What You Need to Know About Temperature Screening Cameras
The Technology Holds Great Promise, But Correct Implementation is Critical
The COVID-19 pandemic has almost stopped the world economy in its tracks. In the U.S., the economy went from a healthy growth curve and low unemployment to a complete shutdown for many businesses. As states like Texas ease restrictions and look to get their economies and workforce moving again, both the public and private sectors are looking to technology solutions to help with maintaining safety as we try to get back to a level of "normal."
One of the technologies that holds great promise is temperature screening cameras. Checking temperature has been one of the clearest ways of identifying people that are potentially sick and should not be mingling in close quarters with others. Heat sensing and thermal imaging camera technologies have been around for a long time, as they are used in night vision for a host of security and surveillance cameras and solutions. However, these technologies have never been used in the way we need them to work for this pandemic.
If you are looking at temperature screening cameras for your company or organization in Houston, its critical to walk before you run. The technology continues to be refined, and how it is implemented is critical. Let's take a closer look at the challenges with temperature screening and what can make it work.
Many watching the fever-detection space have noted that the FDA has temporarily lifted some clearance requirements for fever detection equipment in an effort to speed innovation in combating the spread of COVID-19. That said, it doesn’t mean that it’s the “wild west” for fever detection. Improper screening and detections can give a false sense of security and cause dire consequences.
On May 13th, the FDA said fever detection systems could work effectively under these conditions:
- The system is used in the right environment or location
- The system is set up and operated properly
- The person being screened is participating according to specific instructions
- The person operating the thermal screening system is adequately trained.
In the rush to find technology solutions, many claims are being made about fever detection. At this point, these systems cannot handle people just walking by a camera in large numbers for screening. For example, several things can affect the effectiveness of these systems. Facial obstructions like hats, headbands, and even glasses can influence results. How much clothing people are wearing can affect facial temperature reading, as well as whether the person has recently bathed or exercised. Even coming out of a cold air-conditioned car or walking in the summer heat in Texas can dramatically lower or raise a thermal reading rendering it completely inaccurate.
The FDA has recommended against mass screening, indicating that one person should be screened at a time. They even suggest that for greater accuracy, a person should wait 15 minutes for other factors like clothing and outside temperature to settle down before screening.
Challenges and Solutions
The types of restrictions the FDA cites means that mass screening using thermal imaging may not be ready for prime time. The technology will continue to improve, but not overnight. But there’s progress in solutions for proper calibration and operation of thermal screening solutions. One is the so-called blackbody, which is a background for the screening camera that is known to be a specific temperature. The camera system can then measure facial temperature against a known calibration for more accurate results. However, this is not a solution that can scale well to screening large numbers of people at the same time – at least not as currently implemented.
In the immediate future, the best applications for thermal imaging may be triaging. In a hospital or medical facility, identifying potential high temperatures can help identify people for further verification with thermometers. In an airport setting, it could be built into a new security screening process at entrances. In office buildings and factories, it could be a part of the access control system.
Some companies are building off their expertise with thermal imaging and smart cameras to scale up the capabilities of the technology. Avigilon, part of Motorola Solutions, is one such company, using artificial-intelligence powered analytics to speed detection accuracy and identify potential fever faster for verification and action.
ASAP Security Services is monitoring the thermal temperature screening solutions and evaluating the best that offer real, implementable, scalable solutions. Through our vast experience across Texas with sophisticated security and surveillance systems in both the public and commercial sectors, we are uniquely qualified to identify and install the best solutions for your application. Look for more details in our ongoing blog series about this important technology.
To learn more, set up a consultation with our team by calling (877) 418-ASAP, filling out our contact form, or start a live chat with us below. We look forward to working with you!