The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way a lot of people work. These days, many companies are having staff do their jobs from the safety of home rather than run the risks of having them return to an office setting. But while remote setups are working for some companies, they're not necessarily working for everyone. Some teams are suffering in the absence of in-person collaboration, and many people are starting to fall victim to work-from-home fatigue.
But still, companies can't afford the liability that might ensue if they were to gather people in the same area. New technology, however, might soon change that.
Could smart sensors restore office life?
An Israeli company named PointGrab has developed technology to help companies maximize their work space, in turn ensuring employees are property distanced. The company has developed smart sensors that can record the exact number and location of people in buildings and other public settings, like restaurants.
These sensors could play a key role in monitoring social distancing efforts by tracking how many people are in a building at once, how far apart they are from one another, and whether they're traveling in the same direction within a building or not. Office managers also can use their smart sensors to set up alerts for when employees get too close to one another or when there are too many people in the same room for comfort. And those parameters can be adjusted on an as-needed basis (since there may come a time when six feet of distance may no longer be the standard).
Now the one issue that might spring to mind with these sensors is privacy. But the sensors don't record images or identifying features. Instead, each individual registered by the system is represented by a dot on a dashboard, taking privacy concerns out of the equation.
Will companies begin to adopt smart sensors?
It's too soon to say. But these sensors could help some employers bring staff back to the office with fewer social distancing worries.
Should commercial landlords invest in smart sensors?
Installing smart sensors comes at a cost. Commercial landlords should consider making the switch rather than waiting for their tenants to shell out the money. If more companies get comfortable returning to an office, they're more likely to renew expiring leases.
Right now, office buildings are facing a serious vacancy crisis as companies start to rethink their long-term setups. And the more months those same companies operate on a fully remote basis, the greater the risk that they'll opt to stay remote for the cost savings involved. Commercial landlords can attempt to get ahead of that problem by investing in smart sensors, even though they may not be obligated in any way to do so.
Of course, smart sensors are useful outside of social distance policing -- they can also help building occupants make better use of their space. As such, an investment in smart sensors could pay off even once the pandemic is finally behind us.