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Oct 15 2020

How can we adapt to and overcome the impact on our daily tasks caused by this recent pandemic? How can we begin to re-think and address the concept of a physical working space?

Through the augmentation of our perception.

As we have all witnessed, the advent of COVID-19 has exposed a fatal flaw – showing how even the simplest forms of human interaction can become the epicenter of a cascading global financial and social crisis.

Many sectors have felt the impact caused by the pandemic. Some studies note how companies have experienced a decline in business[1], while overall the top three perceived concerns are the safety of employees (71%), ensuring financial stability (47%) and cost optimization (44%).

As a response to the impact of the pandemic, national legislations have imposed different measures, such as fines for breaking Covid-19 rules – rules which range not only from imposed curfews, but also to limits on the number of people in a public space, and the enforcement of social distancing.

We are now at a crossroads: we have harnessed the available technological capacity to safeguard and protect our digital assets, but at the same time we have let our physical domain lag behind, unprepared for the challenges of a global, interconnected and constantly moving world.

The outcome? The economic and social difficulties experienced worldwide throughout 2020.

The aforementioned indicators support the assumption that future operations must be equipped with solutions that reassure not only employees and customers, but also investors, as to the feasibility of creating partnerships with a business that is sustainable and scalable in the face of adversity.

Shouldering its social and economic responsibility in the face of the pandemic, Fujitsu is introducing its Smart Counting solution. This solution consists of a 3D camera which is able to count people in an area/location autonomously.

  ImageFig. 1 – View from the perspective of the camera, noting the flow in and out at the point of entry

 

When mounted, these cameras can either control an area and/or specific points at an entry or exit. This enables real-time control over the population density of a given space and/or entry point. This solution does not identify people, as it does not record or store images, being GDRP compliant.

ImageFig. 2 – A sign at the store entry notes the number of people inside a store, with the red signal identifying that it is at full capacity and any increase in attendance is prohibited.

 

From a short-term perspective, and with the current situation worldwide, the visual cues have many (cumulative) applications such as:

    • Signage at entry points giving the store occupancy level and allowing/prohibiting entry
    • Providing an additional data set as a support system for internal teams
    • For population density control

This solution is not exclusive to the COVID-19 scenario. It enables:

    • Understanding population flows within a given area
    • Definition of standards of behavior (heat maps)
    • Occupancy forecast
    • Helping customers to plan their trip to an establishment thanks to knowing the occupancy level at a given moment

 Image Fig. 3 – A heat-map can be created based on the behavior of those in the store. This can be helpful in many ways; from the standpoints of logistics, marketing, safety and security etc.

 

The “as a service” model means that the solution will be scalable, offering the capacity to increase the number of cameras and control-zones measured, on demand. In the future, we expect to integrate different sets of functionality and capabilities, depending on the implementation requirements. We are aware of various technologies that can be integrated to offer further capabilities and strengths, and are currently scouting for partners to contribute additional strengths toward the uses of this solution.

In a data-driven society, we need to understand how we can address not only the virtual dangers posed to our conceptual and digital infrastructure such as the risks posed by DDoS and MitM attacks, but we also need to overcome the challenges that exist in our physical assets, and the spaces where we conduct our activities.

Analytics should serve not only as a tool of automation and research, but also as a form of augmentation of our senses and tools, allowing us to approach old and new issues in a more efficient, practical and competitive way. Together with artificial intelligence and machine learning, we can harness the augmentation of our senses toward benefiting a wide area of segments with this solution: spanning from hospitality to industrial segments, from banking to retail, from the health sector to the public sector.

When coupled with other Fujitsu solutions, such as our PalmSecure solution, the benefits for both employees, customers and business partners are endless, and can help to trigger a change in how we perceive our physical space as another extension of the digitized world. 



[1]55% noted that although they have experienced a decline, they have not laid off employees, while 14% of companies have been forced to partially shut down their businesses and lay off some employees.  

 

 

Marcos Martins

 

About the Author:

Marcos Martins

Product Manager for LIFEBOOK A Series, Mobile Accessories Portfolio and Future Workplace segment

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