A person infected with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) infects an average of 2.5 other people within five days. You do not need to be a mathematician to realize that early detection of infected people is key to successful pandemic containment.
The aim of effective containment strategies is therefore not so much to reduce the number of absolute cases as it is to extend the time frame within which they occur.
Without effective containment measures, the virus spreads rapidly and is beyond the capacity of the health care system. However, if infection rates can be minimized through early detection and rapid, targeted identification of further infections, cases will continue to occur over a longer period of time and remain within the capacity of the health care system.
Identifying, testing and results
For example, the goal of many countries is to carry out as many Corona tests as possible to quickly identify infected people. It is then necessary to identify and reach potentially-infected people and isolate them in quarantine. This is a tried and tested procedure. But this method also costs valuable time in the fight against the virus and has many unknowns. The determination of a concrete test result alone sometimes takes up to 48 hours due to limited laboratory capacity. Added to this is the imprecise and slow procedure for determining contact persons. Or do you still remember exactly who and where you shook hands with in the last ten days - and could you provide information on this?
Security technology to the rescue
When it comes to the time factor, security technology can be a great help. Thermal imaging cameras and temperature sensors, for example, can help to detect a person with elevated body temperatures. Fever can also be one of the symptoms in those infected with the Coronavirus. At neuralgic points such as airports and train stations, or at entrances to hospitals, thermal imaging cameras can quickly reveal which people have fever. Presumably infected people can be easily separated and asked about other symptoms. Physical security technology can make a great contribution here.
Dr. Frank Gillert, a professor at the University of Applied Sciences in Wildau, Germany states, however, as one of the leading scientists for logistics-centric security research, he demands "rapid innovation in dealing with situations like COVID-19 should be a priority". He sees enormous potential in the possibilities of IT and artificial intelligence; "We should use the disruptive changes that are currently taking place and that are challenging global orders to strengthen the significance in IT infrastructure development and also in security technology development.“
The goal in a global crisis
And he is right: In global crises such as the Corona pandemic, security-related deficits become apparent and space is created for technical innovations. The goal of governments and companies is to restore security and save human lives as quickly as possible.
The German data analytics powerhouse G2K, for example, has developed a Corona Detection & Containment System (CDCS) that is ready for immediate use in record time. Detection takes place in combination with AI-supported data analysis to specifically identify virus hotspots and distribution routes, as well as to identify other potentially infected persons.
When developing the system, the focus was on two questions: How do I detect a suspected infected person in crowded environments and even more importantly, how do I quickly and comprehensively determine the person's contacts and previous whereabouts, and find correlations and patterns in this information? The data experts of the Berlin-based company found the answer in the combination of physical security technology and their existing data analytics platform.
The G2K system
The system is based on G2K's scalable IoT platform "Situational Awareness Builder" (SAB), which is already in use in several projects worldwide and sets standards in process automation and process optimization, including security management.
As soon as a person with fever is detected by the system, he or she can be immediately screened to avoid contact with other people and thus prevent possible new infections, i.e. to interrupt the chain of infection.
For this purpose, stationary thermal imaging cameras or smartphones equipped with a temperature sensor accessory can be used. The potentially infected person must now be registered and referred to a doctor or hospital for further specific diagnostic measures. The entire process is covered by a mobile G2K application.
A combination of security and medicine
The platform can bring together available hospital capacity, infection reports, movement and contact profiles and provide an excellent picture of the source of infection. Thus, medically necessary isolations can be implemented quickly.
At the same time, infected patients can use the app to document their recovery and become actively involved. All this data is centrally managed and analysed, using deep learning methods. This provides crisis managers with a single monitoring, control and resource management tool that enables immediate action to be taken to combat the spread of the virus and gives officials full transparency on the status of the pandemic.
Karsten Neugebauer, founder and CEO of the company behind the solution, explains his commitment as follows "A few weeks ago we too were faced with increasing difficulties due to the Corona crisis. As we have a strong presence in Europe in particular, we had to struggle with postponed project starts and limited resources". But instead of burying their heads in the sand, G2K's dedicated team decided to declare war on the virus."
"In our entrepreneurial duty, we, therefore, decided to use our available technology and equip it to fight COVID-19. Our team has been working day and night over the last few weeks to expand our software platform to enable us to contain the pandemic quickly and effectively. Politicians must now immediately push ahead with the unbureaucratic implementation of prevention and control measures such as our CDCS to ensure the stability of our public systems," demands Karsten Neugebauer.
The pandemic continues
As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads from continent to continent, researchers around the world are working to develop antidotes to the virus. As long as this has not been found, the spread of the virus must be slowed down internationally. Only by this can system-relevant infrastructure be held consistently.
Combining modern physical security technology with platform technology and artificial intelligence provides an excellent possibility to slow down the current and for sure, future pandemics.