More digital signage companies are betting technology investments in the next few months will be built around pandemic measures, and marketing products that see are solutions to mostly new problems.
The Connecticut-based solutions provider Reality Interactive – more known for interactive in retail – has started touting a thermal scanner/screen product aimed at providing access control, based on the health of the person wanting to get in to a shop, cafe or office.
To help us keep them safe, says the company, we are using our new Thermo-Scanner at all of our entrances. This product offers a critical first line of defense by instantly measuring body temperature without any human interaction. We are now offering you the opportunity to purchase this Thermo-Scanner screen from us directly.
The Thermal Mirror is a turnkey, plug-and-play solution that addresses the urgent need for businesses and employers to build consumer and employee confidence as the world goes back to work as stay-at-home orders are reduced or relieved throughout the United States.
Rick Mills, Chief Executive Officer, remarked, “Due to COVID-19, every single vertical we serve is facing the challenge of how to mitigate fears of safely visiting and returning to work, irrespective of industry. Our core business is built around technologies that inspire better customer experiences, and this is the most critical barrier brands and businesses are facing today. We felt an obligation to assist in addressing this concern, and we believe that the Thermal Mirror is an ideal solution. We’re able to put our digital integration experience to work, to wrap the software interface with a customized experience designed for a wide variety of commercial use cases. Moreover, we can capture analytics that help our clients meet their operational, compliance and HR requirements. We do not believe this is possible with other current off-the-shelf options.”
The Thermal Mirror leverages thermal technology, which captures infrared radiation from objects and creates an electronic image and results based on temperature differences. Thermal cameras garnered widespread use at airports in Asia after the SARS epidemic in 2003, but the cost has ranged between $5,000 and $20,000, making it cost prohibitive for use at scale. As the world grapples with COVID-19, Amazon and other global companies have begun using them as a faster, often more accurate means of taking employee temperatures. By integrating our thermal technology with an AI-enabled software platform powered by our partner, InReality, important functionality like response customization, analytics, networking and synchronizing of Thermal Mirror, anomaly alerts and compliance logs for legal audit trails become available.
What makes the Thermal Mirror a safe space solution – not just a product like many of the others that are popping up – is the Artificial Intelligence and impressive analytics capabilities behind it. Combined with the ability to integrate data with other cloud-based systems – and networked – this becomes an enterprise level solution that we believe elevates its position in the marketplace.
“How the Thermal Mirror is communicated, interacted with and woven into the overarching experience is imperative, as is the ability to customize, automate, audit and optimize its use,” commented Ron Levac, InReality Chief Executive Officer. “I believe combining InReality’s ability to capture and report data through a cloud-based solution, including integrations with HRIS, security, and other third-party platforms, with Creative Realities’ core expertise – CX design, deployment capabilities, and rock-solid field management and support – has created a fully turnkey offering.”
Laura Davis-Taylor, InReality Chief Strategy Officer, added that “CRI and InReality are technology companies, but this challenge starts with human psychology. The fact is, we don’t have all the facts. When perception is reality, this is one thing we can do now. It’s important that we’re sensitive; we don’t know how people and employees will respond to each new circumstance that comes about as a result of COVID-19. We see our responsibility as creating the most effective interaction design possible while working to meet compliance requirements. We believe that the CRI-InReality partnership allows us to design, develop and deliver a rapid solution at the speed and scale the marketplace requires at this very vulnerable time in our lives.”
You will see more and more of this stuff as signage companies look for opportunities that are only kinda sorta vaguely digital signage, but have that golden attribute of being tech that solves an immediate problem, and customers who want it now or soon.
This is commodity stuff out of China, in certain respects. I can get one on Alibaba for $780, for a single unit, not a container. I can’t speak for its pedigree or reliability, but you know there are others and we can assume companies over here have tested a few.
CRI, in particular, has worked with inReality to build off the base sensing capabilities by adding AI and analytics.
It’s a smart move and small solutions companies are in a better position to get things into the market than giant access control companies that would tend to need a bazillion Zoom meetings before they were ready to sell and ship something.
The other good thing is that this smells very much like the digital meeting room sign boom of 4-5 years ago – another product that was kinda sorta digital signage, but absolutely a problem-solver. I have spoken with numerous companies who confirmed my theory that those doorway signs were a “gateway drug” that led to them winning more conventional digital signage business, because they were known, approved vendors.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.