Vodafone launches heat-sensing camera to protect workplaces during COVID-19

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Vodafone UK has released an IoT heat detection camera which it says will help people get back to work amid coronavirus.

The Heat Detection Camera combines thermal imaging and IoT connectivity to screen the temperature of people as they enter buildings.

Each camera can check the temperature of 100 people per minute, which is much faster than systems using handheld thermometers. Thermal images are streamed in real-time to a laptop or mobile device and analytics provide an instant “discreet alert” that a person may have a raised temperature.

Vodafone says these alerts should then be further investigated using standard clinical evaluation methods to determine whether any further action is necessary.  This includes testing with a medical-grade thermometer.

Real-time

The camera has been developed by surveillance tech company Digital Barriers. It incorporates both thermal and HD cameras that deliver real-time body temperature screening accurate to within 0.3 degrees Celsius. 

The company says it takes less than half a second to assess individual body temperatures. IoT connectivity supports standalone installation with no additional IT requirements.

Scott Petty, Chief Technology Officer, Vodafone UK, said,  “The Heat Detection Camera brings together Vodafone’s expertise in IoT with innovative technology and a secure managed service to create an enterprise-grade solution that protects employees and front-of-house staff. 

“Our IoT network can connect many cameras quickly and without disruption in almost any location; and our ongoing partnership with Digital Barriers provides reassurance that the underlying software and hardware is engineered to the highest standards.”

No silver bullet

Thermal sensing cameras are not a silver bullet for adapting to COVID-19, since infected people may not show any symptoms and the technology also raises some privacy concerns.

It is likely, though, that heat detection cameras will play an important role as part of a broader suite of measures. Several businesses have already begun trialling systems at workplaces, such as warehouses, as well as at airports, and manufacturers of the kit report soaring demand.