Physical Distancing Technologies (Summary)

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Physical Distancing Technologies (Summary)

Why Social Distancing Solutions Are Important

  • Social distancing technologies are used by organizations and individuals for a variety of different reasons based on the features they offer.
  • Some technologies assist users in avoiding large groups of people by identifying (or asking users to confirm) how busy/crowded locations are and providing alerts on locations with high numbers, while others give alerts, like vibrations or flashing signals, to users when they come into close proximity (about 6 ft) with other people. Some technologies allow users to identify if they want the system to provide an alert to others if they’ve tested positive for the virus, while others simply measure distance, duration, and other data (like temperature) of users and those around them.

Snapshot of Social Distancing Technologies

  • Social distancing technologies can be segmented into those that use e-tokens, are app-based, software-based, or device-based, as well as technologies that offer complete solutions. These solutions utilize Bluetooth technologies, geo-locations, radio waves, sensors, IoT connections, APIs, deep learning/machine learning, artificial intelligence, speakers/microphones, and other creative solutions to help encourage and track social distancing.
  • For e-tokens, companies like ITT Bombay have developed a solution that stores and markets can use to alert their customers to when they open, when the best times to shop (and not shop) are, and when they can pick up their orders by alerting them to their places in the queue.
  • App-based technologies can be used on desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices (though not all for all apps). mContain uses location data and Bluetooth technology to identify crowded locations and offer maps and solutions to users to help with social distancing choices, while also alerting users to how many people came into close proximity with them. Crowdless anonymizes data while tracking mobile device movements, with users entering data about the crowds at their locations. 6 Feet Away helps users see how far away they are from one another to help them maintain social distancing.
  • Corona 100m is a self-check mobile app required by individuals arriving in Korea; it records daily health status for the two weeks following their entrance into the country. Voxel51 is a software-based social distancing technology that measures physical distances through advanced machine learning analysis of the density of humans in a particular location.
  • Device-based technologies are tools or wearables (like smart watches or wristbands), some of which are paired with apps or are connected to the IoT via Bluetooth or LTE.
  • The Virus Defended Distance Reminder Smart Wristband uses sensors to gauge the need for proximity alerts, and sends a warning signal to users when they are coming closer than 6-feet from another person, while Halo, Bump, and Tsingoal also serve the same functionality (through a connected wristband). The Covid Watch tracks users and who they come into contact with, and provides alerts to individuals who’ve encountered someone who has tested positive, while another smartwatch, GearUp, offers similar messaging and alert technologies.
  • Other wearable technologies, like the Triax Proximity Device, Sonarax, PathFindr, TraceTag, Social Distancing Keeper, and The Social Distancer utilize Bluetooth or are connected via the IoT to help individuals practice (and ensure) social distancing, as well as helping them avoid spreading the virus.
  • Two complete solutions include Pervasive and Smart City Technology. Pervasive utilizes thermal sensors and AI applications to monitor entire situations; for the users and those with whom they come into contact, the device measures temperature, proximity of person, and analyzes use of masks (personal facial protection). Smart City Technology is a dashboard solution that collects data on individuals and the city in which they live (and all residents within) through a vast network of partner sensors, while also measuring traffic, congestion, car occupancy, parking, and pedestrian flow.

Overview of Applications

  • Social distancing technologies have a variety of applications for individuals and companies/organizations to utilize in helping to track, monitor, and encourage social distancing. For individuals, these technologies help people know when to avoid certain areas, know when they might have been exposed to the virus, and understand how to practice social distancing safely. For companies/organizations, these technologies allow for monitoring and tracking of employees and patrons, as well as offering insights into the safety of local areas.
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