Temperature checking solutions for the post-COVID world…
01 September 2020
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As lockdown gradually lifts and life slowly adapts to the ‘new normal’ of social distancing and enhanced levels of hygiene and symptom awareness, the use of temperature checking devices is becoming increasingly common.
This interview was originally featured in the September 2020 issue of EPDT magazine [read the digital issue]. Sign up to receive your own copy each month.
EPDT Editor, Mark Gradwell talks to Tony Large, Technical Director at UK-based display solutions provider, Crystal Display Systems (CDS) to find out more about how CDS have introduced a new product to their range that it hopes will help give some reassurance to workplaces, as well as public spaces, such as shops and leisure venues.
Apparently, usage of temperature checking devices has increased by tenfold since the outbreak of coronavirus. For example, Amazon has been using thermal cameras to check the temperature of over 100,000 employees per day at its warehouses since the beginning of April. In February, one of the largest case studies on coronavirus symptoms, conducted by WHO (the World Health Organization) and involving 56,000 laboratory-confirmed patients, proved that over 88% developed fever as a symptom – 20% more than symptoms of coughing and shortness of breath. WHO heavily encourages early screening procedures, such as temperature checks, in order to help detect symptomatic patients and reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus. In these troubled times, customers and employees are counting on their employers, stores and venues to look out for their safety.
Developed in response to requests from customers, the newly launched CheckVue TAURI temperature sensing tablet is a partnership between Hong Kong-based leading manufacturer of Android kiosk solutions, Glory Star and UK-based value-added distributor, CDS. As an adaptation of CDS’ existing range of commercial/industrial tablet devices, with the addition of a thermal imaging camera system to monitor the temperature of staff and visitors, it is designed for workplaces, gyms, restaurants and bars, retail stores and more to help minimise infection and maximise safety as normal life begins to resume.
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Technical Director at CDS, Tony Large observed: “Uptake has probably been the biggest we’ve ever had on any product launch. We’re selling quite a few to existing CDS customers, but also to many new customers, particularly in office and public environments, such as retail. Plus, there’s a lot of international interest.”
The system is designed to be simple and intuitive to operate. Effectively a standalone automated system, for self-verification on entry to a premises, it measures body temperature and informs the user of the result visually on the screen, alongside an image of the user and a thermal map from the camera. No physical contact is necessary. In the event of the temperature threshold being exceeded, an on screen message is displayed to deny access, and an audio alert is activated.
Large said: “I went to visit a local manufacturing facility – my first customer visit since lockdown – because they wanted to place a tablet on every external door of their premises. The main reason this product was so attractive to them was its simplicity and practicality – you don’t need a person to run it. Previously, this company was using an infrared camera on a tripod, connected to a laptop, with a person standing there to operate the system and check the temperature of each employee.”
Coupled with its simple app and locked down operating system, the system provides a zero contact ‘out of the box’ automatic temperature sensing system, offering a first line of defence to increase hygiene and safety. It can check a person’s body temperature in under three seconds and within three feet of the screen using advanced and reliable German-made infrared sensing technology. As Large pointed out, many factory or office workers are happy to see such systems installed in their workplaces – helping give them reassurance that they are ‘COVID-secure’ as they return to work.
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Large also explained that he anticipates such systems will remain a feature, even post-lockdown: “Like Perspex screens in retail, I can’t see these systems going anywhere in the immediate future. Even as we start to get the COVID-19 crisis under control, I think society will have to adjust to a ‘new normal’, with heightened levels of awareness and concern regarding infection, hygiene and symptoms – both for potential future pandemics, but also for more regular seasonal flu outbreaks, for instance. The cost of a shutdown on a production line in a factory is substantial – so it makes sense to try and manage and minimise these risks.”
As interest in and demand for such systems has grown, the market has been flooded with poor quality solutions – sometimes at a correspondingly low price, but also sometimes at inflated prices. This is where CDS can add value, Large asserts: “We have the experience and expertise to provide a reliable, high-quality solution, working with an established and proven supplier – and offering local support. We tested several of these temperature sensing solutions to ensure our offering was best-in-class – and we found most to be low quality mass-produced consumer products, with significant accuracy and reliability shortcomings when deployed in an industrial or commercial setting. With our direct link to the manufacturer, CDS is able to listen to customer feedback and requests, then work with Glory Star to improve the product, adding new features and functionality.”
New features and optional functionality coming to the system soon (via over-the-air updates) include: dual monitor display; face detection and facial recognition (including mask detection); the ability to add staff profiles; customisable screen saver content; data logging, email alerts, capacity counting and cloud-based reporting; an API (application programming interface), allowing customers to pull data out of the system for third party integration; and a relay output, capable of operating door entry and access control systems, including lights or alarms.
As some of these new features become available, Large thinks adoption will ramp up even more, with the systems potentially being integrated into kiosks in facility reception areas: “We are seeing interest from companies who want to provide all-in-one self-service stations for visitors that combine sanitisation, temperature checking, security talkback, sign-in and badge printing, for example.” This type of enterprise-focused turnkey temperature-scanning solution can help companies manage safe and secure admittance into their premises – providing not just a short term solution during the current pandemic, but rather one that will help them protect their employees and business for years to come.
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