I recently took my 13-year old daughter to the optometrist’s so she could get her glasses fixed. When we arrived, we were doused with hand sanitizer and given a face mask, as well as disposable gloves. A member of the staff also took our temperature with a handheld unit. Or tried to. The woman operating the device was not entirely sure how to use the unit, which provided three different readings. Ultimately, she gave up, threw the device in the trash, and allowed us to come in.

The point? This is all new, uncharted territory. Maybe it’s best we slow down a little and not rush to find a solution that may or may not work.

If we end up throwing good money after bad, what ground did we gain in a time like this?

Everyone wants to return to the workplace safely, but we must do so with a cost-effective and level-headed approach.

More often than not, rushing to judgement can cause more problems than you started with.

To that point, our team has been fielding a number of inquiries about high-performance face, palm, and fingerprint readers with temperature monitoring tech that have been making the rounds online.

These systems can purportedly detect body temperature and the presence of face masks prior to authenticating registered and nonregistered users.

It all looks great at first glance: detection from up to 8 feet away, the ability to store and match up to 50,000 faces, an accuracy of plus-or-minus 0.6F from up to 18 inches away, flawless operation in broad daylight and complete darkness. Who wouldn’t want to implement these measures immediately in the wake of a pandemic, when the world is striving to return to work?

We fully understand the demand. But as we have stressed so many times before, it is so important to look before you leap.

It is critical that your business or organization does not act hastily in an effort to quell fears, and inadvertently end up putting your team and customers at risk for other dangers as a result.

Unfortunately, China had a head start on the development of this recognition technology. All systems that we have examined that are currently on the market are manufactured using at least some Chinese components.

Consider these additional setbacks with the systems currently available for purchase:

  • Systems currently available are not compliant with the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
  • Temperature monitoring, alone, is insufficient. As we have been told, many carriers may be asymptomatic and able to spread the disease. Current systems may provide a false sense of security.
  • To date, the United States government has not approved this system as a medically effective means of detecting temperature.
  • Systems would need to be used in conjunction with other measures to provide a comprehensive solution.

All that being said, our experts believe the technology is viable and could prove to be a tremendous asset in overcoming COVID once certain steps are taken.

Not only would businesses be able to detect elevated temperatures for anyone entering a facility, but after a return to normalcy, such systems could still prove useful as a secure – and contactless – way to defend your entry points. Not only that, but they could effectively replace traditional card readers and be seamlessly integrated with standard access control solutions.

While a foolproof solution does not yet exist, Secom can use the following functions in conjunction with access control to transition to a more secure future:

  • Contactless systems used to operate doors and elevators and for visitor processing.
  • Lobby checkpoints to ensure only healthy individuals are admitted using a combination of temperature checks and other screening processes.
  • High density entrance and exit readers integrated with intelligent video that facilitate around the clock occupancy contact tracing.
  • Access control systems that encourage social distancing by enforcing visitor restrictions and staggered schedules.

These steps, along with temperature monitoring, will ultimately provide a more comprehensive plan to keep people and buildings safe and secure.

Secom is keeping a close watch on the industry and is anticipating the development of an NDAA-compliant temperature and face mask detecting product we can safely and securely provide for our clients. Until then, we recommend erring on the side of caution – and contacting our specialists if you have any questions whatsoever.