Cushman test drives pedestrian-tracking sensors

Motionloft is backed by Mark Cuban, who calls the technology "game changing"

A startup backed by billionaire businessman Mark Cuban is testing a new technology that would allow landlords and retailers to collect data on pedestrian and vehicle traffic around their buildings. The San Francisco-based company, Motionloft, is currently working with Cushman & Wakefield and Colliers International to evaluate the product — installing motion sensors in several Manhattan locations.

Motionloft founder and CEO Jon Mills said the firm has already installed sensors on Broadway, and is about to install new sensors at locations in Times Square and another Midtown location. The sensors measure the number of people entering these buildings, as well as potential customers walking or driving by these properties. With the data gathered, Motionloft creates reports that can measure anything from the impact of weather on customer traffic to scouting new locations for retail expansion.

Mills said most of the customers in New York are existing landlords, but some are retailers. “In New York developers are seeing how their properties are stacking up against one another,” he told The Real Deal. “Some sensors are on properties that are vacant, and they want to lease them out.”

Motionloft was founded in 2010 as a way to analyze retailers in San Francisco. The store was looking for data on how many customers came into its store on a daily basis and the Motionloft technology allowed them to measure various locations in order to determine traffic flow.

The firm launched an official beta test in 2011, and has sensors in 16 San Francisco neighborhoods. The firm has begun expanding to other test cities, including New York, Miami and soon Chicago. Motionloft is working with luxury fashion retailers, including Saks Fifth Avenue and Goyard, and other chains including CVS pharmacy.

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“The value of this data not only to brokers, but to the tenants themselves is game changing,” Cuban told The Real Deal. “That’s why I got involved.”

For $149 a month, brokers can get weekly reports and real-time analysis of customer traffic, as well as access to all of the Motionloft’s analytical data. A more robust plan for property owners starts at $279 a month.

Christian Stanton, an associate at Cushman, said the technology has automated a customer analytics process that previously was limited and time-consuming. “Before this technology existed you had to hire somebody for a flat rate, stand outside a store and count,” Stanton said. “It’s going to be a huge value to both landlords and retailers.”

Cushman first began working with Motionloft in 2011.

Colliers officials were not immediately available for comment.