Safe Reopenings with Bluetooth Beacon & Location Services in Corporate Real-Estates
The COVID 19 pandemic turned the world upside down, affecting the global economy and many diverse businesses. Many of them have turned to remote work, others had to shut down and hope that they would be able to stay afloat as a company. Alternating between exposing people to the risk of COVID-19 or the effects of the economic collapse, the decision to start reopening businesses was made. However, with this agreement came new safety standards and guidelines for managers that have disrupted the way they think about workplace safety and employee well-being.
Tracking employee interactions, ensuring social distancing, monitoring symptoms and sanitizing facilities are some of the strategies that can prevent the spread of the virus in workplaces. For very small companies maintaining these health standards manually may be sufficient, but when it comes to bigger corporate buildings it is impossible and can be a never-ending task with unsatisfactory results.
Therefore, many businesses have started to implement location-based solutions that gather necessary data to decrease the risk of COVID-19 spread among workers and ensure safe reopenings.
Having real-time insights into the movements of employees and their interactions is key when it comes to identifying infection chains early on and preventing venues from shutting down. But real-time location systems are not a brand new technology. Before the COVID 19 pandemic, real-time employee tracking was commonly used for job clocking automation, building evacuation or employee distress & workplace injury. And as new challenges come to the forefront, location-based technologies have filled the gap and provided us with new solutions that can prevent businesses from the COVID-19 outbreaks and make employees more confident about returning to work.
But what exactly are location services?
Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) or indoor positioning systems, as the name suggests, are used for identifying and tracking the location of people or assets. This may seem similar to GPS systems, but RTLS is updated to more modern tech standards and capabilities and used mainly in indoor environments.
The increased visibility into people and object movements provided by real-time location systems is key when it comes to improving efficiency and safety. Managers enabled with actionable insights can more easily identify where exactly inefficiencies are and make data-driven decisions to remove them. RTLS can also improve worker safety when used for evacuation monitoring or the location of personnel in case of an emergency. Want to learn more about how RTLS transform major verticals? Download the guide now>
How can location-based systems help in the post-Covid world?
The health sector and corresponding stakeholders in the government and economic sectors have given the green light to reopen various sectors of the economy that cannot survive in a remote working model for an extended period. To enhance employee and customer safety, social distancing and contact tracing are paramount.
Social distancing refers to maintaining sufficient distance between individuals to reduce the risk of viral transmissions. As a rule of the thumb, the minimum distance is six feet, which should be maintained in any social set up at any given time. Social distancing also extends to the practice of staying at home to reduce the number of contacts as a way of protecting people whose working from home strategies are no longer feasible.
Contact tracing refers to the process of identifying, assessing, and isolating people who have been in close contact with an infected person. Contact tracing is an extremely labor-intensive process that involves getting in touch with a list of contact persons to assess the extent of the exposure. Due to the level of stigmatization for COVID-19 positive patients, contact-tracing information needs to be stored securely to ensure all contact persons receive immediate attention to curb the further spread of the virus.
Shutting down and sanitizing an entire building can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars a day. And as major sanitization responses have already affected revenue and processes of many diverse companies, real-time location systems can help by identifying where the infected person spent time so there’s no need to shutdown and sanitize the entire building.
WHO states that COVID19 droplets can land on surfaces and stay there for up to 72 hours. And as door handles or pin pads are a hotspot for bacterias, no-touch access can be a great way to decrease the spread of the virus. Real-time location systems can simply recognize the badge your employee is wearing and open the door each time someone walks through an access point. Instead of the Bluetooth LE badge, there is a possibility to use smartphone-based contactless access as well.
According to QIMA Survey, 9 in 10 businesses report being affected by the Covid-19 epidemic and only 4% of businesses consider themselves prepared for an event like the Covid-19 outbreak. It shows that now, more than ever, we need to take advantage of technologies to ensure workplace safety and employee well-being.
Challenges around mobile-based contact tracing
Distinct from social distancing, a behavioral impediment, contact tracing is key to preventing mass infection in the workplace and is now a measure available for employers to increase employee safety and reduce the adverse effects of the pandemic on business continuity. With a second wave looming and no clear end in sight along with mounting pressure for reopening America, we are seeing more businesses introducing various mobile-based and device-based contact tracing solutions, in which Bluetooth™ technologies are playing a key role.
Contact tracing in the word of mobile devices
The World Health Organization has identified contact tracing as the biggest challenge in curbing the spread of the coronavirus. Contact tracing entails identifying and contacting all the persons an infected patient interacted with within 14 days prior to testing positive. Doing this manually is the biggest challenge for health professionals, making it nearly impossible to control the virus. With technology devices and location tracking technologies, app-based contact tracing applications through Bluetooth low energy radio signals have been developed, making it easier for users to get real-time notifications in the event of contact with an infected person.
Common misconceptions and pitfalls to avoid
Despite the increased attention that BLE beacons have received from the tech world, beacons are yet to go mainstream since businesses have major concerns regarding their security. While data breaches around credit cards have tormented businesses for years, data security concerns surrounding beacons are still new. In addressing the security misconceptions about beacons, it is important to realize that beacons from reliable sources such as Kontakt.io are secure but require a security mechanism appropriate for the concerned assets. With the increased data privacy laws, beacons do not collect data from consumers without their consent. Adopting beacons within your organization does not breach privacy laws since users control their privacy by granting or rejecting permission to apps.
Technology cannot prevent the onset of a pandemic but it can offer risk mitigation strategies to curb the spread of the pandemic. At Kontakt.io, we recognize the impact of COVID-19 on businesses, providing real-time location solutions through BLE beacons. By adopting beacons within your business enterprise, it will be easy to reopen while keeping the spread of the virus at bay. If you want to learn more about how location-based services can solve current challenges and help you reopen your workplace safely while unlocking new business opportunities, make sure to join our webinar or contact us.