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A New Normal: Thermal Screening and Video Walls

May 19, 2020 3:20:30 PM

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As businesses and organizations start to re-open during this time of recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, health screening will become a part of daily life for many. In particular, thermal screening for fever is becoming ubiquitous in lobbies and entryways around the world. This is something Hiperwall has been used for, even over a decade ago at the Brussels Airport. During the H1N1 “swine flu” epidemic, authorities wanted a way to look for fever, so they installed a Hiperwall-based video wall along a moving walkway and placed thermal cameras to watch the people on the walkways. By showing the thermal imagery captured by the camera, people were put at ease, often waving and showing off. The installation was as much art exhibit as it was a health monitoring tool.

 

This practice of involving the people being scanned in a non-threatening way will be important to keeping your employees, customers, and visitors comfortable as they enter your business. There are many examples on the news showing a guard with a thermal sensor gun pointing it at employees’ heads as they enter. That can make the employees and visitors feel uncomfortable and unwelcome and nervous. While the goal of keeping employees and guests safe is paramount, involving them in an intriguing was will make everyone more comfortable. A video wall as part of your thermal sensing system can help with that.

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Lobby video walls are common in many businesses and organizations for corporate communications and engagement with visitors and employees. They are large enough that their contents can be seen from a distance, yet can show multiple content items with animations and schedules to keep the interest of anyone watching. By adding the feeds from one or more thermal cameras to the lobby video wall, people can see exactly what the camera is seeing of them and it will make them aware of the situation. It will show if anyone is particularly hot, thus perhaps having a fever, but it will also show exactly how close others are. This will make people consider their physical distance from each other, so they can adjust their positions to be safer. In essence, you are engaging employees and visitors in the process of scanning them and making them safe, so they will feel that they are part of the solution, not passive parts of the problem.

In addition to showing thermal camera feeds, the video wall makes it easy to show other content simultaneously. Content like safety guidelines, welcome messages, promotional material, and more can be shown alongside (or over or under) the thermal camera feeds. This amazing flexibility that a video wall provides will remain useful and valuable even after the current crisis subsides and will be ready for any future issues that arise.

Configuring a video wall to support thermal cameras is generally straightforward. Good thermal cameras that are precise enough to detect fever are expensive, ranging from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands. Many such cameras are IP cameras, thus can use HiperSource IP Streams to send their content to the Hiperwall video wall. Other cameras have an HDMI output or USB connection for video. They can be captured using HiperSource Streamer and shown on the video wall. Then they and other content can be displayed to visitors and employees as they enter or leave.

In summary, showing employees and visitors what they look like in the thermal screening process will help them engage with safety measures, so they feel part of the solution. Using a video wall to show thermal camera feeds along with other information, including corporate communications, health and safety notices, and more, is an obvious and flexible solution, now and in the future.

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