Nature abhors a vacuum, and that generated by the need of businesses to respect hygiene and distancing rules generates feverish innovative activity. But what are these products worth and how can companies ensure their effectiveness?
Returning to the workplace is still only at a partial stage, during which companies must deal with a set of rules of sanitary hygiene and physical distancing. Some have organized shifts, others have kept their employees in telework, but all rely on IT and telecommunications technologies to maintain their activity and, and this is new, to respect the rules of distance and fight the spread of the virus.
In these times of behavioral adaptation for compliance with health rules, innovation is in full swing to invent the products, which everyone needs, to adapt and adapt their behavior to the new rules. Certainly, there is a whole family of classic technology products that can help maintain social distance in many ways. For example, collaborative and communication tools that allow employees to work remotely. Remote administration tools, infrastructure and applications that minimize the need for an on-site presence. The cloud and remote tools … In some cases, automation can be used to minimize the need for on-site staff. These are proven technologies and have been available for decades for some.
A new hi-tech market segment has appeared…
However, many essential tasks require on-site employees. And to meet the needs on site, many products have appeared in recent months. A whole market segment relating to covid-19 has been put in place. New products are announced daily, whether they’re wearable devices, smartphone apps or handheld devices and sensors and other position sensors that are said to help maintain a safe distance. The competition is fierce to position itself on this emerging market.
In a report titled Back in Business: Using Technology to Open During Covid-19, the US consultancy Lux Research explored existing solutions to determine a modus operandi for companies wishing to use it. “While these emerging technologies promise miraculous results, customers face certain challenges in choosing the right portfolio of solutions to implement, says Danielle Bradnan, the author of the report. The performance of many solutions remains to be verified, and several suppliers are making questionable claims regarding efficiency and regulatory compliance. And to top it all, there is little information on the cost, maturity and scalability of these solutions”
… But it is too recent to offer effective products
There are solutions like temperature remote sensing, but many of them are flawed. The same goes for contact tracking tags and antibody tests, which have also been touted as quick fixes, but the effectiveness of which has not been proven. Lux Research does not recommend them at this time. Finally, contact tracing is not directly useful in stopping the spread of the disease and is not very suitable for the population level, especially with very mobile populations.
In short, the market is not mature enough to see the emergence of reliable solutions. In this case, it is more than recommended to set up a rigorous product selection procedure and to carry out tests to ensure the acuity of the devices. The procedure is likely to be complex, since it is necessary to combine several products which cover the three areas of prevention: respect for distancing, that of hygiene rules and monitoring of employees’ health.
“Employers need to understand that these solutions are not a guarantee of safety, but a means of minimizing the risks for employees. While many emerging technologies promise to be useful, their performance and scalability have yet to be verified, “warns Danielle Bradnan.