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How automation technology can help in COVID-19 management

COVID-19, that has taken the world by a storm, has posed a great challenge to the country as well as business leaders. With the pandemic still looming large, businesses and establishments have undergone many changes, business meetings have gone virtual, education has now turned to online learning and work-from-home has become a new normal for the corporates.

In more ways than one, the pandemic has affected businesses around the world drastically with massive changes in place. However, no matter how grave the situation is, we need to make ourselves agile and adaptable to the changes and bring the best out of what we have right now.

Just as business operations and education have adapted to the new normal by resorting to video conferencing and online learning, many other establishments including, both government and private, are pondering over ways to boost the economy while tackling the social as well as health impact of COVID-19.

Therefore, innovation and improvisation in the existing technology and its appropriate deployment is the need of the hour. Aided by automation technology, enterprises can tackle the pandemic in an effective and cost-efficient manner and reduce the risk of local outbreaks.

Mitigating COVID-19 risk

There was a time when automation technology was a term confined to manufacturing units where large-scale, labour-intensive manufacturing processes take place.

However, now the need has risen to reduce human contact during day-to-day operations and devise innovative ways that require the least possible human intervention to reduce infection risk and prevent any local outbreak at any given point of time.

Therefore, innovative and scalable solutions in automation technology are deemed to be useful in mitigating COVID-19 risk and manage infectious diseases at the local level.


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Temperature recognition devices to screen individuals

Even before this pandemic broke out, many enterprises had switched to tools like biometric attendance devices, access control devices, facial recognition systems, etc. to record attendance, control access and screen the incoming individuals at their premises.

However, now to control a situation like COVID-19, AI-based devices like temperature screening terminals and smart video analytics can be used to check and control the crowd for elevated body temperature, absence of face covering, etc.

Since we know that elevated body temperature (fever) is one of the major symptoms of COVID-19, this parameter can be used to isolate suspected individuals from the healthier ones.

Smart video analytics to ensure compliance of face mask order

Keeping an eye on every individual for face mask order compliance manually is a herculean task and thus can lead to lapses that can be detrimental to public health, given the current situation. In such a scenario, artificial intelligence plays a crucial role.

Security and surveillance systems including thermal cameras can be equipped with a smart video management software that can be programmed to detect special events like lack of face mask and raising of an alarm to alert the authorities. It can also generate snapshots and facial recognition technique can be further used to retrieve identity of the defaulters and generate a challan.

Such kind of automation technology can be deployed at public places that receive heavy footfall like railway stations, airports, shopping malls, bus depots, etc. to prevent any further outbreak. It not only detects defaulters more efficiently but also reduces the dependence on manual workforce and facilitates better utilisation of existing resources.

Smart video analytics to ensure social distancing

Smart video analytics can play a major role in containing this pandemic and in ensuring social distancing at public places. Both public and private organisations and setups must swiftly evolve their safety standards by deploying AI-powered smart video analytics in their premises to prevent any local outbreak and to ensure compliance with new preventive measures devised by the government.

Smart video analytics present a cost-effective, feasible and robust solution to keep social distancing in place in areas that are heavily crowded. It enables proactive and real-time response to social distancing violation by raising instant alarms when the norms are violated. Notifications are sent to controlling authority when people get too close to each other beyond the permissible limits.


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Smart access control devices to prevent local outbreak

AI-powered devices like temperature screening terminals and access control systems can be installed at offices, industrial setups, public places, libraries, schools, etc. to restrict access to people who are not following the face mask order or those who have elevated body temperature.

Such devices are equipped with temperature detection (IR Technology), fever warning, and mask detection to restrict entry to certain individuals at a premise.

As the world grapples with COVID-19 that is expected to stay with us for more time, every ounce of effort counts, be it on technological level, community or individual level. Every measure brings us one step closer to overcoming this challenge or at least equips us to handle it in a better way.

We are also inspired and motivated by so many organisations deploying technology and AI in myriad ways to address the pandemic. We are hopeful that by working together and by contriving all the resources at hand, we can find new ways to contribute in the fight against the pandemic.

(Edited by Javed Gaihlot)

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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