Life in the new normal: Fighting COVID-19 with computer vision



TLDR: Imagine opening up your company app and seeing a big bold number on the home screen of the app. This number tells you the number of people (occupancy) already at the office premises, suggesting that you stay away until the office is less crowded. Imagine additional information like the distance between individuals (social distancing index) at the office and also the number of people who are wearing facemasks (or not). Now extend this to your favorite shopping destination, restaurants, hospitals, and other physical locations and you have the picture.


Urgent necessity to create employee trust and boost customer confidence


After weeks of shutdowns and remote working, businesses around the world are gradually resuming on-site operations. Many employees are eager to return to work as deconfinement begins in many parts of the world, but many are also worried about being able to do so safely. Proximity and duration of exposure vary across different businesses — the human interaction that we witness in airports, gyms, hotels is not the same that we expect to see at a school, day-care, or research lab (McKinsey).


Businesses across the globe would NEED TO implement products and services that adhere to the most rigorous health and safety conditions, across the full range of activities associated with their operations.


At RealValue, we are using Collective Intelligence (human + artificial intelligence) to define and enforce protocols for entry-exits into business premises. We have been busy building an AI-powered visual intelligence platform for some time now. The COVID-19 pandemic just made it more relevant than ever.


People across the globe have been forced to adapt quickly to the social distancing norms brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. The world seems to be eager for a relaxation of these rules, the restrictions might be around for some time to come. We anticipate mandatory face mask + social distancing regulations will be implemented in many countries and states to mitigate the second wave of this pandemic.


A powerful suite of visual intelligence solutions from RealValue will help in measuring these rules and thereby enable opening up businesses with confidence.


  • Detection of Face Masks

The Royal Society of Britain declared recently that masks “could be an important tool for managing community transmission”. This is not so much because they protect the wearer — the normal reason people may put them on in times of pestilence — but rather because they stop the wearer infecting others.


Individuals not following hygiene protocols set at different businesses around the use of protective face masks can be detected using our AI-enabled edge intelligence solutions — on fixed security cameras and android-based digital kiosks.


Our advanced AI-based detection technology is able to accurately detect objects in the camera’s field of view, classify them as humans, and determine whether the subject is wearing a mask (or not).


We won the #EUvsVirus hackathon challenge in April by demonstrating how our face-mask-detection technology can be used to open sensor-driven gates or notify security or operations teams. Our technology will support the conscious efforts of government and public health officials for wearing personal protective equipment.


Check out our website for more.


  • Detection of Social Distancing

Every municipality and physical businesses are eager to implement social distancing measures. Every part of office life is being re-examined in the era of Covid-19. When employees file back into their workplaces — many wearing masks — they will find the office transformed and new policies being put in place to ensure safety and hygiene.


For the safety of people working at various business premises — warehouses, healthcare clinics, and hospitals, and for any businesses looking for ways to be compliant with hygiene and safety regulations, RealValue visual intelligence can automatically detect, alert, and report social distancing data derived from existing security cameras. The AI monitors when the distance between two or more individuals falls under the recommended threshold and for how long and then shows that data nicely on a smart dashboard.


Facility operators can study traffic patterns, identify hotspots, and make adjustments based on their understanding of compliance levels. They can then use this data to further protect staff and customers by taking corrective action to educate employees, modify facility layouts, and eliminate high-density areas.


  • Occupancy Counting

Though the impact of COVID-19 is slowly fading in the EU, we see increasing numbers in other parts of the world. Many countries, due to unsustainable economic pressure, have removed all quarantine restrictions; borders and businesses are reopening everywhere eager to return to normalcy. It’s easy to forget that we’re still in the middle of a pandemic, till we see that those same places are now re-closing - they didn’t figure out a way to know and report on Occupancy inside their premises putting the lives of their employees and customers at risk.


Occupancy has always been an important safety metric, now it has become even more critical as it allows to manage traffic density by proxy. Our visual intelligence platform can be easily integrated with any security cameras and NVR to record traffic (ins/outs) and thereby understand the overall occupancy of the business premises with great accuracy. When coupled with the Social Distancing Index and Face Mask Detection, the solution suite provides the essential peace of mind for businesses in these times of uncertainty. Further, the occupancy data can easily be integrated into multiple other applications through API, allowing necessary stakeholders to check the live traffic numbers.


Play this all together


Imagine a food processing plant putting in strict policies for every employee to wear protective facemasks in any part of the facility except for the lunchroom. In this scenario, the Face Mask Detection + Social Distancing Index + Occupancy enables employee compliance across the working areas depending on the presence of cameras, etc. In the lunchroom, the face masks are removed but the facility wants to be sure of the social distancing norms being still followed. Any violation of the policies can be notified to the Facility Manager who can either take immediate action if necessary or share findings with the leadership team so they can take corrective measures such as reinforcing rules with more education and training.


Conclusion


Technology is not the proverbial panacea and should not be seen as the silver bullet. The pandemic has taken everyone by surprise and this is the time for business leaders across HR, Digital Transformation, and Facility Management to come together and put together a protocol that works for all employees and customers.


The rise of computer vision has opened up important questions about privacy and individual rights; our visual intelligence platform does not recognize individuals, and we urge anyone using such a system to do so with transparency and only with informed consent.


If any of these seems like something that could be used at your work or business, do not hesitate to drop a line at sayhello@realvalue.ai with subject line "Fighting COVID"



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