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Thermal Screenings Could Become Norm at Public Events

This week, an Indiana company will begin installing thermal screening systems for clients. The technology existed before the crisis, but officials said the heightened focus on public health has expanded the market.

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(TNS) — It doesn’t take much effort to see the immediate changes brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Countless cancellations and postponements, including of some of the most-high profile events in the world, have upended annual routines. Notable cultural mainstays to see historic delays include the Indianapolis 500 and the Kentucky Derby.

Schooling has shifted to e-learning, challenging students and teachers to adapt to new educational environments. More people are working from home than perhaps ever before, if they haven’t been laid off.

Put simply, the life that Americans have become accustomed to over the years is changing rapidly. Some are forecasting a lingering change in how people behave, likely to stick around long after the virus is gone.

“I really think the culture is going to change when this is all said and done,” said Chris Gilbert, founder and president of Security Pros. “I think we have to find new ways to have a sense of normality, instead of having a nurse at every entrance.”

Specifically, Gilbert is speaking of ways to protect large gatherings of people, whether it be at the workplace or recreational events. Some companies are turning to employee screenings to identify symptoms of sickness in an effort to reduce the spread of the disease.

But Gilbert envisions a more seamless process, one that doesn’t disrupt the natural flow of things. That’s why Security Pros — located in Memphis, Ind., after spending years in Jeffersonville — is investing in and leveraging advancements in technology.

This week, the company will begin installing thermal screening systems for clients. The technology existed before the crisis, but Gilbert said the heightened focus on public health has expanded the market.

“It’s definitely been out in the world, but it’s just coming to life because of this,” he said. “We already have courthouses and call centers with deployments [of the system]. Next week, we’re going to be installing a few, and more the week after.”

Utilizing cameras with thermal imaging, the system is able to quickly register the temperature of individuals passing through it. The traditional method of manually taking the temperature of people, for instance employees of a large warehouse, comes with pitfalls, Gilbert said.

For one, it can cause long lines, where people have no choice but to stand in close proximity to others for an extended period of time.

“If I have to wear a mask and stand outside in a line around a bunch of people, what are you really doing?” Gilbert said. “If somebody gets screened and caught with a high temperature, you’ve already possibly been exposed if you were standing next to them. People can get in to their work normally [with the thermal screening].”

Once people begin flowing into a building, an algorithm will identify individual faces. Masks and hats will not interfere with the process.

The camera’s capabilities will then hone in on the forehead area and take the temperatures of each person. If a high temperature is recorded, some sort of alert will be triggered, after which the individual will be screened more thoroughly.

After a conference call about the technology on Thursday, Gilbert said Security Pros — which works with local school districts, like Greater Clark County Schools, and municipal governments, like Jeffersonville, Clarksville and New Albany — received several requests for quotes from potential clients.

Gilbert anticipates more of the same moving forward, even after the novel coronavirus threat is no longer imminent. Many places like grocery stores, retail establishments, large employers and those that already have metal detectors or turnstiles could soon utilize thermal screenings on a regular basis.

“I honestly feel like this is going to be somewhat of a short-lived spike, but I think people are going to be more open to it in the future,” Gilbert said. “When a vaccine comes out, people are going to calm down. But it’s at least going to open their eyes to the fact that this can happen again. The general public is going to have a better sense of not being able to come into work or go into public when they’re sick anymore.”

©2020 The Evening News and The Tribune (Jeffersonville, Ind.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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