Businesses in South Africa and across the globe have had to change the way they operate due to COVID-19 using a ‘low touch/high tech’ economy to mitigate health risks.
Nashua found itself ahead of the curve as its own existing business solutions made returning to the workplace a safer decision for both staff and customers.
Nashua CEO Barry Venter says: “We have been focused on providing seamless technology solutions for several years, which means we were inadvertently already well-positioned for many of the new 2020 business necessities, including remote working.”
And where they needed to adapt, they have been agile and innovative: “This included coming up with smart ways for service technicians to get approval or sign off from customers while still adhering to the social distancing rule – our field service engineers are now able to close off their customer calls by taking a picture of their customers instead of requiring signed paperwork.”
To protect staff from frequently touched surfaces like the doors at the entrance to the office, Nashua’s access control solution uses a combination of biometric, facial and tag authentication technology to manage access control. With algorithms and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology, the system has set the international benchmark in user-friendly facial recognition that also allows seamless control of staff
This solution replaces conventional keys and passwords and is ideal for any need, from a simple single-door access to a large corporate solution for multiple access areas, as well as real-time reporting.
Over and above the personal protective equipment recommended by government, such as masks, gloves and hand sanitiser – the company turned to technology in the form of thermal screening solutions to carry out preliminary screening to identify elevated skin temperatures.
“As staff approach our entrance points, the thermographic cameras immediately detect whether individuals have elevated skin temperatures and are wearing masks. Alerts are sent in real-time via audible alarms or email or sms notifications.
“Fever screening thermographic cameras then use advanced detectors and algorithms to identify elevated skin-surface temperatures without requiring physical contact. The device is connected to a PC, smartphone or network video recorder and triggers an alarm when it detects an elevated skin temperature above the predetermined threshold.”
The big advantage is that this technology permits temperature detection in groups of people, so if several people enter the building at once, as happens when people arrive for work, it can detect temperatures simultaneously – there’s no need for queues.
The system also provides accurate data logs and incorporates AI technology that ensures it doesn’t send a false alarm for someone carrying a hot beverage, or who has been traveling to work with the car heater on high.
The use of collaborative tools like Microsoft Teams have become critical business applications literally overnight. They assist in keeping the ratio of staff in office to remote workers balanced to adhere to social distancing requirements whilst maintaining a seamless work experience.
“Teams allow us to collaborate in realtime with voice and video meetings, file sharing and instant messaging. Teams intelligent presence capability follows users from desktop to mobile automatically,” adds Venter.
“Implementing these types of technologies make for good health and safety practice in general and supports our new ways of working to stay relevant to our customers.”
Venter believes COVID-19 will continue to disrupt how we work – at an unprecedented rate of change: “Our staff feel safe and our customers know we can continue to service them because we are using tried and tested solutions.”