Chris Potts, ANT Telecom marketing director, presents a case for the continued use of thermal imaging technologies in post-Covid-19 lockdown environments.
Recently the Government’s Events Research Programme (ERP) trialled live pilot events with spectators and punters to assess whether events can take place safely. This included the FA Cup Final, the Brit Awards and a rave in Liverpool, enjoyed by 3,000 party goers. Before and after these events, attendees were asked to take PCR and lateral flow tests – in total, only 15 people tested positive for COVID-19, as the government investigated how mass gatherings can resume safely. Clearly, with these results deemed such a success, the UK is eager to open again. However, Covid-19 remains the biggest issue of our time, and with only a handful of test events so far, combined with increasing infection rates, this raises questions about whether businesses are actually prepared to open up?
What is more, Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer has explained that the majority of experts believe that Covid-19 will not go away and that society will have to learn to live with and manage it in a similar way to the seasonal flu. So, even while the UK is broadly tracking towards lifting limits over July / August, it will have to learn how to manage ongoing risks associated with Covid-19. This means businesses will need to continue to demonstrate vigilance towards preventing the spread of disease among staff, customers and on-site visitors. But, aside from following government guidance, what preventative technologies can organisations use?
Thermal temperature monitoring flags high temperatures en masse
With England currently in step three on the Government’s roadmap, leisure and entertainment is starting to open up more. Pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants can serve customers indoors again and indoor entertainment (e.g. museums, cinemas and children’s play areas) can open, along with other forms of hospitality. As you can imagine, the potential for Covid-19 to spread in these situations remains a strong possibility, especially since it is here to stay. Therefore, despite any further plans for potentially opening up in July (or beyond), people continue to expect high levels of preventative safety protocols and look to organisations to protect them.
This is where thermal imaging technology can help. By using it within leisure and entertainment, companies can reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection, and instil confidence among guests and employees. Effectively, temperature monitoring cameras can be set up easily and quickly, using AI technology to accurately detect the temperature of multiple people entering a room at the same time. This makes thermal imaging ideal for scanning guests and staff before they enter a venue; which reduces the need for time-consuming individual temperature checking – all of which helps ensure that no one slips through the net when checking temperatures.
What is more, these kinds of technologies can also be used to detect how many people congregate at once within an area – or to check if masks are being worn, to help ensure government guidelines are being met now and, potentially, in the future. Aside from the benefits within hospitality, leisure and entertainment; this form of prevention can provide similar benefits in manufacturing and production environments, to ensure health and safety of staff on site and mitigate the possibility of a plant shut down due to an infection breakout.
Looking after lone workers
With social distancing and mask wearing likely to remain in place for some time, these conditions can make it challenging for employees to work effectively in some scenarios. For instance, many roles that previously required two employees, some delivery roles for example, have now been adapted for a single worker.
While adapting roles to suit individual workers can help with creating a Covid-secure workplace, it increases the number of lone workers which presents its own challenges. How can you ensure the safety of lone workers when they operate without colleague supervision? How can you maintain or improve productivity with a dispersed workforce operating independently? Companies need to deploy technology, such as integrated lone worker and communication devices – for example, Push to Talk over Cellular (PoC) or Digital Radio – to ensure that all employees are connected. Combined with panic buttons, tilt and no-motion sensors, and other comprehensive lone worker protection functions, users can benefit from these safety and communication elements all integrated into one tailored device. This is imperative for ensuring team morale, welfare, mental and physical health and personal safety. It can also help in especially noisy places like production environments.
The old adage ‘prevention is better than cure’ has never been more relevant. While testing is the only true way to evaluate people’s Covid-19 infection status, thermal imaging technologies can be used as part of a wider robust preventative strategy across all sectors, including hospitality and manufacturing scenarios to monitor for signs of Coronavirus. As the country makes preparations to live with restrictions and guidance around Covid-19 for some time to come, it’s more important than ever for companies to ensure all employees are connected, safe and able to communicate effectively, not just for business continuity but also for peace of mind for all.