At a family get-together in the Solothurn region of Switzerland in 2007, video analytics expert Christian Studer sparked a life-changing discussion with his brother and electrical engineer David: could they come up with a more efficient and accurate way to count passengers and measure people flow at airports? The Studer brothers teamed up with David’s colleague Markus Herrli to turn the Xovision into a viable business.
The three founders officially started Xovis in 2008. They quickly realized that conventional video analytics would not provide the solution they were seeking for their customers. And that is how it came that they developed the first optical Xovis sensor.
Inspired by the compelling concept, brilliant hardware and software, developers joined the young company at its small office and manufacturing space in the Swiss capital, Bern. It was an intense time, full of experiment, discovery and learning.
By 2012, the team of eight Xovisionaries had conducted numerous trials with the monovision Xovis sensor at major airports, including Zurich, Frankfurt and Stuttgart. The results were promising, and customers were both impressed and satisfied.
However, the shortcomings of the monovision sensors in case of light changes, very crowded areas and other situations became apparent. The ambitious Xovis team went on to develop the Xovis PT2, the company’s first 3D people counting sensor. In combination with the Xovis Suite (software solution for airports), the Xovis PT2 paved the way for unprecedented applications in people flow measurement within very large areas.
The Xovis Passenger Tracking Solution, the combination of Xovis 3D Sensors and the software solution for airports, not only prevailed in numerous tenders, but also drew much interest far beyond the airport industry. Among many commendations, Xovis won the W.A. De Vigier Award 2012 for the original character of the product, its social dimension, technical and financial feasibility, and commercial potential.
The switch to 3D technology (often referred to as stereo vision) proved to be the breakthrough for the then five-year old company. The endurance and strategic focus of the Xovis team finally paid off. Demand for the Xovis Passenger Tracking Solution with its unmatched accuracy and reliability went through the roof.
Xovis added a new 3D sensor to its product portfolio in order to accommodate the architectural requirements of any airports. The Xovis PT3 could be mounted on ceilings up to 20m (65 ft.) high and cover 100 m2 (1080 sq. feet) of tracking area per sensor.
However, the much-loved small office and manufacturing facility was not able to cope with the company’s growth. Xovis moved to Zollikofen just outside Bern, which is still the company’s headquarters today.
By the end of 2014, 14 major airports around the globe counted on the Xovis Passenger Tracking Solution to measure waiting times and other KPIs, harnessing the data to optimize operations and increase passenger satisfaction.
The rising demand from other sectors initiated the development of the PC2 (2014) and the PC3 (2015), successors to the PT2 and PT3. These new Xovis 3D people counting sensors included features for deployment in both airports and other crowded areas, such as shopping malls, outlet centers and museums.
Airports use the 3D people counting sensors in combination with the Xovis airport software, while system integrators in industries such as retail and building management integrate the Xovis 3D Sensors into their existing software environment.
In order to accompany Xovis’ fast growth in various industries and regions, EMERAM Capital Partners joined the journey. The broad experience, expertise and network of the German investment company empowered Xovis to set course to scale up the company.
With numerous new product developments and more than 35 airports, 100 system integrators and 50 dedicated employees on board, Xovis was ready to take not only its technology but the company as a whole to the next level.
Enabled by a weatherproof housing, some Xovis customers had started to deploy the 3D people counting sensors in outdoor applications in 2015. Since there is no reason for people counting and people flow measurement to stop on the doorstep, Xovis released its first all-in-one 3D sensor for outdoor applications in 2017. The PC3 Outdoor complemented the broad Xovis product portfolio along with the PC2R, which includes a WiFi/Bluetooth monitoring module.
In June 2017, the first Xovis office outside Switzerland opened in Boston, US. The Swiss business newspaper Handelszeitung ranked Xovis second among Switzerland’s 55 fastest growing companies, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 202% between 2012 and 2015.
Only 10 years old, Xovis is now a well-established high-tech company with more than 80 employees in Switzerland and the US. More than 65 airports and 150 system integrators count on Xovis as a powerful tool to optimize customer experience and increase revenue. Today, Xovis stands for accuracy, reliability, impeccable customer support and unyielding innovation – made in Switzerland.
The introduction of the AI-powered Xovis 3D Sensor, the PC2S, in January 2018 set the next benchmark at the intersection of people counting and in-store analytics. The PC2S complements the broad Xovis product portfolio along with the Xovis SPIDER processing unit and the PC2 Outdoor.
Xovis continues to open the door to unprecedented applications for people counting, people flow measurement and in-store analytics at airports, shopping malls, outlet centers, museums, and other crowded places.
With the three founders, Christian Studer, David Studer and Markus Herrli, still on board, Xovis is eager to shape the future of people counting, people flow measurement and in-store analytics. With the combination of the AI-powered Xovis 3D Sensors and the Xovis SPIDER processing unit, Xovis and its partners help brick-and-mortar stores capitalize on the full potential of in-store analytics data and to compete with their online rivals.
Ten years after that life-changing Studer family reunion, Xovis is making a significant contribution to the development of fully automated, cashier-free stores. With development and manufacturing still taking place at the headquarters in Zollikofen, Xovis continues to provide airports and system integrators with peerless data intelligence for their business intelligence. Stay tuned – there’s more to come!