In the fight to contain this pandemic, countries around the world are trialling various ways to spot the main symptoms of the virus in people. Technology advancements have provided quite a few new solutions but, in the workplace, there is one, in particular, we find really interesting. Paired with this element of a building, which could be seen as the first checkpoint in the workplace, it could provide a fast defence to the spread of the virus. We are speaking about speed lanes and fever detection.
You may also be interested in our return to the office post-lockdown two-part article here:
- Return to the office post-COVID-19: tips to do it safely – The property managers’ view
- Back to the Office? Managing Social Distancing at Work – The occupiers’ view
Airports started it; we can pick it up from there
The NHS website provides a guide on how to check if you have contracted the virus. High temperature and a continuous, dry cough are listed as being the two main symptoms to look out for. In the past few months, newspapers have been reporting news of international airports implementing screening systems to detect fever. These new measures are aimed at preventing those exhibiting the well-known symptoms from getting through. The systems have ranged from simple thermometer guns to more advanced thermal scanners. Thermal cameras are not a new phenomenon, they’ve been used in the past when SARS and other flu epidemic have threatened public health in order to identify travellers who showed signs of a fever.
Fever detection technology is subject to international standards (i.e. ISO and IEC) which set the rules for measures to be reputedly reliable (IPVM, World IEC standards explained). These include:
- The inner eye is the safest area as the one showing the most stable measures of a fever
- Faces must be parallel to the camera, free of any elements which may impede visibility, and a minimum surface of the face needs to be scanned
- Scan one person at a time and not a group of people
- Confirmation through a secondary clinical thermometer is required to confirm fever
- Thermal screening needs to happen indoors as external condition may affect readings
However, these standards were released in 2017. This makes some of the requirements obsolete in the face of new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI).
How can thermal detection and speed lanes work together?
If you are getting ready to return to the office, one thing COVID-19 has thought us is that we need to be prepared. Identifying early signs before the virus spreads is essential to managing the risk. As speed lanes are the first indoor checkpoints of an office building, enabling them with a smart fever detection system could prove to be a step in the right direction for implementing safety measures.
Taking into account AI, thermal detection cameras integrated with speed lanes could unobtrusively scan large numbers of people from a short distance. There would be no need for human interaction at the access points of the building, as AI would automate the process. At the same time, AI could immediately notify a responsible figure of any irregularity, to enable a proactive follow-up to the first scan and to set in motion the necessary steps to contain any further transmission.
Fever detection and speed lanes: are they a good match in aiding prevention?
We believe so. What is clear is that thermal detection gives a measure of reassurance. This technology provides one line of defence, even though it cannot claim to be 100% accurate – highlighting people with the flu alongside those who are displaying symptoms of Covid-19. However, it helps to reduce the uncontrolled spread of the virus as fever detection can quickly identify potential cases who can be promptly tested.
Smart Spaces can help you prepare your return to the office
As a landlord or property manager, the steps to prepare your portfolio for a safe return to the office can look daunting. We are here to help you make it possible.
We understand your existing building management system capabilities and offer you a tailored answer to make this challenging time as frictionless and effective as possible. Our integrated platform not only provides touch-free solutions to access your buildings, but it also gathers to your data needs with real-time insight and reporting to support you in your decision making.