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What changes may occur in onboard security after COVID-19

What changes may occur in onboard security after COVID-19
Existing technology is useful, but new products may be on the way.
As the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc across the world, air traffic was one of the first segments to take a hit. Some of the largest airlines, like Emirates and Etihad, had to ground most or all flights as demand fell rapidly. But as the crisis begins to ease and governments trying to find exit strategies from lockdowns, airlines are looking to get their aircraft back where they belong.

Some airlines have started with testing the passengers for infection before they board. Of course, a lot of measures can be taken only on the ground, but some onboard solutions could also be useful.

Analytics and IoT to the front

Jermaine Santoya,
Industry Marketing Manager, Genetec

One of the key sectors within security that is set to gain more interest after COVID-19 is analytics. This could be the case with onboard solutions as customers look to leverage their existing solutions to deal with new problems.

Jermaine Santoya, Industry Marketing Manager at Genetec, explained that while analytic solutions like temperature monitoring could be more popular at the transit stations, onboard solutions that provide information on who was on a bus at what time may become widespread.

“On top of that, because of the advent of IoT sensors and how popular they are, we don’t know what more innovative solutions companies would come up within a year or so,” Santoya added.

Cameras and thermal Imaging Solutions

Like many organizations across the world, airports and other transportation companies are looking toward thermal imaging technology to keep essential workers safe and operations up and running, while at the same time reducing the risk of spreading the infection.  And these technologies will help businesses re-open using automation and without the need to hire additional personnel, which, following this crisis, most will not be in a position to do.  

“We have collaborated with Californian-based company, Seek Thermal, to develop a new self- and continuous calibrating thermal imaging camera, which is now available as an off-the-shelf integration to eFusion, with the camera ready for shipping next month,” said Lee Copland, Managing Director for EMEA at Maxxess Systems. “The camera is compact and works fast enough for most small to medium traffic applications without causing bottlenecks.  Staff and contractors simply stop and stand still for just 1-2 seconds while the camera takes readings from the hottest points of the face, which makes it far more accurate and straightforward for operators to respond than implementing cameras that measure subjects on the move.”  

And while thermal imagining is likely to help businesses get back up and running faster while mitigating risk, the same is true for the AI solutions available through surveillance and VMS. AI can automate monitoring of staff and passenger social distancing, reduce queues at check-in and passport control, or limit occupancy within arrivals and departure halls. It removes the need to deploy additional workforce on the ground.

“Transportation operators are also looking at solutions to ensure hygiene standards,” Copland said. “As a result, we’re also looking at integrating hand scanners that use technology to provide real-time feedback regarding handwashing before staff and contractors start their shifts and enter public space areas, board aircraft, or operate vehicles or machinery.”

Technology to ensure support

Transport providers are trying to strike a new balance in the way they work, minimizing person-to-person interaction while still providing safety and security across their networks,” said Glenn Farrant, CEO of CriticalArc. “They are looking for solutions that help get the balance right, for example, tools that let staff work remotely or at a greater distance.” 

For example, one major rail company has now provided all its transport officers with CriticalArc’s SafeZone app, giving employees a higher level of protection wherever they are on the network. The service is being used to ensure any calls for help are now responded to immediately, to track the changing positions of checked-in staff in real-time, and to coordinate rapid delivery of medical advice wherever needed.

By allowing staff on trains or at remote stations to keep in touch – exchanging updates and images, for example – the service is helping the network to keep operations running more safely. 
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