Visitor kiosks to feature fever detection

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Visitors to schools, businesses and government offices are often greeted by a lone security kiosk before they are granted access to the facility.

Considered a valuable front-line defense in keeping schools and businesses secure, visitor kiosks are capable of screening guests — even performing instant background checks — before printing short-term badges and unlocking doors.

Now, with the help of thermal-imaging cameras, kiosks from SafeHiring Solutions will soon screen visitors for fever in response to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“In about late February, some of our strategic partners — who are former commissioners of education — began peppering us with questions before COVID-19 really shut everything down,” SafeHiring Solutions representative Mike McCarty said. “They were asking, ‘What do you have that would be a solution for COVID-19?’”

SafeHiring Solutions produces many of the kiosks found in local schools in Montgomery County.

Questions for visitors, inquiring about their health condition and areas to which they’ve recently traveled, were considered.

But they “would only work if somebody was honest,” McCarty said.

“So we were looking at thermal body temperature cameras,” he said. “We were trying to balance the needs of what clients wanted with long-term business plans.”

The company immediately saw value in adding thermal-imaging cameras to existing kiosks as a mode of detection for potential cases of COVID-19 or other infectious disease as indicated with fever.

“There’s a lot of these out there, and we’ve studied this technology (and consulted) with an advisory board member who owns a company that specializes in all things hardware security,” McCarty said. “There are a lot of cameras being sold that are on a blacklist by the government ... if they aren’t constructed correctly, they may not give you an accurate reading.”

Some thermal-imaging cameras, for example, were reporting individuals with body temperatures as low as 94 degrees, while others came with high price tags.

“(Ours) is plus or minus about .5 degrees — anybody who claims they can do it 100 percent is not being accurate,” McCarty said. “What we learned was, to get a really accurate reading, it has to be more than a skin technology.”

Tear ducts, he said, can provide the most accurate reading, and the hardware can be mounted to an existing kiosk very simply.

“As you step up to this device, it’s going to read places and points on your face ... and the thermal camera is taking a temperature,” McCarty said. “It has not only the thermal camera built into it, it can also regulate temperatures in various environments.”

McCarty and others at SafeHiring Solutions are fielding questions about the new devices and how they may be used with existing kiosks. For more information, visit safehiringsolutions.com. Questions may be emailed to mike.mccarty@safehiringsolutions.com.

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