The last two months have been interesting, to say the least. What’s the report from the Universal Headquarters of Slayton Solutions at the bunker in Bucktown Chicago? Well, the reality of the COVID-19 attack has changed a whole lot of things for us, and created some interesting opportunities to do things differently. After getting ultra-shaggy, I borrowed the Wahl hair clippers from my mother (the same torture device that she used to mow my hair to a buzzcut in 1962). Surprisingly, it still works after 50 years, and my wife Joan’s first manly haircut actually came out pretty well. Plus, the cookbooks are getting quite a workout.

In light of the current situation, I believe we all need to step back and try to envision the future. The COVID-19 pandemic has us moving into a “Brave New World” for our customers, be they retail, restaurants, schools or any other place where people come together to work or play. We can expect new standards from government bodies and private companies to help protect employees and customers.

What it comes down to is the ability to reliably test people entering a building for their temperature and a face mask. One solution is for building access to be limited to a single entrance, with a contracted guard on duty to check people for their skin temperature and mask. But while this would work, the costs and liabilities may keep many of our clients from going down the hired guard road.

Which leads us to some type of electronic solution. There are two systems I have investigated that can work for our customers.

Dahua, a manufacturer of IP cameras,  released a body temperature, facial recognition and mask detection system. This solution includes two DH-TPC-BF5421 thermal cameras, the DHI-NVR5216-16P-I NVR, and a black body thermal plate. While the functions of this system are too detailed for this column, my overall impression is that this would be an attractive system for temporary usage or high-end transportation hubs, convention halls and locations where large numbers of people congregate. 

A stand-alone device that combines Weigand access control output, facial recognition, body temperature and mask detection is available from ZKTec. Their Speed Face products can collect facial recognition, body temperature and mask/no mask in less than .03 seconds. Access to the building can be denied if the visitor/ employee isn’t recognized or indicates a high temperature. Combining a face reader, palm reader, temperature detection and mask detection, the ZKTec Speed Face appears to be an economical solution for permanent placement and integration into an existing access control system.

There are a couple cautions you should consider before jumping on these. First, it needs to be made crystal clear that the temperature monitoring functions are not medically approved and only provide an indication of a possible high temperature in a person. Second, if considering the use of the Speed Face reader, you will need to verify it will work with existing access control systems and software.

Time to put the apron back on.