Thinking of reopening business safely? IoT might be the missing link. COVID-19 has had a drastic transformational effect on just about everything. From schools to business to public services. Everything suddenly ground to a screeching halt. As the brakes were slammed on and people isolated at home. Soon, however, given our human nature to adapt, we started using alternative means to enable remote working and distance learning. This was made possible thanks to the wide reach and penetration of various ISPs like Spectrum internet.
However, as many fear that the pandemic may be a long-term thing, it is time to think about returning to work while prioritizing employee and client safety. This blog explores how IoT may present a viable solution.
The Problems With Reopening and How IoT Can Help
Most organizations are already in some phase of planning their back to work policies. But the practicalities concerning the way the virus spreads and how long it takes to display symptoms presents significant challenges. The obvious solution lies in prevention and precaution, but in that, a fool-proof operating procedure eludes us.
Parents need assurances that teachers and children are effectively protected by the virus. Similarly, employees and clients need to know the workplace is reasonably safe. Sure, you could put the usual social distancing and masks-only rules in place. But enforcing them can be problematic. IoT and networks of connected smart devices are a promising solution. Here’s how IoT or the Internet of Things might be able to help:
- Wearable IoT Devices Can Enforce Social Distancing
- Thermosensitive IoT Devices can Monitor Temperatures
- Facial Recognition Devices Replace In-Person Check-Ins
- IoT Devices Can Help Determine and Enforce Occupancy Rules
- On-Premises Employee and Client Tracking
Let’s examine these in more detail below.
IoT Devices Can Enforce Social Distancing
You’ve probably seen ads for mood rings or those quirky rings with a sensor that measures and transmits one wearer’s heartbeat to a similar ring with their significant other. Wearable tech isn’t exactly new. It can easily be adapted to our current needs during the COVID-19 crisis. One possible solution IoT presents is rings that vibrate or ring when they get too close to each other. In case two employees are closer than the accepted safe distance, the rings will alert them to reposition themselves. All business have to do is acquire as many as they need. The rings can be handed out at entry points. And collected at the end of the day. So you don’t have to constantly buy more rings.
Thermosensitive IoT Devices Can Monitor Temperatures
Slight fevers are usually a minor annoyance, but during COVID-19 the risk is too high to ignore. Higher than normal temperatures are a known symptom of COVID-19, and anyone in the workplace that has one should be sent home immediately. However, most business are restricted to deploying people to check each incoming employee’s temperature every day. While this works to detect high temperatures at points of entry, it is by no means foolproof.
People could slip by, the thermometer may not have been placed properly. That’s not to mention the risk the person taking temperature readings places themselves at. If infected, they could possibly pass on the virus to every incoming employee at that point of entry. IoT devices with thermosensitive capabilities can use sensors to monitor employee temperature safely, at multiple places in the building. Such devices can also be programmed to send alerts to building administration or security if an employee is exhibiting higher temperatures.
Facial Recognition Devices Replace In-Person Check-Ins
Facial recognition has been around for a long time. Primarily used for security. It can be found on many modern smartphones as a means to unlock the phone. In addition to a fingerprint scanner or a passcode. Many security and law enforcement organizations also use facial recognition to track and monitor suspicious activities and known criminals. Using facial recognition in the workplace as an alternative to checking in at a register or keycard reader has several advantages. It eliminates the need to have a person at in-person check-ins because if the person is infected. They could easily infect everyone else checking-in.
Facial recognition devices can also be used to track any infected employees and their movements. That includes identifying other employees who may have passed through the same checkpoint. With a greater need for safe access, it also makes sense that employees can gain contactless entry without touching any risky surfaces.
IoT Devices Can Help Determine and Enforce Occupancy Rules
Building occupancy rules have had to be altered drastically since the COVID-19 crisis. Every business operating indoors has to comply with the new regulations, keeping in mind the need for social distancing and mitigating the spread of the coronavirus. As a result, businesses have had to invest effort in ensuring they always have up to the maximum number of people in a building or store, and no more. Not doing so can easily result in a penalty, fine, or even temporary closure, not to mention an increased risk of contagion. IoT devices placed throughout your premises can count and monitor the number of people inside it in real-time. This helps you accurately know how many people are inside your store or building at the moment, and how many others can be safely allowed.
On-Premises Employee and Client Tracking
Contact tracing or tracking is one of the ways governments and organizations are trying to check the spread of COVID-19. The process involves gathering information such as location data on an infected individual and analyzing it to identify the people they may have come in contact with. These people can then be contacted and asked to isolate. While the tracking then commences with them as a starting point.
The same principle can be employed on-premises by businesses using IoT devices. These devices can monitor and track each individual in your business, letting you know who they came in contact with. For example, if a technician visiting your premises in a prompt response to a Spectrum Customer Service call (1-855-837-6837). You can monitor and track every staff member they came in contact with. That way, in case someone is infected. You can send just the ones at risk to isolate instead of your entire staff. This saves you a lot of inefficiency and downtime you would face with a blanket isolation policy.