Using Video Management Technology for Safe Reopening During the Pandemic

As states reopen businesses in phases, and employees return to work in different ways, companies are faced with new challenges beyond security to protect workers during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

With open platform video management software (VMS), offices and campuses can quickly pivot to create a solution within the framework of their existing security installation. An open platform enables the integration of video applications and other devices needed for returning to work or school, including:

  • temperature detection
  • social distancing detection
  • touchless access control
  • tracking technologies

Temperature Detection

According to the federal government and the CDC, employers should screen and monitor their workforce for indications of coronavirus symptoms, such as an elevated body temperature (EBT).

Although thermal imaging cameras cannot detect or diagnose the coronavirus itself, they can detect indicators for elevated body temperature that provide a data point for further evaluation and action. Non-contact infrared thermometers also can screen or monitor individuals for potential elevated skin temperatures.

However, these measurements do not reflect an exact body temperature. When detection occurs through screening, verification is needed. The recommended process after the alert is to send that person through a standard medical assessment process.

Walmart and Amazon are now using non-contact infrared thermometers to check employees’ temperatures before they enter facilities. To ensure an accurate reading, General Motors is using medical-grade thermometers to double-check any thermal scans that are above a specified temperature.

A process must be set and adapted for each campus, to ensure they are able to identify those at risk and address it, along with making sure those within the facility remain safe.

Social Distancing Technology

Using video analytics, organizations can employ crowd detection and people counting technologies to maintain social distancing requirements. By leveraging new technologies, organizations can set specific parameters in their VMS that trigger alarms.

To adhere to new occupancy requirements, people counting analytics can provide real-time alerts about how many persons are inside a building or space and send notifications for employees, managers, administrators, clinicians, patients, students, customers and visitors. Crowding can be avoided or at least alerted for rectification.

Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Florida, had deployed network video cameras in every patient room to provide an additional level of monitoring beyond nurses and clinical staff. When social distancing became a requirement, the hospital used its Milestone VMS technology to quickly develop innovative care for inpatient virtual rounds.

Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, medical staff at Nemours would conduct daily patient rounds in the hallways. This allowed a large team of up to 14 allied healthcare staff and parents to discuss a patient’s condition and coordinate a plan of care.

Nemours set an alert limit of three people per “hallway team,” while other members participate remotely through a mobile app. This new system has helped save on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and reduced direct contact with patients.

Touchless Access Control

An open platform VMS can easily combine video surveillance and access systems to deploy touchless access control. This combination allows security operators to manage their facility access based on historical statistics or real-time information with video analytics for people counting and social distancing, etc.

Using real-time crowd or occupancy data, operators can remotely close, open, or lock doors, entry turnstiles or gate and road barriers. To safely monitor buildings or locations, robots and drones equipped with input and output devices can provide live video and bi-directional audio fed back to the video management platform and accessible to analytic processing.

When access is granted, electronic motorized door opening systems are ideal touchless systems. Other good options include facial recognition, QR code scanning via mobile phone or using the video management mobile app to open the doors through wireless technologies.

Many organizations already have technology in place for hands-free access control. Dick Hannah Dealerships, one of the largest automobile groups in the Pacific Northwest, integrated their access control system with Milestone open platform VMS. Touchless Bluetooth card readers let employees use their smartphones to unlock doors and get card credentials while the video management platform backs up the process with video verification.

Tracking Technologies

If government health staff conduct contact tracing for an employee who may be suspected or confirmed as having COVID-19, a combined VMS and access control system may aid in tracing cardholders across a facility.

Facial recognition applications may help to identify people with whom the infected person had close contact. Within minutes, recorded video from all cameras in the system can be scanned using the infected person’s photo.

By leveraging the power of the open platform, employers who have a video management system deployed can protect the health and well-being of their employees while safely getting everyone back to work.

By Brad Eck, Community Management Program Owner for Milestone Systems in the Americas.

Read the full article on the Campus Safety website. It appeared on July 1, 2o20.