How is Technology Revolutionizing Coronavirus Tracking?

How is Technology Revolutionizing Coronavirus Tracking?

By Gov CIO Outlook | Monday, October 12, 2020

With the world being massively hit by the pandemic, governments are using various tracking methods.

Fremont, CA: As the world is in the thick of the pandemic, governments deploy their cocktails of tracking methods. These methods include device-based contact tracing, thermal scanning, wearables, drones, and facial recognition technology. It is essential to acknowledge how those tools and technologies function and how governments are utilizing them to track the spread of the coronavirus and the movements of their citizens.

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The utilization of wristbands or GPS ankle monitors to monitor specific individuals is one method cribbed from law enforcement and the medical field. Sometimes, these monitors are paired with smartphone apps that differentiate from traditional contact tracing apps in that they are meant to identify a person and track their movements mainly. In health care, patients who are discharged might be given a wristband or other wearable device equipped with smart technology to monitor their vitals. This is specifically ideal for older people and those who live alone. Additionally, law enforcement has been using ankle monitors to ensure that people under house arrest abide by the court orders. 

Thermal scanning

Thermal scanning has been utilized as a simple check at entry points, such as airports, military bases, and businesses of different kinds. The thought behind it is that a thermal scan can catch anyone who is feverish, to identify those who are potentially stricken with COVID-19.

Thermal scanners range from a small handheld device to the larger and more expensive multi-camera systems. They can and have been installed on the drones that fly around an area to hunt for feverish individuals who might need to be hospitalized or quarantined.

Facial recognition and other AI

The most invasive type of tracking includes facial recognition and other forms of AI. There is an obvious use case there. One can track many people all at once and continue to track their movements as they are scanned again and again, gathering huge amounts of data on who is sick, where they are, who they’ve been in contact with, and where they’ve been. Enforcing a quarantine order becomes easier, more accurate, and more effective.

AI will also be used within workplaces as companies try to restart operations in a post-quarantine world safely. But deploying facial recognition systems during the pandemic raises another issue: they tend to struggle with masked faces, significantly reducing their efficacy.

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