Workplaces are moving forward with social distance monitoring devices, will this strategy work?
With the wake of COVID-19 and its effects, workplaces across the world are eager to limit the flow of customers and employees. They are looking for different latest techs for social distance monitoring to control the spread of viruses.
There are basically two types of these technologies – one is based on mobile devices while others are based on wearable gadgets like smartwatches and fitness bands. Both of these techs are based on social distancing (which requires a minimum of 6 ft. of the distance between two persons).
Workplaces have controlled the number of employees to work in the office while enabling a lot of their staff to work from home. Those who are coming to offices have to go through proper screening for social distance monitoring and thermal imaging.
Social Distancing Techs
Social distancing devices have been deployed in all workspaces to keep workers in the know when they are closed to one another. It usually depends on communications which cover short distances. For example, if your device detects the device of someone else, it will alert you that you are too close to someone who may be infected.
Ultra-wideband is known to be a promising technology to monitor social distancing. It enables precise measurements between the devices. Modern smartphones usually use Bluetooth to communicate. Several contact tracing apps have been used to keep people alert when they enter a highly affected area or exposed to an infected person. They usually use such media while sticking to a design. They have approaches based on security and privacy or precise measurements with sound.
Google and Apple also have their own approach to fix some of the technical glitches which come out. Wearable techs can also be in use for social distance monitoring. Some of the well-known wearables have been designed to alert or buzz employees when they get in range of 6 ft. with one another.
In addition, workplaces have also been using social distancing cameras and screening systems to work at the entrance as well as on the premises.
Will it work?
Social distance monitoring products in the workplace can ensure the compliance of 6-ft guidelines issued by the government. It is a bare minimum requirement which is also very complex to implement. Even basic social distancing could be of great help to prevent the spread of infection over time to relieve some load on hospitals. But there is a problem with digital contact tracing. Both persons should have those apps to record the infectious contact.
For example, if this technology is adopted by 50% of people in workspaces like IT staff, mail deliveries, and plumbers, it will record around 25% of infectious contacts.
Is privacy a concern?
Employers can legally monitor calls, check emails, and record employees’ videos. But some contact tracing apps use location information that can be very personal. For example, it can track even what workers have bought or with whom they have meals.
It can track when a water cooler is used and how often. Employees have to choose between their privacy and jobs. Luckily, there are some solutions that can protect privacy in different ways. For example, social distance tracking cameras can track the distance between two or more people and nothing else.
Whether data is shared with a third party or employer, the key here is to keep the data anonymous and not track any personal information. A lot of contacts tracing apps indeed share only random data which is required only for tracing social distance and other details that users need to know related to potential hazards. In addition, some wearables keep the data with themselves and delete the same usually after 14 days.
There are even some techs that can help employees to prevent their employers from checking contact history. Only employees who have been around any infected individual will be alerted, either through a buzz or notifications on their devices. All in all, social distancing techs can be very helpful to avoid the risks with COVID-19.