Graham Rose, Strategic Senior Policy Officer:
a) presented Performance Scrutiny Committee with an insight into the Geo-sense footfall data available to City of Lincoln Council and partners
b) invited members comments and questions.
Question: Members asked whether the range of the sensors would reach the opposite side of the road if they were placed on the other for example.
Response: The sensors had a good range and could cover a large area. For example, the sensor located outside Boots would cover the area to the railway crossing on the High Street up to M&S.
Question: Members asked if the sensors could recognise if a person had left an area.
Response: The sensors did know when a person had left an area so data could be gathered on how long people were spending in certain areas.
Question: Members asked if the system would know if each person was a new visitor or a repeat visitor.
Response: The system has the functionality to determine whether an individual had been detected before or whether they were a new visitor.
Question: Members asked how repeat visitors could be checked as the only way to recognise repeat visitors was by their MAC address.
Response: Once the MAC address was received by the supplier’s cloud servers it was logged into a database and the MAC address was instantly masked - masking means the address was converted into a new unique ID only known by the database. At 3:00 AM everyday all masked addresses were re-masked again using AI and a set of randomly generated alphanumeric characters meaning the MAC address could never be recovered. Officers would forward further information onto Committee Members as to how the system detected new and repeat visitors if their MAC address was not retained.
Question: Was it possible to see where people had travelled from to arrive in Lincoln?
Response: No, we were not able to tell anything about the person.
Question: Members asked the life expectancy of the sensors.
Response: The sensors were purchased with a maintenance agreement attached to them so if one of them failed then it would be replaced straight away. The cost of the system was low.
Question: Members asked if there was any chance of an income stream from this.
Response: No as the data was owned by Lincoln Big.
Question: Members asked whether the system would pick up multiple people if one person walked down the street with a smart phone, smart watch and a tablet.
Response: Yes, this would pick up three people as the system would pick up three MAC addresses from the different devices.
Question: Members asked if signs needed to be put up to say that visitors were entering an area which was monitored.
Response: No as it was no different than providing free WIFI within the City. It was very hard to track a MAC address back to an individual.