The COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to dramatically change our customers’ security and video surveillance system needs. Where past concerns were primarily focused on intrusion detection, shoplifting and/or vandalism, and life safety, now added to these issues are concerns about the spreading of the coronavirus from proximity to an infected person. 

Any location or event that may cause numbers of people to come together is potentially dangerous for virus transmission. For example, it was reported that the large-scale COVID-19 infection that hit northern Italy was traced to a soccer match where approximately 40,000 people attended; a portion of attendees got infected and then returned to their homes, subsequently spreading the disease to their families and work spaces.

As we have seen, technology companies are feverishly working on solutions that will potentially detect infected persons when they enter a business, church, school or other place where people congregate. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being created to process video signals for a variety of analytics such as temperature and social-distancing detection. Some AI companies such as have created suites of cloud-based software that can monitor a variety of “human condition” issues such as social distancing, proper use of safety equipment and potential hazards while logging still images for review by management.

Notifications can be sent to mobile devices, and specific personnel can access aggregated incidents and reports.

This type of system will certainly be desired in specific situations such as construction, hospitals, schools and other publicly accessible locations. While these systems are quite pricy at this point, cost will surely drop over time as these technologies gain traction in the marketplace.

Another condition that vendors are developing devices for is for temperature screening or detection as they pass by specific cameras. Platinum CCTV has developed their PT-BF5421-T thermal/visible IP camera, which provides real-time human temperature detection. The vendor specifies that this camera is accurate to roughly ½ degree Fahrenheit.

I expect these technologies to continue to innovate and improve their performance while prices will drop as installations are performed. While the future of the coronavirus pandemic is unknown, the longer it is a concern the more that customers will request AI-based video that can help them protect their customers, employees and groups of people.

What does this mean to today’s security systems integrators? High-resolution IP cameras will be a must for quality video that can be accurately analyzed, and the locations of cameras may need to change to provide clear pictures of peoples’ faces.

Progressive integrators may want to investigate companies such as Platinum CCTV and with the aim to potentially partner with them or their clients to provide installation labor, CCTV expertise and servicing.

While we have seen many changes in our industry, the realities of virus pandemics may well drive customers to these new detection technologies for liability reasons.