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How to Enforce Physical Distancing with Technology

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How to Enforce Physical Distancing with Technology

Posted by Advanced Mobile Group on Oct 19, 2020 10:35:02 PM

While the term “social distancing” is the common parlance we all use and hear every day during the pandemic, the CDC also uses “physical distancing” with the same definition – “keeping a safe space – currently defined as at least 6 feet – between individuals from different households.” Given our focus is always on the workplace, we’ve been using “physical distancing” and will continue to do so. But how do you enforce it at the workplace? If there has been one thing that the recent spikes and the difficulty of the last seven months have proved is that the discipline required to eliminate workplace disruptions has been difficult to maintain on a voluntary basis.

So how can a business enforce “physical distancing”? Like most of our Touchless Warehouse solutions, technology has some answers – some better than others, and none are perfect, yet. But here are a few of the solutions we’ve seen or worked with that will help you get there.

Solutions That Keep Us Apart

Software As A…Separator? – If getting something in place quickly and easily and without breaking your budget, how would it look? While you could operate like some museums do – with a human in every room keeping an eye on all the people and the exhibits – that would be cost-prohibitive. Like many of the easiest and quickest solutions out there, we start with software. What would make a software only solution attractive?

  • Easy to deploy, manage and report with201020 How to Enforce Physical Distancing with Technology BLOG 1a
  • No need for expensive hardware additions or upgrades
  • Doesn’t require being on site or extensive contact to deploy
  • Provides an ROI relative to the cost of quarantining staff

Zebra Motionworks has a new product that fits this profile called “Proximity”. Its biggest advantage is that it works on your existing Zebra Android devices. By adding Proximity to your Zebra portfolio, you get a quick leap into enforcing physical distancing, and a tool that comes with a Dashboard to report “Proximity Events”, “Device Health Checks” and more. By recording “proximity events” it helps you isolate and prevents potential quarantine situations, but does so while also following legal requirements for privacy.

Learn more about Zebra’s new “Proximity” tool here.

Full Coverage for Everyone if you don’t currently use Zebra devices, or have only a small percentage of your teams equipped with one but want ALL floor or site staff to be part of your physical distancing enforcement, then a more robust solution that includes a dedicated hardware element is a better option.

Options like this would require unique devices for each employee, gateway devices that would detect employees presence, interactions, and the durations of those actions in order to set up alarms based on the parameters you set for distance and duration of exposure.

In addition, it would also require being integrated with a software solution designed to manage these devices and report on them.

Triax Technologies out of Connecticut was in the fortunate position of having a similar solution already in place BEFORE 2020 (see our previous article on “RFID Applications for Employee Safety”. Their “Spot-r Platform” was already operating in the construction industry, deployed as a safety device that could ensure everyone is accounted for during safety incidents. When the pandemic came around, they took the system to the next level and evolved it to support the unique new requirements of the COVID era with “Proximity TraceTM“, which builds on all the above features and also includes Contact Tracing.

201020 How to Enforce Physical Distancing with Technology BLOG 3a

When you deploy Proximity Trace, Triax initially maps your site, installs and monitors network hardware, and conducts an initial system administrator and end-user training.

Here is a short video that demonstrates how it works:

When you deploy Proximity Trace, Triax initially maps your site, installs and monitors network hardware, and conducts an initial system administrator and end-user training.

Is It Really Optional?

Seven months into the crisis, and with trends in the US worsening – again (with over 30 states seeing spikes in infections again at this writing), and the prospect that there won’t be any return to “normal” for perhaps at least through next Summer, it is probably a good time to start researching these and other options for managing not only enforcement of social distancing in your workplace, but also for Contact Tracing and other related processes.

In 2021, we are expecting to see more options for this type of solution, in addition to improvements and more creativity in those already available to us.

What solutions – digital or otherwise, have you seen that have potential? Feel free to share with us.


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