By Ritesh Deokar, Country Manager, Milestone Systems India
Even as efforts to control the COVID19 pandemic intensify, the world is preparing to re-open economies and get back to business. Economies, jobs and livelihoods are in dire need of revival after the long pandemic-induced hiatus, but businesses and governments also have the unenviable task of ensuring public health safety.
Amidst all this, video technology solutions have emerged as one of the key tools for governments and businesses to ensure the safety of customers, employees and the general public.
Video’s key role in fighting the COVID19 pandemic Transportation
Video came to the aid early in the battle against COVID19. As the pandemic unfolded globally, immigration counters at airports were equipped with thermal cameras that helped screen passengers for COVID-related symptoms. Thermal imaging, which ensures that scanning is contactless and safe for both the tester and the tested, is now being adopted more widely around transportation. International Airports across nine Indian cities have installed thermal cameras and Indian Railways is rolling it out across more and more railway stations in India.
For healthcare providers and hospitals, video technology is providing safer alternatives for patient care and treatment. Tele-Kiosks for instance are facilitating video consultations with doctors, making contactless and distant consultation possible. These kiosks are connected to devices which can monitor vital signs such as blood pressure, oxygen saturation and temperature. This enables healthcare workers and doctors to remotely monitor COVID-infected patients, with fewer in-person touch points required.
This could also enable telemedicine for less critical patients so that resources in short supply such as hospital beds and PPE equipment can be saved for patients who need it more.
The threat of increased infection has made social distancing and crowd control mandatory in public places, shops, offices and business establishments; wherever there is potential for people to gather in large numbers. As businesses start to re-open, enforcing these measures will become even more of a challenge and virtually a tightrope walk between safety and sustenance. Video technology solutions, combined with an open platform Video Management Software, can help provide a feature-rich tech platform to tackle the challenges ahead. With advanced features such as heat mapping and occupancy statistics, crowd counting for public spaces within retail or private sectors, distancing detection and enforcement of one-way direction in retail outlets, businesses can ensure better compliance within safety measures.
With an open platform VMS, business owners will be able to regulate access from a centralized location and benefit from statistics and data gathered. An open platform VMS will also allow the integration of other devices such as audio, visual display systems and even mobile devices to help with challenging issues like crowd control. Drones and robots can also be integrated with the VMS to aid with social distancing measures on a much larger scale.
Data Privacy concerns must be addressed
With visual and other forms of data being increasingly collected through the adoption of video and other technologies, data privacy is a key concern for both businesses and individuals to watch out for. Businesses and governments must use the powers of technology responsibly as outlined in the guidelines of international legislation such as the GDPR and Milestone’s Copenhagen Letter.
With the increasing need for provisions such as contact tracing,The EY Future Consumer Index found that the public is now more receptive to make private information available if it’s for the greater good of the society. For example, millions of people in India have downloaded the Arogya Setu app to stop the spread of COVID-19 through community-driven contact tracing – even if that means having to constantly share their location with the App.
In Singapore, we found that eight in ten Singaporeans are receptive to the usage of video technology, such as thermal imagining cameras and crowd management video analytics, when underpinned by a health benefit.
Yet, there is still a significant portion of the population that is unfamiliar with the purpose and benefits of such solutions, and therefore greater public education of benefits, protection and privacy regulations are required to sustain the overall acceptance of video technology.
This shows that despite people’s willingness to part with private data for a greater common cause, businesses still have the responsibility to prioritize data protection and privacy as it emerges as a key tool, changing the ways we live and do business.
Innovation that ensures that businesses and governments can maximize the value add of data while respecting individual privacy and data protection regulations will be the way forward in our future.