Is Temperature Monitoring the New Post-coronavirus Normal?

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As the world continues to battle COVID-19, which has infected more than 5 million people globally and resulted in more than 300,000 deaths, governments, healthcare organizations, and businesses are formulating new strategies for containing the virus.  Ultimately, the idea is the be able to lift many of the restrictions that have kept people at home and many businesses closed for two months or longer, without significantly increasing risk of a second wave of outbreaks.

One of the common measures being considered by many types of organizations – from businesses to sports organizations to transportation systems – is temperature monitoring.  Since fever is one of the key symptoms associated with COVID-19, the idea is that contactless thermometers can help quickly identify potential cases so individuals can be tested and quarantined, if necessary, and with contact tracing technology, identify others who may also be impacted.

The Kiosk Manufacturer Association, which comprises companies across the globe that develop kiosk and self-service solutions, believes that qualified testing is the first step in ensuring various industries and businesses or any size can open safely without re-raising the COVID-19 curve.

“We’ve seen a very large influx of requests for unattended self-service.  The human-machine-interface is becoming the preferred initial interface.  Until such time that nationwide testing data is available, I expect minimizing person-to-person exposure where possible is going to be a first priority.” 

Craig Keefner, manager, Kiosk Manufacturer Association (KMA)

While different solutions have different levels of accuracy and effectiveness, the KMA currently has more than 25 different solutions to help manage coronavirus spread.  Some of them are available at discounted rates – some even at no cost currently – to ensure organizations have access to the resources they need to start their operations safely.

Temperature sensing kiosks and digital signage, for instance, provide a dual-purpose technology to deliver information while also monitoring user condition, and have gotten a lot of interest, not surprisingly.  Executive Chairman Bob Iger recently indicated it’s one of the technologies Disney is considering as it crafts its theme park re-opening strategies. 

“Just as we now do bag checks for everybody who goes into our parks, it could be that at some point we add a component of that, which takes people’s temperatures.”

Bob Iger, Executive Chairman, The Walt Disney Company

Temperature sensing kiosks or digital signage have several benefits over other solutions.

  • Stop infection at the point of entry
  • Maintain a safe environment for workers and guests
  • Offer a hygienic solution by not requiring any physical contact
  • Does not require human resources for screening
  • Helps reduce anxiety for guests and employees, knowing the automated
  • High volume (some up to 1,500 people per hour)
  • High accuracy (some with error margin < 0.1 degree Fahrenheit)

Many believe a second wave is inevitable, while will likely keep large numbers of people from returning to their normal activities.  But, the more technology is able to identify potential cases quickly, and the more people follow simple health and safety protocols, the better our chances of beating a second wave quickly.   While many are concerned about privacy issues with some technologies, like contact tracing, non-invasive and anonymous solutions like automated temperature screening could boost public confidence faster.