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Creating a Safer Workplace During COVID-19 Using Computer Vision

AI is poised to be closer to us than ever before as humans are forced further apart.


As technology slowly infiltrated our lives, it was nearly universally done under a simple tagline: technology will bring us all closer together.

Now, in the age of COVID-19, technology has been tasked with a much greater purpose: keeping us all apart. We are all scrambling for technology that can help us stem the tide of the infection while simultaneously help us find a way to return to productivity and prosperity. And AI technology is leading the charge, helping us all work smarter and safer during uncertain times.

There are several technologies at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19 which utilize key elements of computer vision technology, the ability for computers to create an automated understanding of sequences of images using AI, to help stop the spread.

Computer Vision Access Control

Touch-screen and many forms of biometric access are now being seen as unnecessarily risky during a pandemic, as trying to maintain proper cleaning and hygiene of these high-touch surfaces is nearly impossible. But the question of safe, secure access control remains a high-priority across many businesses and industries.

Thankfully, CPU’s and GPU’s have advanced to make rapid, touchless image recognition widely accessible. Using AI, the system is able to rapidly scan facial features from a safe distance to determine identity and access authorization. This not only eliminates the need for high-touch surfaces such as keypads and thumbprint scanners, it can also eliminate the need for face-to-face human security checkpoints, keeping security staff safer and more efficient.

Thermal Fever Detection Cameras

As offices and workplaces begin to re-open, everyone is scrambling to create guidelines for detecting people who may be infected, so they can be prevented from continuing to spread the virus within the space. A universal indicator is elevated temperature, however, checking temperatures of hundreds or even thousands of people by hand at places like airports, office buildings, and other high-volume locations is a nearly impossible and highly dangerous task.

Thankfully, there is a modern solution. AI software combined with thermal imaging cameras can process the temperatures thousands of people in seconds with zero physical contact. This means no long lines to get into the office, wasting time and money. It also produces faster, more accurate results.

Social Distancing Detection

A key failure point we have experienced when it comes to stemming the tide of the virus is proper social distancing. While we hope that we can trust people to adhere to the 6 foot distance, this can be difficult, especially as people begin to return to their old “normal” environments such as the office.

To combat this, several companies are currently using AI to utilize mobile phone cameras and other mobile technology to detect when people may be getting too close together. The algorithms determine the distance of people within the camera frame or the proximity of mobile devices to each other and can send an alert to remind people to step back, helping put an added level of peace-of-mind to businesses hoping to keep their staff safely distanced.

Sanitization Prioritization

Sanitizing high-traffic, high-use areas is key to helping stop the spread of the virus. By integrating AI technology into existing systems like security cameras and other devices, the algorithms can track which areas have been experiencing the most interaction and thus require the most immediate or frequent cleaning. This takes the guesswork out of maintaining a safe and healthy environment for customers and employees alike.

Face Mask Compliance

In addition to AI being able to track temperatures, help maintain social distance, and even ensure proper sanitation, there is one key element that scientists have stressed over and over again that is key to preventing the spread of the virus. That solution is 100% face mask compliance.

However, businesses are finding it difficult to ensure that employees and customers are properly adhering to this requirement, either not wearing masks at all or wearing them improperly. Thankfully, AI can yet again be your faster, sharper eyes, scanning and tracking every face to ensure proper compliance and alerting businesses and security to breeches.

Through AI, the important tasks necessary to create safer businesses and workspaces don’t have to come with the high-risks of putting employees at the front-line of enforcement. Instead, AI technology can allow us to start coming back together while keeping us safely apart.

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