DISTANCING TECHNOLOGY FEATURES AND BENEFITS
There is a plethora of social distancing technology available today, focused primarily on workplaces that need a certain amount of workforce, such as manufacturing and construction. We will look at some of these technologies, features, and how they may benefit workplaces in this challenging era of social distancing because many of them feature wearable devices that offer new purchasing options.
UWB (Ultrawideband) technology
In social distancing, ultra wideband technology is at least 50 times more accurate than Bluetooth technology. Due to UWB, distance changes can be monitored quickly without requiring technical knowledge. The wearer receives instant alerts when social distance is breached. UWB requires little power, so it is ideal for wearable technology, and won’t run out of battery during the day.
Frequently, the safe distance can be configured, which may be an appealing option if it can be adjusted according to local recommendations or according to best practices at your workplace.
There are social distancing tags, which measure the distance between individuals wearing them and alert you when the distance is breached. It’s perfect if you want to keep people apart by socially distancing them. Infection risk is a function of distance and the length of time a person is in close proximity. Having a tag that can record interaction times and distances, and then allow the analysis of that data, means that decisions can be made based on transmission risk. So if an infection gets into the workplace, it will only affect those with significant risks, not everyone.
The fact is that if you store data on a device that is worn, then those wearing the tags might be concerned about what the device is storing. Some tags can store where you are, depending on their sophistication, but they’re not so ‘Big Brother’ that they store audio or video. So, considering privacy, having a tag for social distancing where the data is not stored indefinitely may be a consideration. Tags should keep data for a maximum of 14 days, which is more than the incubation and transmission times for viruses.
It makes sense to analyze the data of the tags if they store the amount of time and distance that they are in proximity to other tags. The tag must be capable of offloading the data to some software. This will need to happen automatically if you have many employees, so it isn’t time consuming. If your device has the right wireless technology inside, it can do this overnight, so choose a tag that can be downloaded via Bluetooth or another technology.
It is likely that Social distancing software will continue to exist for some time yet, but anyone in procurement will be interested in knowing what the long-term benefits of the system are. What will happen to the system after COVID? There may be an answer here in Real Time Location Systems (RTLS), and how they can provide a return on investment (ROI) for the future. Social distancing tags can then know their exact location all the time with additional infrastructure, often wall mounted devices. There are many applications for this, including productivity and lean manufacturing, which by giving small percentage increases can add thousands to a company’s bottom line. It can be extremely beneficial to exclude people from certain zones for safety and security reasons, as well as to keep them from hazards like moving vehicles, which can reduce workplace risks. A modest investment in a social distancing system that can be upgraded to RTLS can easily justify these potential cost savings.