As companies are gradually opening up offices and employees are getting back to work, they are leveraging technology to ensure social distancing can be maintained in the office premises. COVID-19 has made mask compliance, crowding checks and temperature screening mandatory for all employees, and companies are installing high-tech gadgets to avoid long queues outside their campuses.
IT major Infosys, while it already had contactless sensors as well as building automation systems in its campus, has added more technology features to make common touchpoints contactless.
"We have added more options based on need, for example, the entry to our campus, payment for services, access to spaces, lighting and utilities, etc. are all contactless," says Richard Lobo, Executive Vice President, Head HR, Infosys. He adds, they are also experimenting with new technologies, such as AI & IoT based solutions for the physical infrastructure, for enabling monitoring and real time decision making.
Bharti Realty, real estate arm of Bharti Enterprises, in its Worldmark buildings in New Delhi (Aero city) and Gurugram has also introduced touch free amenities. There are contactless access cards, contactless sanitiser dispensers, contactless thermometers, and a QR Code based Visitor Management System where entries are done by the visitor on their smartphone.
"The idea is to minimise touch while maintaining hygiene in common areas thereby preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace," says Mohit Pruthi, Vice President, Head Retail, Marketing and Brand Communication, Bharti Realty. He adds that they have completed trials for a parking access management system for tenants and visitors trials in Worldmark and they will implement it in their other developments.
This new use case in corporates has led to a spike in demand for these contact-less technology solutions in the last few weeks.
Manish Agarwal, Director of security and surveillance brand Secureye says, "As business started to open up in the last few weeks, contactless employee attendance management and tracking system solutions saw an upsurge in demand. Products like infrared cameras and IR thermometer products have seen a rise of over four times during these months." This led them to introduce some new products. One of those is a forehead infrared thermometer that could be mounted on the wall. An employee could pass through it and align their forehead for the thermometer to check the temperature. Infrared thermometers are faster and help in managing large number of people, without the need of a security guard.
Another is a three-in-one AI-based facial recognition camera that can detect faces and be used to log attendance, even if the person is wearing a mask and also map body temperature. "These are new products we have introduced because in pre-COVID times there was no need to have temperature check and mask compliance for employees. We have already sold few hundreds of them," he says.
Another video security solution provider Prama Hikvision is also seeing a similar uptick with solutions related to Temperature Screening, Contactless Access Control, Face Recognition, Flow Control Solutions (Crowd Flow, Crowd Density and Social Distancing). "The security solutions that help firms to comply with health and safety guidelines are witnessing a surge in demand from across the verticals," says Ashish Dhakan, MD and CEO, Prama Hikvision India.
Dhakan says as companies want to control the crowding of office premises, their IoT-based flow control solution has been getting a lot of inquiries. The solution uses people counting cameras and digital signage, and shows on its on-screen display number of people entering and leaving the building, and triggers an alarm or a voice alert in case thresholds are exceeded.
"We are expecting an overall 25 per cent rise in demand due to specific requirements driven by the pandemic situation. The third and fourth quarter revenues are going to exceed the expectations. We are sure that the results will spin a surprise for all of us," says Dhakan.