Telecoms company Vodafone has announced a new infrared camera that detects a person’s heat signature to track the spread of COVID-19.
The company will sell the Internet of Things (IoT) device to businesses as people return to work, allowing owners to use infrared cameras to detect the heat signatures of employees as they enter premises.
Vodafone is working in partnership with surveillance firm Digital Barriers on the cameras, with the company stating that the thermal technology is accurate to within 0.3°C and takes less than half a second to scan a person’s body temperature.
The thermal images are then sent to a laptop in real-time. If a raised temperature is detected by the system, an alert is sent so the individual can be given a medical examination for traces of the virus.
Chief technology officer at Vodafone, Scott Petty, commented: “The heat detection camera brings together Vodafone’s expertise in IoT with innovative technology and a secure managed service to create an enterprise-grade solution that protects employees and front-of-house staff.
“Our IoT network can connect many cameras quickly and without disruption in almost any location; and our ongoing partnership with Digital Barriers provides reassurance that the underlying software and hardware is engineered to the highest standards.”
The camera can supposedly check the temperature of 100 people per minute, and judge individual body temperature and spot elevated readings in less than half a second.
Zak Doffman, CEO of Digital Barriers, said: “This heat detection camera has been designed to help companies safeguard staff and customers, reopen facilities and get back to work safely. The solution combines class-leading temperature screening with highly secure remote access and alerts.
“Partnering with Vodafone UK to bring this to market will ensure it is widely available and supported by a world-class IoT network and managed services operation.”
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Heat signature technology is already being utilised in other areas to detect COVID-19 symptoms, and the uptake of the technology has increased as businesses and governments look to track the virus.
US camera company Flir said it has seen a 700% increase in global demand and, according to the Telegraph, a UK collective of agencies are working on a project with British security company AMCO to provide thermal cameras for sporting events.
Vodafone has already begun installing its latest technology at key sites. Anne Sheehan, business director at Vodafone UK, commented: “During this crisis, our role has been to keep the UK connected. Now, we want to help UK organisations get their people back to work while prioritising their safety.”