How AI-Driven Visual Intelligence Can Help Us Get Back to Work

COVID Workplace

By Jeff Bransfield, National Sales Manager, RS2 Technologies

The world is dramatically different now than it was a mere three months ago, but there is light at the end of the tunnel as things are very slowly returning to normal.

With this slow climb back into normality and our return to work, there are a number of necessary changes to be made and our security operations teams may be affected more than most.

As a security operations leader, your team is going to be vital in bringing sites back online, and while you may be under-manned, technology can help you to fill the gaps and enhance your security operations to aid the mission.

Enhancing Protective Measures With AI

Arriving back to site for the first time is likely to be daunting for a number of people and your security operations team is likely to be one of their first encounters.

Many organizations have deployed temperature probes and thermal cameras to ensure that employees displaying signs of fever aren’t allowed onto site. In an ideal scenario, every entrance to a location would be manned or in some instances, traffic will be pushed to a central entrance in an effort to centralize ingress/egress points.

Access control software can help mitigate these efforts as security leaders can restrict access to all but a single area for entering a building, funnelling all visitors and employees through one entrance.  

Using AI can be helpful in the areas where people are entering, as AI-driven alerts are able to detect whether a person is wearing a mask or face shield and create an alert in the SOC to dispatch a guard (with PPE to give to the employee) to prevent possible transmission.

Social Distancing

Social distancing has become synonymous with COVID-19 and measures to ensure that everyone remains six feet apart while they’re working and moving around site. In situations where multiple entrances and exits are needed, visual intelligence becomes key.

AI-based video analytics are able to calculate and monitor the distance between objects within a video frame, so identifying employees and ensuring that they maintain the appropriate distance isn’t a difficult task.

The flexibility to deploy this technology across a wide range of cameras means that you can achieve efficient coverage and concentrate your security personnel in more strategic locations.  By doing this, you can more accurately control the environment of those personnel and reduce their risk of exposure.

Enhanced Communications

These are both key aspects of any return to work policy, as open and regular communication will ensure that all returning employees are aware of the changes and new policies being enforced, should they need to attend site.

Technology has a heavy role to play here, particularly in the communications space.  Proximity-based, mass communications have been present in the market for a number of years, a prime example being the Amber Alert system.

Private organizations also have these technologies, especially in industry or manufacturing realms, and a good use of this would be the automated delivery of the updated entry and exit procedures and policies for attending site, as soon as an employee or visitor arrived on location.

Mass communication systems can also be more targeted to specific locations, especially when integrated with the wireless infrastructure, and messages, alerts and updates can be disseminated with specific instructions as soon as someone enters that location. A reminder that PPE is necessary, or if there is a specific policy in place for that environment.

If you ally your mass communication system with video surveillance and AI, it may become the spine of your track and trace protocol, should you have a COVID-positive event. 

Being able to track a device through the location, and subsequently understand which devices it was in close proximity to will give your track and trace team valuable information to reduce potential risk, or additional contamination, far more reliably than relying on the human brain to remember who they’d been in contact with.

It also gives a much stronger, tailored response than a blanket notification to anyone on site that day. If you operate a multi-acre site, it is entirely possible that many employees or visitors didn’t go anywhere near the source of the infection.

One-way AI and Access Control

Another COVID risk reduction method is the implementation of one-way systems, both for entrances and exits, and also for general movement through the campus.

An intelligent access control system, combined with video analytics, can create an efficient solution, especially when door and turnstile manufacturers are integrating software products with leading video analytics vendors, such as AnyVision, to create a comprehensive access control solution.

The one-way systems for movement around a location may also be enforced with analytics highlighting Wrong Direction of Travel. This technology works by configuring a traffic flow direction within the field of view for a video, identifying objects that move through the field as human and then checking to see if the direction of travel of the object matches that of the software configuration.

Exceptions may be made in these scenarios based on AI; for example, a guard attending an incident or a member of the janitorial staff implementing the frequent deep clean policy that your organization has put in place.

Access control can play a significant role in allowing AI to drive decision-making and policy adherence within a facility, making it easier to control access to a building through certain instances, restricting access to a facility for those employees who have tested positive for COVID-19, or limiting how many people can be in a specific area at one time.

Taking it one step further, access control reporting can also be useful in identifying who was in a given area at one time, which can help with contact tracing measures in the event of disease.

Applying AI to video analytics, coupled with the power of access control and visitor management tools, will help businesses identify potential issues, manage the influx of employees and visitors, and aid in controlling the flow of traffic through a facility. 


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