There are several activities and approaches being applied to help reduce the
reproduction rate of COVID-19. These include self-isolation methods such as working
from home, improved basic hygiene such as increased hand washing and the deployment
of personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce the prospect of infection.
An important distinction to make in the overall societal response to COVID-19 is that
body temperature solutions are not a medical solution. They cannot identify the virus
and they do not protect organizations or individuals from catching the virus.
Comparisons can be made between the current stage of the market for thermal body
temperature solutions and another physical security technology: video analytics. Here,
the expectation level for object detection or activity tracking algorithms was extremely
high. The expectation was that video analytics would be near 100 percent accurate in
spotting, identifying and tracking objects through the field of vision. However, analytics
would sometimes mis-understand a scene, potentially alerting to the same object
multiple times or mis-allocating an object – essentially false alerts.
The reality was that these solutions were often more accurate and reliable than the
alternative – a human viewing the camera feeds. It is similar for thermal body
temperature solutions. The alternative solution is to have someone manually take each
person’s temperature with a medically approved scanner as they enter a building or
facility. This is slow, time intensive and places the person taking the temperature
measurements at more risk. Manually measuring temperatures with handheld devices
may also require greater amounts of PPE for the staff.
Radiometric or thermographic cameras are a sub-set of thermal imaging which can
measures the temperature of a surface by comparing different intensities of an infrared
signal reaching the camera against a calibrated reference. Often this can be visualized via
a coloured scale.