In these times of social distancing, it's more important than ever to have a visual on your manufacturing floor, retail shop, office environment and so on. Businesses are creating their return-to-work strategy and should include the ability to monitor employees, clients and customers to ensure proper social distancing is being followed, as well as have the ability for contact tracing. AI-powered Computer Vision is the solution many businesses are adopting to get real-time information about the health and safety of customers and employees.
What is Computer Vision?
Computer Vision (CV) is a technology to help computers "see" and understand the environment around them. Through the use of cameras, videos and photos, CV technology can identify surrounding objects and make intelligent interpretations about them. In the context of this blog post, Computer Vision is used to view a video stream, identify humans and interpret if those humans are closer than 6 feet apart, if they wearing proper PPE equipment like masks or gloves, or who they've been in contact with.
Computer Vision for Social Distancing
Social distancing is one of the most important steps to slowing the spread of a virus. With the risk of asymptomatic people infecting others, wearing proper PPE and maintaining a distance of six feet apart is sometimes the only measures that can be taken. If these two steps are followed, the risk of spreading a virus drops by 50%. If one asymptomatic person who has contracted a virus goes to work in a factory of 1,000 people and follows proper procedures, there is a drastic reduction in chance that they will infect anyone else. To ensure everyone is following these procedures, businesses need to be constantly monitoring the area. This is where Computer Vision comes in.
Large manufacturers and essential businesses that have been required to stay open must put the health and safety of their workforce as a top priority. Existing security cameras monitoring these businesses can be easily equipped with computer vision technology to actively monitor whether employees are staying six feet apart, that they're wearing proper PPE and that no unusual behavior is taking place.
On the other hand, restaurants, retailers and the like have been shut down for months and governments are just starting to share guidelines on how to reopen. These guidelines often include a strict limited percentage of people allowed in a space at a single time and the enforcement of social distancing. Computer Vision is a powerful solution for these business as well to ensure regulations are followed.
Computer Vision for Contact Tracing
Contact tracing is a serious objective for the health and safety of the public. In the case of the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic, the need to trace the whereabouts of infected people once they've tested positive is important to stop the spread. Without intelligent Computer Vision, authorities are left with reviewing hours of static video footage or manually interviewing anyone who might have been in contact with the infected. Computer Vision can provide this information immediately.
Data is critical to getting back to work and ensuring health and safety. The vision systems can provide valuable data on number of violations, timeline of those violations and any patterns to help business leaders make decisions on enforcement or adjusting processes and protocols.
Computer Vision with Thermal Scanning
Thermal scanning is another way to reduce the spread of the a virus like COVID-19. A high fever can be an indicator that someone is infected and therefore contagious. Cameras outfitted with thermal detection can identify persons with high temperatures. The intelligent technology can then alert management to take proper action.