The Density Device Means Mobile Employees Find Empty Spots to Work


Counting the number of people in a room seems like a pretty simple task, and not one with a whole lot of practical value.

But that’s not the case for Density. The San Francisco-based company is actually completely based around that concept.

The company makes a gadget that can be installed on the door frame of a business to count the people who come and go. You might wonder why anyone would find such a thing useful.

Well, currently the company partners with the Portland, Oregon, firm Workfrom, a company that reviews coffee shops, bars and other WiFi connected spots based on factors that might affect remote workers. Density’s offering is applicable in this instance because it can give people an idea of how many people are in each spot in real time.

So, that way freelancers and mobile employees can avoid lugging their laptops all over town in search of an empty table. And at the same time, the tool could help those businesses with empty tables bring in some extra customers during their not-so-busy times.

It’s a simple solution but also a very real problem, especially as the remote workforce continues to grow. Even those who don’t necessarily need to work from a local coffee shop or bar could potentially avoid those time wasting situations thanks to this type of technology.

Density CEO Andrew Farah also thinks the gadget could be used in other situations, like at polling stations on voting days. He told Wired:

“We thought people counting was a solved problem, but it’s not. It feels less like we’re entering a market and more like we’re creating a whole new one. That’s both exciting and terrifying.”

The market of products designed to help remote workers has understandably increased in recent years. But while other companies are mainly focused on communication and collaboration tools, Density and Workfrom are providing a much more basic, but still very necessary, service – helping people find a physical place to work.

Counting the people who enter and exit a business might not be the most scientific way to help remote workers stay productive. But it seems to be a better system than running around town in search of an open table. And as Farah suggests, the technology could even potentially apply beyond just remote workers. The company could be stumbling onto a whole new industry.

Image: Density


Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

5 Reactions
  1. Michael MacMillan

    This is spin. The problem is solved in many ways and this is another. Maybe they have found anniche but there are many technologies both good and ordinary available many for decades. If this technology counts people at a better percentage than 98% in high density maybe it adds to the current pack. If not then O am not sure what the fuss is about here.

    • Every industry seems to have companies that try to do the same thing in different ways. This is just another example of that. And the partnership they’ve formed is allowing them to sort of form their own niche, so it’s an interesting take. That doesn’t mean it’s the most groundbreaking thing ever – just a new interesting spin on an existing industry.

  2. It can be quite useful especially in those places where counting can be quite a hassle. I just don’t know if it is enough of a necessity to qualify spending.

    • I think the appeal would be more for the businesses that have seats available. It could help get some people to come in during un-busy times if other establishments are packed.

  3. Martin Lindeskog

    This is a smart idea, probably based on the frustration driving around, trying to find a parking space. If your favorite coffee place (tea lounge in my case) is packed, where do you go? The third place concept comes to play…