In late May at its main distribution and integration center in Hanover Park, just outside of Chicago, Insight began installing a smart-space solution built on its Insight Connected Platform that’s designed to help detect for symptoms of the virus and prevent its spread in the workplace. The Internet of Things (IoT) solution — dubbed Connected Platform for Detection and Prevention — uses thermal cameras and other edge devices to create a more efficient, more discrete and less labor-intensive way to screen large groups of people via contactless temperature monitoring as they enter the workplace. The platform allows other intelligent preventive measures to be added, such as smart hand sanitizer stations and Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled cameras and speakers to detect use of appropriate personal protective equipment, check physical distancing and broadcast audio reminders if people congregate too closely together.
Insight is now deploying the Connected Platform for Detection and Prevention solution at 13 other North American locations — including its corporate headquarters in Tempe, Arizona — as it begins a phased approach to reopening offices and distribution centers of 50 or more teammates.
“Bringing our teammates back to work means doing so as safely and sensibly as possible, and helping people feel comfortable in the process. The technology is there to help with that, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach since our locations serve different purposes and see varying levels of traffic,” said Megan Amdahl, senior vice president of operations at Insight. “We may use a more complex, multi-scan thermal camera setup to screen multiple people at the entrance of a large facility like Hanover Park, yet set up less expensive thermal cameras for smaller offices. Or use a combination of smart devices across a facility. Connected Platform is allowing us to adapt the technology to what each of our locations needs.”
The Connected Platform provides a flexible, scalable foundation to unify data from a wide range of devices, cameras and sensors, directed through a user-friendly dashboard.
“A company can rapidly deploy IoT solutions through the platform, creating a hub to ingest data, set up user security, manage multiple sites and sensors, get baseline reports and build alerts,”said Jeff Dodge, national solutions director of Insight Digital Innovation."In this case, the Connected Platform is creating two main workstreams to help provide safer work and customer spaces: detection of symptoms and prevention of virus spread."
At its Hanover Park campus, where more than 500 teammates work, Insight installed at the main entrance of each building a thermal camera connected to an edge server that can automatically screen up to 30 people from a safe distance to detect elevated body temperatures, since fever can be a sign of COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). On the prevention side, traditional optical cameras with edge vision modules and machine learning capabilities will manage CDC-recommended social distancing and face mask adherence throughout the facilities. The company also installed smart hand sanitizer units from partner GOJO that will alert facilities managers when levels are low and track hygiene patterns over time.
The pre-built Connected Platform allows companies to prove an IoT use case in their environment within a matter of days, pilot in a few weeks and then rapidly roll out to production across many sites. Besides safer workplaces, the Detection and Prevention solution has limitless industry uses to curtail the spread of viruses in places where workers or patrons gather in groups, including restaurants, shopping centers, airports, entertainment venues, theme parks and cruise lines.
To this end, Insight, together with leading partners Citizen Care Pods Corporation, PCL Construction, LifeLabs, Microsoft, Intel, Dell Technologies, Bosch and others have developed a smart portable virus screening and testing center made from shipping containers. The Citizen Care Pod has the potential to reduce pressure on hospitals by quickly bringing testing and screening to places where people work and play. Each testing center is equipped with smart technologies that can be installed within a few hours in high-traffic areas, such as:
“The current climate has caused all of us individually to give serious thought about how we work and play, but it’s also pushing us to find more intelligent and proficient ways to do business. COVID-19 might be pushing us to act now to regain a sense of normalcy, but the return on investment can be even more meaningful over time with the right solutions. Detection and prevention technologies, such as an access control camera panel deployed today with thermal screening, can translate to automated building access for employees or delivery people in much the same way we use facial identification to open our smartphones. Necessity today is driving opportunity for tomorrow,” said Dodge.