The technology that will lead us out of lockdown

The technology that will lead us out of lockdown

Across the world, the impact of COVID-19 pandemic has majorly disrupted how we function in our everyday lives, as a society, and the ways in which we do our jobs. Throughout, our personal safety and wellbeing, as well as that of our families, neighbours and colleagues, has been paramount - and adapting our day-to-day lives to meet social distancing measures has been a learning curve for us all.  

As we start to reassemble normal life, precautionary measures will continue to be put in place to achieve the universal aim of mitigating the spread of the virus as much as possible. As different countries reach new stages of this process, some parts of the world continue to live and work in lockdown, whilst some are beginning to open up. This means governments, as well as businesses and organisations, will need to think beyond one way systems and sanitation stations to contain the risk of infection as more people begin to return to the outside world. 

Of course, this will need to be driven by higher-level support from leaders in government, healthcare and technology to develop innovative ways of tracking and tracing the spread of COVID-19. From contact tracing solutions, to self-reporting apps and thermal screening cameras – governments and businesses across Europe have a new responsibility to seek and reinforce the most effective ways to ensure people’s safety.  

These measures are particularly pertinent to those reopening their doors as lockdown eases, and those returning to a daily routine of commuting to and serviced office spaces. As more and more people begin to move through public and commercial areas, we will rely more on technology to run in the background to ensure safety and wellbeing is monitored - much like that of the everyday CCTV camera. 

One piece of technology that we can expect to see as more commonplace is the thermal temperature screening cameras and monitoring system. An example of this kind of device, is D-Link’s recently launched all-in-one, intelligent fever screening kit – which includes a dual-lens thermographic camera, blackbody calibrator, as well as integrated management software. The premise of temperature screening cameras like this one, is to harness thermal imaging technology coupling it with AI to identify if a person is experiencing elevated temperatures, and raise the alarm automatically when someone at risk of spreading is detected. 

To monitor the progression or depletion of COVID-19, technologies such as AI facial recognition will play an important role in mitigating the risks of the virus spreading. Thermal cameras that use AI can easily capture and manage employee’s temperature and stop their entrance if a fever is detected. For this reason, such devices are normally installed in a doorway or entrance to a building to quickly detect and identify those displaying symptoms before entering a building. 

This type of surveillance will be detrimental to the management of COVID-19 in the world of a ‘new normal’ – as companies feel their way out and learn as they go along with people’s health and wellbeing continuing to be centre of the mind. Just as lockdown has had an impact on physical as well as mental health, so too will the adjustment to living life post-pandemic. Not only in getting used to and dealing with the emotional and mental pressures of life on the ‘outside’ as they leave lockdown, but they also face the very real risk of contracting the virus and the worries they may have of spreading it. 

Companies and organisations have a responsibility in these times to play a supportive role towards employees, such as allowing them to continue working from home until they feel comfortable to work in an office setting. Equally, as restrictions ease, employers have a duty to make the workplace a safe place that is able to uphold the wellbeing of staff, which is where, as we wait for a vaccine, we must make use of the available technology. However, in the case of the thermal camera, in order for it to deliver effective results, it must be installed appropriately. To support this, we have outlined some key points to consider when deploying a temperature screening camera here:

  • Choose a solution that features a blackbody calibrator – a vital part for any temperature screening device. A blackbody calibrator is the basis for accurate calibration of infrared thermography devices and allows the device to accurately detect a fever.  
  • Check for facing windows or doorways and heat sources such as radiators as these increase the risk of stray heat or cold sources throwing off readings according to the ISO standard associated with this type of equipment 
  • Be wary of weather and changes in climate as the device will need time to acclimatise – in order for readings to be clear individuals coming in from outside must wait five minutes before being screened 
  • When mounted, the camera must face individuals head-on and in parallel with their face to capture the inner eye area which is crucial for temperature reading
  • Consider an option using AI which will automatically recognise individuals based on photos in the system 
  • Check applicability and legality of temperature screening cameras before deploying

There’s a long way to go before life will fully return to normal. In the meantime, and to help everyone along the way, it’s essential that the right measures are in place to protect the physical and mental wellbeing of those we are responsible for. For anyone who is exploring options, know that there is help out there to provide guidance and expertise on the solutions that will be right for you and your business - now, as we go through the remainder of lockdown, and as we slowly move back into everyday lives. 

Neil Patel, Director European Marketing and Business Development

A highly-regarded voice in the networking industry, Neil Patel has spearheaded D-Link's European Marketing and Business Development for nearly a decade.