How AI is Powering a Safe Return to the Workplace

Real-time workplace data streamed from IoT sources such as cameras, temperature probes, and tags can now be collected and analyzed at the edge and processed using artificial intelligence (AI). The results offer immediate insights, and in some cases, AI can even take actions to detect and prevent health risks to customers and employees.

 

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Image credit: Richtech Automated AI temperature screening system

The COVID-19 pandemic will forever alter the workplace as we know it. Organizations of all types and sizes are racing to remake the way they have done business for decades. Today, restrictions caused by the pandemic are easing in many places and as a result enterprises are contemplating safe and effective ways of bringing employees back to the office. For every organization, doing business in the present COVID world will demand new ways of working, as well as a major adjustment to the workspace environment itself. 

In a recent study conducted by Gensler Research Institute, only 12 percent of people say that they want to continue to work from home full-time after the pandemic subsides. Most people state that they would like to return to the office full-time, or at least in some combination of work in the office and work from home. 

The challenge then for companies is, how can they enable re-entry to the workplace safely and effectively? To address and overcome this challenge, many organizations are looking to AI-enabled solutions to manage and automate the complexities of a return to work, while at the same time ensuring employees’ health and safety.

Workplace Temperature Screening

First and foremost, AI can assist organizations in processing data from mass temperature screening of employees and customers upon entering the facility. One company, Richtech provides advanced thermal imaging through its Automated AI Temperature Screening System (AATSS). This provides organizations with a fast and minimally intrusive way to protect their customers and employees. Their system can detect a person’s temperature in less than three seconds with a measurement accuracy within a half of a degree.

AI-powered computer vision tools can automatically monitor the workplace to ensure people wear face coverings and maintain social distancing with their co-workers. These systems can avoid the controversial element of facial recognition technology* by anonymously detecting whether a person is wearing a face mask. Nagarro is one such company that has a solution that ensures social distancing behavior, encourages PPE practices such as wearing masks, and monitors high risk scenarios such as large collections of people.

Social Distance Monitoring

There are other types of AI-based technologies that can be extended to detect when social distancing is being breached within the workplace. LandingAI has developed a tool that analyzes real-time video streams to estimate the distance between people, which can be used to instantly identify violations. The company’s core product LandingLens, is an end-to-end AI platform designed to build and deploy AI visual inspection solutions.

While there are a multitude of AI-powered connected workplace products available, actually putting them to work successfully can be a daunting task for many organizations. With ever-changing COVID-19 protocols, companies with existing solutions in place may need a solution integrator’s help to figure out how to adopt new features and policies without tossing out their existing systems.

Turnkey Return to Work Solutions

One market ready solution provider, ThingLogix offers a turnkey system called Workwatch™️ that can be easily retrofitted to work with whatever a company may already have installed. By partnering with OnLogic and AWS, ThingLogix has developed an AI-enabled “return to work” solution in Workwatch.

screen showing temperature readings of man

Image credit: ThingLogix Workwatch

Workwatch is a compliance management system that uses the latest in thermography, AI, and sensor-based technologies to provide a complete “no-contact” employee and visitor screening solution. This solution meets a plurality of institutional needs and compliance requirements to keep people safe through automated and efficient screening. The Workwatch system offers all the necessary components:

  • Pre-entry screening. Automated symptom screening is available via SMS or email. Employees are issued a Workwatch Day Pass that is scanned at entry. 
  • Temperature checking. Record temperatures of employees and visitors using thermal cameras or manually using a handheld and mobile app 
  • Social distancing. Manage social distancing rules with wearable beacons that use light and sound alarms. This function also works as an easy contact tracing solution.  
  • Labor management. Track sanitation and compliance-related work items. Assign tasks and track time and compliance automatically.

ThingLogix and OnLogic are both members of the Intel® IOT Solutions Alliance, and their Workwatch solution is one of the Intel® IoT Market Ready Solutions. Intel® IoT Market Ready Solutions are end-to-end IoT solutions that have been reviewed by Intel and are ready for market deployment. This accreditation gives developers and integrators a higher degree of confidence when including an AI-powered workforce management solution as part of their broader offering.  

 

*Note: Intel is committed to respecting human rights and avoiding complicity in human rights abuses. See Intel’s Global Human Rights Principles. Intel’s products and software are intended only to be used in applications that do not cause or contribute to a violation of an internationally recognized human right.