface. With the help of translators, RCTJ and Accurat partnered to transform the software into a (language–agnostic) visualization platform.


RCTJ's People Counter was designed to give users the ability to identify patterns in foot–traffic in their facilities. With this insight, they can set rates for occupancy that accurately reflect the value of estate. Conversely, they can detect inactivity and strategize ways to redirect flow. The solution should have shone on the shelves, but its connected software ("Rainbow") was selling it short. Rich data was circumscribed to spreadsheets, and customization was a time-consuming process that demanded the expertise of senior–level employees. RCTJ's CEO contacted Accurat to overhaul Rainbow with the goal of making it easier to implement and use by employees at all levels of an organization.
RCTJ's People Counter.


Through copious interviews with RCTJ employees, we got to know the pros and cons of the program we were tasked with reinventing. We learned that Rainbow consisted of three disparate systems: an analytics view, a customization module, and a back office application to connect the two. According to users, Rainbow's setup process was extra cumbersome. Onboarding specialists could spend months customizing the software for clients, manually entering the dimensions of multilevel properties, plus all their nooks and crannies. With this input, we assessed what features were essential, what essential features were lacking, and how we could consolidate functionalities for a streamlined experience.

Given the software's purpose—to accurately reflect a physical location, and activity therein—we studied spatial visualization modes common in urban design and architecture to redesign the front–end interface. We also came up with a brand new, original feature: To convey hour–by–hour data and trends over time, we came up with a circular design reminiscent of a clock face.

In order to renovate Rainbow, we had to reverse–engineer it—a complicated process, since code was written in Japanese. Our engineers worked with translators to decode the foreign characters and preserve the software's foundation.

Solution & Results

Our solution—christened DaVinci—automatically ingests dimensions from floor plans. Users can then fine tune the display with a pared down toolkit. Once setup is complete, RCTJ clients can see shoppers, color-coded by age and gender, move through their spaces in real-time. With the ability to easily adjust the view to record different types of activities (i.e. store entrances and purchases), they can measure how traffic may influence particular businesses and vice versa. For closer analysis, they can observe specific time ranges and even see granular historical data, like the weather on a particular date.
A heat sensor is the nucleus of DaVinci's interface. Its waves represent times of day and the demographic makeup of crowds. With features like these, DaVinci makes it easier for RCTJ and their clients to plan for seasonal spending and the long-term future.
Multiple sensors show traffic at separate entrances.
DaVinci's advanced filters for analysis.
Before and after: Rainbow and DaVinci.
Tommaso Renzini
Marco Fugaro
Luca Falasco
Elisa Spigai
Vito Latrofa
Alberto Massa
Gabriele Rossi
Simone Quadri
Business Intelligence
Visual Analytics
Location Intelligence


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