Page 58 - Security Today, January/February 2021
P. 58

can train cameras to recognize whatever we need them to see. Today, it masks, but tomor- row it could be something else.
As schools and businesses seek to bring people back to brick and mortar establish- ments, it’s going to be important to make customers, students and teachers feel com- fortable, in addition to simply following guidelines. Customers will have to feel that it’s worth going out, versus shopping on-line. For many, that comfort might in part be derived from visible occupancy monitoring efforts and automated voice-down messages when people aren’t wearing masks or keeping their distance. Being proactive and visible in our efforts to protect one another can reduce anxieties and help everyone be mindful and adopt good habits.
We’ve seen how some businesses have closed all entrances but one and stationed employees outside the store to screen and count customers wishing to come inside. It is a costly use of employee resources, it risks con- frontation, the counting can be highly inaccu- rate, and it doesn’t exactly welcome people with open arms. Businesses which offer online services have even less traffic, so having an employee screening the few people who still require walk-in services is a poor use of their limited resources. Having multiple entrances at the premises only compounds the problem.
Schools are particularly challenging, since the density of students in any particular area can be hard to manage. It could be easy to overload any mask detection system, which could result in continuous voice alerts that eventually get ignored and not taken seri- ously by students and staff alike. Successfully using technology to help enforce guidelines has to be well thought out and can only be only one part of a comprehensive plan for K-12 and higher education.
How can the latest security technology be used to help campuses remain open?
Keeping people mindful of good habits is one of the most important things we can do when it comes to reducing risk of infection. The latest AI-based cameras can detect masks and count people entering and exiting premises from multiple entry points.
They can drive displays and play messages to proactively inform customers, students and staff about current occupancy levels and whether they should enter or wait. This frees staff from screening and counting duties, and most importantly, it reduces friction between employees and customers concerning policy compliance. Having a “voice from above”
asking people to wear a mask helps to remove the burden from staff.
At minimum, it provides an alternative focus for any customer frustration. All of this can be achieved “on the edge” without com- plicated servers and extra equipment. These new cameras are the smartest and most capa- ble we have ever seen. Their ability to be updated and evolve over time makes them especially attractive as an investment with the potential to pay for itself many times over during its service life.
Previously, counting people with cameras required a dedicated camera facing down- wards to count people’s heads. This meant that the camera was only useful for that one task. The latest AI cameras can be mounted in a traditional way that views the torso and face. They can accurately count people for occupancy and social distancing, detect masks, and be useful for surveillance all at the same time.
Smart Tech Investments Should Pay Dividends in a Post-pandemic World
With businesses, schools and hospitals struggling to allocate their limited budgets responsibly, it’s imperative that any expenses serve their long-term needs. Whenever pos- sible, technology investments should support multiple uses. Any security technology deployed for the pandemic needs to be visi-
ble and immediately effective to help people to do the right thing.
After the immediate threat from COVID- 19 is gone, cameras and supporting infra- structure can continue to evolve to support operations and business intelligence needs beyond pure surveillance. Modern IP-based cameras offer much more than simply record- ing video. These comprehensive IoT sensors, coupled with a capable VMS, can be used to measure and analyze buying patterns and operations flow. They can be tied to POS sys- tems and marketing tools. They are continu- ally evolving to be an indispensable part of operational intelligence for any organization.
Like our smartphones, apps can be devel- oped to address specific needs when they arise. If another pandemic occurs, these devices can be ready to adapt by providing touchless access for staff and again remind- ing people of their responsibilities. They may even help with contact tracing by generating reports about exposure to people who have become ill.
As bad as this pandemic has been, it is important to remember that some good tools have come out of it that will help campuses get back to some semblance of normalcy in the months ahead.
KiChul (KC) Kim is the president of Hanwha Techwin America.
Drazen Zigic/

   56   57   58   59   60