An Edinburgh company is working to install body scanning cameras at locations throughout Scotland in an attempt to help businesses re-open.
iFire UK, the firm installing the devices, has received thousands of orders across Scotland and the wider UK as companies attempt to return to some form of normality after the lockdown.
The cameras will be placed by building entrances, taking temperature readings via the thermal imaging camera from a persons’ forehead. The system will then issue a reading or light signal indicating whether a person is showing a high temperature.
David Boyle, the managing director at iFire UK, said: “We also have a people counting solution for retail outlets. With the people counting camera we have a monitor at the door displaying how many people are in the store and whether or not you’re allowed to enter.
“This saves companies thousands and doesn’t put staff at risk having to man the door. If someone enters when it says not to then it will trigger a voice-activated alarm saying they are not to enter and alerts staff.”
Several businesses in Scotland are already using the cameras, including the car company Peter Vardy, as well as contracts with one of Scotland’s major convenience stores hoping to have 300 installed in their shops, and 600 in a UK hotel chain.
The body scanning cameras are also being considered for pubs and bars as a way of allowing less stringent social distancing requirements once they can open again.
Boyle told the Edinburgh Evening News: “Now that people are realising that we are likely to open businesses in a couple of months, they are looking at how they can keep people safe.
“Factories and offices are having them installed across the country, as are restaurants. We are expecting the UK Government to say that some sort of screening procedure and monitoring is required.”
Mr Boyle added: “We think this sort of technology will be around for pretty much the next year at least. Some places are putting it in temporarily, some are putting them in permanently and fixed.
“The cameras don’t detect coronavirus, that we make clear, but it helps businesses counter it and I think you will see a lot more of them popping up.”
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Similar heat detection technology has recently been developed by Vodafone, designed to measure heat signatures in offices and get people in Britain back to work.
The thermal technology is supposedly accurate to within 0.3°C and takes less than half a second to scan a person’s body temperature.
Vodafone has already begun installing its latest technology at key sites. Anne Sheehan, business director at Vodafone UK, commented: “During this crisis, our role has been to keep the UK connected.
“Now, we want to help UK organisations get their people back to work while prioritising their safety.”