A Guide to Creating Safer Workplaces with IoT

By AOPEN Solutions

The higher hygiene standards introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic are here to stay. From more regular cleaning to social distancing and continued remote working, workspaces face a new reality as they reopen. Offices, hospitality venues, shops and other public spaces will all need to adapt to a “new normal”.

Hygiene is not only about meeting regulatory requirements. It’s also important for customer and staff trust. At least 50% of respondents surveyed by McKinsey expect stores to follow guidelines that will help keep both customers and employees safe.

As well as setting strict hygiene policies, technology can also play a key role in creating safer workspaces.


1. Hybrid working & teaching

Video conferencing use soared during the pandemic and even as countries emerge from lockdown, remote working and learning isn’t going away. Hybrid working offers huge advantages from time and cost savings to ensure better hygiene and social distancing in workplaces and classrooms. In future, people with colds/minor ailments will be encouraged to work from home, rather than come into the office: helping their recovery, as well as preventing the spread of viruses throughout the workplace.

But a key challenge is ensuring that remote participants don’t get overlooked, and are seen and heard correctly during videoconferences. Poor video and audio can lead to communication difficulties and “Zoom fatigue” as people struggle to understand one another. Having a portable, professional-grade technology is vital.

AOPEN’s KP180 is a 180° viewing angle camera with 4K resolution for video conferencing or remote learning.

  • A 2-in-1 device with dual 5MP wide-angle cameras, it can capture a full 180° so that everyone in the room can be part of the meeting.
  • The entire whiteboard is viewable for remote learning, and the instructor is tracked automatically using the on-board camera intelligence.
  • The KP180 can also be mounted in a range of ways to suit different spaces and setups, such as on the top or bottom of a screen, or mounted to a small tripod.


2. Set clear hygiene policies and reminders

Optimum hygiene standards can only be met if people comply with requirements – machines can’t do it alone. Businesses will need to remind staff to keep up personal hygiene, providing hand sanitation stations along with information posters and reminders. This can be done through corporate dashboarding. This is a centrally managed network of signage and touchscreen devices that display business dashboards in an enterprise setting.

AOPEN provides smart, networked, interactive digital signage that makes it easy to display dynamic information and messaging throughout an organisation: whether a retail space, school or workplace. Devices are centrally managed and can be instantly repurposed, for example switching from a Power BI visualisation to a company announcement.

  • Networks of digital, interactive, IOT-ready screens are centrally managed and remotely operated
  • Smart sensors can detect viewers and dynamically update messaging
  • Screens also record touch and engagement data for analytics

Digital signage has seen a huge rise in use before COVID — even more so now due to its convenience. Smart screens communicate essential information, provide contact-free customer interaction and check-in, and help create safer environments. There are benefits for every industry and sector, from business and government to education and leisure.


3. Automated, AI-powered cleaning

On top of existing cleaning schedules, specific surfaces will need to be cleaned more regularly. Many of these, such as light switches or doorknobs, were likely overlooked in the pre-COVID era. Now all “high contact” surfaces will need to be cleaned when they reach certain thresholds. Technology can not only identify where high-contact surfaces are, but also monitor how frequently and how effectively they are cleaned.

AOPEN offers the SAMi solution, a surface monitoring feature created by meldCX. This is an AI system, powered by AOPEN’s advanced digital engines including the DE5500 and DE7600, which “digitises cleaning” by generating a heat-map of touched surfaces, sending out alerts of exactly when and where extra cleaning is needed:

  • Cameras monitor surfaces, using AI to produce a heat-map of human contact
  • When critical levels are reached, a digital manifest is created and notifications sent
  • Cameras then monitor the cleaning process to ensure compliance

As well as delivering better compliance and safety, SAMi ensures that resources aren’t wasted on unnecessary cleans, or the wrong surfaces being cleaned. Each room can be viewed in real-time through the SAMi dashboard, and thresholds can be for individual areas. An accompanying mobile app for cleaning staff provides exact details of an assignment, identifying the specific high touch surfaces that need attention.


4. Protective surfaces and finishes

With requirements for higher sanitation practices remaining elevated, anti-bacterial fabrics and finishes will see increased use. Antimicrobial screen protectors will be important, particularly for touch-devices used individually and publicly, such as information screens and menus.

AOPEN has partnered with meldCX to offer Kastus®’s patented antimicrobial screen protector for all our fixed screen devices. Its applied glass surfaces eliminate up to 99.99% of harmful bacteria and viruses, including COVID-19. It’s also hydrophilic, making cleaning easy and reducing the need for chemical cleaning agents.

  • An ultra-thin, invisible coating is applied, including an anti-fingerprint feature
  • Laboratory tests show it eliminates 99.9% of harmful bacteria on glass surfaces, including coronavirus
  • It’s easy to clean and works 24/7 for the lifetime of the product

To find out how our solutions can help your business be COVID-safe, get in touch with us for a free consultation!

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