The impact of COVID-19 on our current behaviors is obvious. From handwashing to wearing masks and social distancing, these modifications will live on to some extent even after a vaccine is developed and administered to the general public. In response to this new way of life, technology has followed suit, bringing new innovations in a matter of months that normally would take years to emerge. Companies have worked faster than ever before to bring new AV products to market that will match the current and future needs of businesses, malls, schools, healthcare facilities and government offices. Many of these technologies will continue to be useful even as the pandemic eventually comes to an end.
Hospitals, schools and nursing homes will be able to keep patients, residents and students safer with contactless technology. Companies such as Visix have developed voice-activated digital signage. Visix’s AxisTV Signage Suite now offers a widget that can easily be deployed on any digital signage. Once the widget is active, the digital signage requires only the power of the human voice to operate, providing a safe and less anxiety provoking method of interaction. Additionally, VTouch has developed a contactless technology that will allow users to interact with a display by hovering their finger near the glass, but not actually touching it.
Some companies have developed digital signage that can take the temperature of a person standing in front of it and provide that reading to the operator. This can also be very useful in school, healthcare and nursing home facilities. By identifying people who are sick before they enter a facility, this will can help lessen disease transmission to vulnerable populations—whether flu, COVID, or other illnesses.
Digital signage analytics software companies have altered facial recognition software to be able to recognize and count the number of people in an area whether wearing a mask or not. This will provide more accurate measurements whether in a hospital where healthcare professionals may be wearing masks or in an outdoor area during winter when people may be wearing scarves to cover their face. Numbers of people can be effectively limited using this technology by only allowing a certain number into a building or space at a time to limit possible transmission of illness during flu season or in an area where there may be an outbreak.
We are now more aware of the contagiousness of germs and the implications of new viruses that could appear in the future and let’s face it, maybe we all could have avoided a flu or two if we had even lightly followed some of these protocols prior to the pandemic.
COVID-19 has prompted the improvement and development of technologies to combat the spread of any illness and this will undoubtedly provide many benefits into the future. The AV industry continuously evolves and leads the way to keeping people safer and healthier no matter what new crisis we may face.