SPEAKING OUT IN A PANDEMIC
s the world effectively shut down in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, retailers were not the only businesses impacted. Solutions providers who partner with retailers have had to pivot their businesses to support their customers in different ways as well as change their way of doing business in a world of travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders. We asked the magazine’s Vendor Advisory Board members to offer their insights into how they navigated this unprecedented time and how they view changes that will be necessary going forward. Here are some of their comments.
to evolve daily with the movement of the COVID-19 crisis and the directives administered by federal and state governments and public health officials. As we tentatively look toward the future and more “nonessential” businesses begin to open their doors again, there are a number of technological solutions we’re certain to see gain momentum throughout the marketplace. Solutions that may not have been top priorities for retail outlets and distribution centers in the past, such as thermal imaging, EST systems, and people counting, may quickly rise to the top of the list as locations grapple with new state and federal mandates on occupancy thresholds and continued social distancing recommendations.
skin surface temperature on its own is not indicative of illness, and that COVID-19-positive individuals may be asymptomatic and still be contagious. Prior to implementation, it is critical for businesses to evaluate whether an EST system has undergone the FDA clearance process and be prepared to follow the FDA’s adjunctive use requirements, which include using the system alongside a primary means of confirming a fever, such as a medical thermometer. Businesses should also seek appropriate input from their legal teams to develop protocols following the confirmation of a fever and ensure its collection of skin temperature and fever data complies with all applicable laws concerning privacy and confidential health information.
“Thermal imaging solutions and infrared cameras—more aptly called elevated skin temperature (EST) systems since they can only detect possible elevated skin surface temperature—have predictably continued to generate heightened interest in the industry over the last several months.” – Lisa Ciappetta, ADT Commercial LISA CIAPPETTA
Vice President, National Account Strategy, ADT Commercial
s organizations have had to continuously shift to navigate the COVID-19 public health crisis over these past few months, it’s become increasingly apparent that we’ll begin witnessing quite a few substantial operational shifts across industries as we try to gauge what a post-pandemic world might look like. For the retail sector, this impact has been immediate. And in some cases, especially for any location that’s been deemed essential, including supermarkets, pharmacies, and others, the impact has been ongoing. These businesses have had
Thermal imaging solutions and infrared cameras—more aptly called elevated skin temperature (EST) systems since they can only detect possible elevated skin surface temperature—have predictably continued to generate heightened interest in the industry over the last several months. However, immense care and caution should be exhibited for any facility considering implementing these measures as part of their overall security program. While they are being more frequently assessed in retail distribution and warehouse applications as a means to signal a leading indicator of an employee’s, delivery person’s, or service person’s elevated skin temperature upon entering the facility, it’s important to note that elevated MAY–JUNE 2020
Paired with video analytics, we’ve also seen thermal cameras more traditionally used for “heatmapping” in stores, to show where on the floorplan customers are spending most of their time and to visualize their natural route through the location. What was once used as the basis for promotional placement and strategically stocking endcaps can now be leveraged as a way to alert businesses to areas where, even at a reduced occupancy, a queue is likely to form or customers will tend to congregate without observing social distancing guidelines. In a post-pandemic landscape, awareness to these areas will be crucial in keeping both employees and customers safe and healthy. Given the variety of directives ordered by various state and local