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Social distancing can be better enforced with these technologies

Social distancing can be better enforced with these technologies
Social distance, by definition, is the ideal distance between individuals in order to effectively contain or prevent a disease. Amid covid-19, certain technologies are available to help end users better enforce social distancing.

Covid-19 is now a global pandemic that has taken a huge toll on countries across the globe. At the time of this article’s publish, according to worldometers, it has infected nearly 7.5 million worldwide and killed nearly 420,000.

One way to effectively curb the spread of the disease is social distancing, which is not a new concept but has now gained significance amid covid-19. Government and end user entities across the world have issued social distancing guidelines, especially at a time when organization are preparing for or have announced a reopening of business. In Taiwan, for example, individuals in outside arenas are required to keep 1 meters apart and 1.5 meters in inside arenas.

However, enforcement of social distancing measures has become critical as well. Using manual labor in this regard is quite ineffective and costly. To ensure proper enforcement, then, end users are turning to certain technologies, which include the following.
 

Video


Video analytics can be designed to detect various scenarios, for example if someone is wearing a mask, how many people are visiting a store or which aisles are frequented by more people. In a similar vein, video analytics with distance-specific rules can be effectively used for social distance monitoring. According to a post by Zensors, their video-based solutions can help address questions such as how many people are in the end user’s facility or out in public places in a city; are gatherings remaining within the suggested or mandated congregation limit; and are people following recommended social distancing policies. The upside to video surveillance is that more likely than not, camera systems are already deployed at end user entities; they don’t have to make extra investments for it.
 

LiDAR


LiDAR stands for light detection and ranging. It works by way of emitting laser pulses to an object, measuring the time it takes for the pulses to bounce back, and rendering 3D images to inform the system of the distance of that object. LiDAR has gained huge popularity as a distance-keeping technology for autonomous vehicles, and for this reason its demand is expected to remain strong.

Similarly, LiDAR can be used for keeping a safe distance between individuals. Quanergy Systems, for example, has launched a LiDAR-based solution to help end users enforce social distancing. “When the distance between individuals is less than the allowed social distance, or the number of people in an area exceeds a given limit, an alert is issued and personnel may be dispatched,” the company said in a news release, adding the solution can benefit such entities as businesses by controlling the maximum number of people in common areas; train and metro stations by accurately keeping count of people entering and exiting a station; and buses and trains by tracking and reporting maximum people count.
 

RFID


Another useful technology is RFID which entails the use of tags to track, position and inventory items. In social distancing enforcement, RFID can also play a role whereby individuals wearing tags will be notified when they are in proximity to one another.

“Our real-time locating system is configurable to alarm when tagged individuals come within close proximity to each other. By creating a virtual boundary around individuals, the system acknowledges when tag holders get too close and can send a notification to both individuals if the distance is breached. Based on your environment and the infrastructure installed this can activate within 8 to 15 feet,” GuardRFID said in a post.


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