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Location tech's role in social distancing


Tech has a big role to play in helping people stay safe

How do the operators of large indoor venues ensure that their customers are given the information they need to be able to abide by appropriate social distancing guidelines?


You won’t be surprised when you hear us promote the role of location and positioning technology in delivering solutions.


Millions of years of evolution have given human beings an awareness of what their own personal space is, and they soon take action to place themselves in more space if someone comes too close for their own liking.


We would hazard a guess that most people’s idea of their own personal space does not extend to the current UK guidance that they should keep two metres apart!


Many people would not be able to judge distances to that level of precision and it is an instinctive reaction for most of us to be much closer to other people.


They need help to be able to eliminate their own human error and to keep a safe distance.


Here is where technology comes to the party, offering a range of potential solutions.


But which is best? Here are a few ideas to help you to decide.


People counting sensors can be placed at doorways and gates to help control the numbers of people in a specific indoor space.


It uses the principle of counting them all in and counting them all out.


They use location data that is anonymised and therefore respects the privacy of individuals whose physical shape can be recognised without that giving away identity.


By using connected cameras, heatmaps can be generated to show venue operators the location of people and how they are utilising spaces.


But while this solution will help the operators of indoor spaces to avoid overcrowding, it will not be able to ensure that those individuals stay as far apart as they are required to.


Another way of tracking people is by using beacons, and that method is well known in retail.


Wi-Fi signals from smartphones can be scanned to help determine crowd sizes and to control numbers.


Wearable devices, using tags, removes a reliance on cell phone technologies but it does require a level of administration to make sure that everyone is wearing a device.


This method is particularly useful in workplaces on in other locations where persons are required to have that item to be allowed in.


A form of ticketing perhaps, as at railway stations or indoor locations such as museums, airports and hospitals.


This technology does not mean that people are individually alerted if they move too close to others.


But there is a solution to cover that scenario, too.


Indoor positioning and navigation systems also offer a way of directly alerting individuals to the fact that someone else is too close.


Such solutions already have a name – personnel distancing systems, or PDS for short.


The most promising technology in this regard is ultra-wideband, which offers a level of precision that other methods cannot come close to. As the technology develops, one can expect the level of precision here to improve even further.


Tags, or proximity warning gadgets, can be attached to a person in a variety of situations.


When two wearers of the gadgets are too close to each other the tags can sound an alarm, vibrate, or otherwise issue an alert.


Just as an employee can be alerted to an object or a piece of machinery, the principle can be expanded to involving persons too.


An evolving set of solutions and potential solutions are being progressed within the specialist technology ecosystem, which may mean that a more appropriate one will be available than non-specialist personnel will necessarily be aware of.


For more information, or to discuss potential solutions for your setting, why not speak to an expert at Briteyellow?


Contact Briteyellow here: https://www.briteyellow.com/contact

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