Rethinking Technology,

How COVID-19 is changing the way

we think of Security Technology.

October 2020

Lifestyle changed for us all in order to meet health regulations to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus and facilitate health organizations respond to the emergency. Lucrative and non-lucrative organizations are eager to face the recent public health crisis in order to respond in a responsible manner that allows the continuity of their operations. Around the world, organizations are rethinking the way they operate and how their services or products are produced, managed and distributed, so that their performance and quality is not compromised. 

Technology has been proven an excellent tool for the organizations to comply with physical distancing, improved hygiene measures and overall facilitating remotely working and service providing. Being honest, modern technology has been key to both the spread of the virus and countermeasures to slow the transmission. Airplanes transported virus within human hosts from one country to another, while telecommunications have allowed us to rapidly react and modify many of our behaviors as human beings. Reducing physical social interaction has been challenging, but we are learning to reduce physical contact in our work, social, exercising and feeding routines. We have been using technology to facilitate this transition in all aspects of our lives. Among other systems, traditional security systems are being adjusted to better fit these needs, by giving new uses and expanding functionalities to systems such as video surveillance cameras, access control platforms and intrusion detection systems. 

Many health institutes have advised that one of the main symptoms of COVID-19 virus is fever. We all have heard of preliminary screening solutions to detect high temperature in the human body and raise an alarm in order to take measures and prevent dissemination of the disease. High temperature is a symptom of many other diseases, so it does not if determine someone has COVID-19 by itself. Thermographic video surveillance cameras and portable thermographic cameras can be very accurate in remotely reading temperature in the right conditions. Thermographic cameras is not a new technology, it has been used for years now to prevent fires in mines and dumpsters, as well as for early detection of damaged machinery. Recently it has been deployed successfully in Airports to assess and reduce passenger risk. Other simpler and more cost effective solutions such as thermal face modules integrated to access control systems help enforce new health norms such as using a face mask, while reading a persons temperature can be implemented in lower traffic places such as small offices or stores. Other technologies like standalone wrist thermometers, and infrared thermometers are being widely used to manually take readings.

But how effective are these measures in the case of COVID-19?  The World Health Organization mentions in their official website (https://www.who.int/home) that transmission of the virus primarily occurs from people with symptoms, but can also be spread from people before developing symptoms or from people without symptoms. This means screening for high temperature on asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic people won´t raise any alarms. For this reason wearing a face mask, maintaining social distancing, cleaning hands often, and sanitizing spaces are still practices that have to be performed even when no high temperature has been detected.

 

Video analytics run on video surveillance systems can be applied to automate face mask usage, counting people going in and out of places to respect the maximum occupancy or to enforce social distancing indoors by detecting crowds or people too near in queues.

 

Another relevant fact exposed by the World Health Organization is that laboratory data suggests people might be the most infectious at or around the time they develop symptoms. That’s why screening for high temperature is such a valuable tool in preventing the spread of the disease. When considering to apply Thermographic technology in a facility entrance it is important to consider the flow of people, reading distance, accuracy of the device and follow the manufacturers recommendations for best practices. For most solutions accuracy is much better if the environment is controlled and preferably indoors.  

 

This pandemic has challenged each of us to be more conscious and considerate of others. By using a face mask and following public health recommendations, you not only take care of yourself but of others. It’s becoming a huge responsibility for each of us whether we are healthy, infected or don’t know if we are, to protect others following the guidelines. Companies and organizations have the duty to take this responsibility to a higher level, rethinking how work-from-home, safer and conditioned work spaces, and overall different business models can reduce the risks of spreading COVID-19. Most companies have done their part, and services as online shopping and home-delivered products and services have gained strength in the market share.

 

We all have to practice our patience, solidarity, adaptability and creativity to take the best out of this situation. There is still alot to learn and understand the true impact (hopefully positive), of our new behaviors to human kind and the environment.

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