People Flow Management: Technologies to Secure Guest Safety

International travel constraints, a long summer of lockdown, and the gradual lifting of government-enforced restrictions have combined to form a boom in local travel. But businesses everywhere are struggling to understand how to reopen to visitors while adhering to ever-changing safety guidelines and catering to shifting customer behavior.
4 min read
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By Andrew Sanders
Vice President, Travel, Transportation & Hospitality
People Flow Management: Technologies to Secure Guest Safety

Hospitality companies and local attractions - resorts, museums, - as well as smaller businesses - like restaurants, hair salons, etc. - must all adapt to the COVID-19 world in order to survive. Social distancing guidelines, crowd control, and increased hygiene standards have become top priority, and, in order to continue operations, all businesses, large and small, must ensure their guests are safe and follow mandated social distancing regulations. Unfortunately, this can place an unwelcome burden on staff and business owners, especially among smaller enterprises.

How Technology Can Help

Fortunately, we live in an innovative digital age, and there exist many technologies (new and old) that can help businesses address their new priorities. These technologies include:

1. Appointment Scheduling Software

Online scheduling software can help business owners and organizations reopen by managing occupancy and following (potentially changing) local safety guidelines. Smart visitation management tools have the capability to:

  • help maintain social distancing guidelines
  • manage priority slots for the elderly and frontline workers
  • enable contactless payment and contactless customer check-in
  • improve customer interaction via omni-channel communications
  • calm guest anxiety and deliver better experiences.

2. Crowd Management Systems

Crowd management is crucial to reopening larger venues. Crowd management systems can help state governments, local agencies and organizers of events hold mass gatherings while obeying safety protocols in an effective and efficient manner. These systems can:

  • carry out crowd congestion analyses
  • identify quick exits with appropriate signage
  • help destinations to disperse visitors through route maps, guided trails, and push notifications
  • perform public announcements
  • limit crowd density and crowd size in any area.

3. Indoor Mapping Solutions

It is incumbent on businesses to enable their guests to navigate their premises safely. This means minimizing personal touch points, directing traffic to avoid close contact with other patrons, and eliminating the ability for groups to gather. Indoor mapping systems digitally position people and objects inside offices and venues, using a building’s floor plans, indoor positioning systems (IPS), and other private data to build a comprehensive map. A good indoor mapping solution must also account for the need to move in and out of the space, as people arrive and leave. Seamless navigation around a business environment can be helpful in a wide variety of situations:

  • to enable social distancing
  • to avoid crowds
  • to reassure customers
  • to assist in an emergency.

4. Biometric Scanning

Biometrics are physical or behavioral characteristics that can be used to digitally identify a person. This includes fingerprints, facial patterns, voice, or typing cadence, all of which are considered unique and therefore can ensure accurate identification, especially when used together. These biometrics can grant access to systems, devices or data, and their utility has been shown throughout the COVID crisis. Here are just a few examples of their use in practice:

  • In the United States, threat detection screening company Athena Security (whose system previously detected guns) now offers a "Fever Detection COVID-19 Screening System." This deploys "artificially intelligent thermal cameras" to detect fevers and alert customers to the presence of someone who may be carrying the coronavirus. Athena is pitching its product to grocery stores, hospitals and voting locations, and is currently deploying it at government agencies, airports and Fortune 500 companies.
  • dermalog, a biometrics company that makes fingerprint, iris and facial recognition technology, has now added a feature to determine temperature, and is pitching this as a new security feature to companies.
  • the Thai government is already using Dermalog's technology as part of its border control system to identify potential incoming COVID cases. Telpo is launching temperature-sensing systems as part of its facial recognition technology, which works even if individuals are wearing masks.
    • Conclusion

      Travel is going to keep changing and evolving, and new requirements will continue to emerge as businesses adapt to the new normal. The technologies listed above, among others, can help you manage customer flow and customer safety more efficiently - and this may mean the difference between survival and failure during these uncertain times. You will need to adjust your processes to remain open anyway, and partnering with a trusted technology partner to do so is vital to ensuring efficiency and compatibility.

      Stay in touch for more insights about the travel, transport and hospitality industries, and sign up for upcoming online events at Travel Media Hub.

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