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How to encourage the adoption of video monitoring for COVID-19

How to encourage the adoption of video monitoring for COVID-19
Video monitoring solutions like analytics to monitor social distancing are available in the market now but businesses need to find to ensure their use without making their customers uncomfortable.
Ever since economics worldwide decided to reopen after COVID-19, video analytic solutions to monitor social distancing, mask compliance, crowd management, etc., have come to the spotlight. But despite their clear benefits, most customers are yet to make use of video-based monitoring for COVID-19 related purposes.

Several systems integrators that we talked to pointed out that although solutions like thermal cameras, IR temperature detection guns, and contactless access control solutions have become more popular than before, some concerns stop customers from adopting video-based monitoring. Then how do we deal with this situation?

Why businesses remain reluctant recently spoke to Benjamin Low, VP for APAC at Milestone Systems, to understand what more can be done to help businesses leverage the power of video. While pointing out that certain challenges exist in this situation, Low explained with some effort, more businesses can benefit from this. 

“Most business leaders might be hesitant with the initial investment due to perceived costs, an overdependence on legacy systems, and inability to see the benefits,” Low said. “However, the solutions that video can provide, beyond mitigating risks caused by the pandemic, could outweigh the initial cost and should be considered seriously.”

Video, paired with technologies such as AI, data analytics, IoT, and sensor data, could offer huge conveniences for consumers, and in doing so, maximize business profits. Low gave the example of the Singapore market.

“In Singapore, setup costs can even start from a nominal fee of just SGD 3,000,” Low said. “Video technologies provide a valuable alternative to potential additional expenses, such as the deployment of additional staff to ensure guidelines are being followed or – in the worst-case scenario – fines for not adhering to strict safe-distancing guidelines.”

Locally, the government has also taken an active role in adopting digital capabilities to aid with continuity and accelerate economic recovery. This support comes in the form of grants – such as the Digital Resilience Bonus and Advanced Digital Solutions (ADS) scheme, which helps businesses take the first step of adopting the right digital tools.

“As we look towards the reopening of the economy, video technologies – when used responsibly – will prove to be an asset that can help businesses adhere to regulations imposed due to the pandemic,” Low added. “Not only will it help businesses ensure compliance, but also gear them up for continuity in the new normal.”

Dealing with consumer concerns

One of the main concerns that discourage businesses from adopting solutions like social distance monitoring is that their customers may feel uncomfortable about it. But Low explained that a recent Milestone study had found that eight in ten Singaporeans are receptive to the usage of video technology, such as thermal imagining cameras and crowd management video analytics.

“However, 27 percent of respondents were still skeptical and did not feel that the benefits of video technology outweigh their personal privacy needs,” Low continued. “These respondents also felt that there are insufficient regulatory measures in place to deter abuse of video technology.”

Steps businesses can take

Most consumers are still unfamiliar with the role and implications of video technology being deployed so widely. Low points out that during this time, it should be a priority for all businesses to establish trust by assuring consumers that the data or footage collected will not be exploited for malicious intent or personal gain.

“This could be as straightforward as putting up signs to inform and assure the public that no video data would be stored or for how long and for what purpose,” Low said. “From a technological standpoint, there is also a suite of solutions in the market that provide operators with the ability to anonymize data, through privacy masking, data purging, and much more.”

Eventually, a combination of efforts to raise awareness among customers and gain their confidence, along with transparent systems that ensure ethical handling of video footage would help businesses make use of video monitoring for COVID-19 management. Video presents one of the best tools for this, and finding a way to make use of it would benefit businesses in the current scenario. 

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