IT Focus Area: digital
May 29, 2020
Protecting Your Business with Thermal Imaging
As countries around the world begin to re-open, companies are faced with an unprecedented challenge: finding an effective and discreet way to ensure and maintain a safe work environment for their employees and customers.
And, not surprisingly, many are considering the role of technology in meeting this challenge.
Thermal imaging and safe-workplace initiatives
One way that technology can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases is by helping to identify those who might be sick.
It’s possible to use infrared thermometers and advanced thermal imaging technology to detect elevated temperatures in people who may be presenting a core body temperature outside the norm. This technology can also be used to maintain a safe distance while triaging larger groups of employees as they enter, depart or move within an organization’s facilities each day.
When appropriately used as part of a safe-workplace initiative, these advanced solutions can minimize the spread of disease and help reduce costs associated with employee illness and anxiety-related absenteeism.
These measures also communicate an organization’s desire to take appropriate steps to protect employees and customers from the consequences of these invisible threats.
Why thermal imaging technology?
Elevated body temperature is a common symptom of those infected with the COVID-19 virus. As such, non-contact thermal imaging solutions and technology have become a very popular choice for companies looking to identify and reduce the spread of infectious disease in the workplace.
While manually monitoring the temperature of every individual entering a building is labor-intensive and can create dangerous bottlenecks at building entrances and exits, modern thermal imaging solutions enabled by IoT Smart Space technologies can help.
Modern infrared thermometers and thermal imaging technology make it easy to identify employees and visitors who exhibit elevated temperature or fever symptoms. Remote and non-contact thermal detection technology is fast, safe, and provides clear documentation to support the follow-on measures needed to mitigate the spread of infectious disease.
These solutions can also help employees understand the reason for follow-on procedures, such as additional temperature measurements, further questioning, procedures to isolate/quarantine, and denial of access to the workplace.
How do thermal imaging solutions work?
Autonomous screening systems can be used to accurately detect the temperatures of individuals in high-traffic areas quickly and efficiently. These solutions—flexible enough to be deployed to one or hundreds of locations—can be easily mounted to an entrance wall or cart to meet any business’ entry-point needs.
While these solutions cannot identify or diagnose any one person with an illness, workplaces of all sizes from airports to factories, concert venues and even office buildings can use these thermal imaging solutions to non-invasively screen workers, customers or visitors for elevated body temperatures.
Revisiting the past
This non-invasive technology has actually been used for years to identify and reduce the spread of disease in humans, animals and the food we eat. In fact, most have already benefited from this technology at home or during medical visits with little or no inconvenience.
Important uses of thermal imaging and related infrared technologies include the night vision features found in particular types of binoculars/scopes and specially equipped cars. Notably advanced and exotic uses include aerial sensing systems for archeology, high-speed mapping for architects and designers, infrared detection for security systems, and even detailed motion detection and tracking for advanced use cases in hospitals and corporate facilities.
Infrared thermometer technology, thermal imaging and related infrared technologies are key components of temperature measurement and fever detection solutions.
As with temperature measurement, thermal imaging and related infrared technologies have made substantial improvements in accuracy and performance.
Finding the right thermal imaging solution
Thermal imaging solutions consist of a wide range of components and configurations with a wide range of capabilities, and these solutions are priced accordingly. Not surprisingly, as performance, accuracy and integration capacity increase, so does price.
Selecting the right thermal imaging solution can be an overwhelming process. It requires navigating a jungle of technology, vendor and solution choices, while being thoughtful of relevant legal and medical considerations.
Further, it can be challenging to find a single solution or technology that works for every corporate office and location. For example, some corporate facilities may be staffed by hundreds or thousands of employees, while other facilities may have less than ten.
There are a variety of high-quality solutions on the market. Selecting the right one for your organization first requires a clear assessment of your business and its needs.
When you’re considering a thermal imaging solution, assess your business’s:
- Structure: Do you need a solution that is built into your organization at every level?
- Resources: Do you need a solution that is administered or one that monitors customers and employees autonomously?
- Facility details: Where are the primary entry and exit points in your facility?
- Goals: If your goal is to mitigate risk through thermal imaging, define your process in the event of an elevated temperature alert.
Selecting a thermal imaging solution requires expertise
Choosing the right thermal imaging solution for your business requires a detailed understanding of temperature measurement and thermal imaging technology. Without technical expertise, a solution evaluation can easily become bogged down in a complex comparison of puzzling, and seemingly nebulous features, engineering terms and scientific variables.
An informed decision must include a reasonable understanding of engineering terminology and the underlying elements of the science, including energy detection, emissivity, blackbody radiation, response time, wavelength transmission windows, etc., as well as a conceptual understanding of the hardware and software technology that is used for data collection and processing.
If your organization is in need of this type of expertise, a thoughtful and experienced technology integration consultant can help.