Fact Vs. Fiction: Using Thermal Cameras to Detect COVID-19 Symptoms

  • Companies are interested in a quick and scalable way to screen employees, visitors, and contractors for an elevated temperature (above 100.4°F) as they enter facilities.
  • Thermal imaging cameras are being considered by companies as a return-to-work strategy or a way to maintain productivity for critical personal.
  • JCC Video Security Systems Team has conducted extensive research and has determined that most thermal imaging solutions are often not viable for accurate elevated body temperature detection, which may or may not be a symptom of COVID-19.

Thermal cameras: fact versus fiction?

The sudden appearance of “COVID detection” and “fever identifying” cameras and software have created a significant amount of confusion in the marketplace. Few organizations have had a reason to explore a solution like this in the past, and companies are making buying decisions based on claims that have limited testing for the proper scope and scale of the solution’s deployment. 

There are only a few FDA-approved, temperature-sensing thermal cameras and software solutions available in the market today, and they have typically served the pharmaceutical and biochemical vertical markets. An FDA-approved thermal camera temperature solution is governed by ISO13154, which sets the standard for the deployment, implementation, and operational guidelines for identifying febrile humans using a screening thermograph. These installations carry a high cost but have extreme value in the right environments and applications. The JCC Video Security Systems Team has identified and is able to support and partner with solutions that are FDA-approved if it is a customer requirement.

Organizations looking to deploy a more cost-effective solution for a commercial application have extensive options, and again, will get varying results based on the type of environment, the installation methodologies, and the claims versus the actual performance of the sensor and software being utilized. JCC Video Security Systems team has identified thermal cameras and software that we are confident can provide a starting place for frictionless and scalable temperature detection for commercial applications:

  • Deterring employees, visitors, or contractors who feel the need to go to work since they know they will be screened and turned away.
  • Proactively enhancing company safety and responsibility by preventing transmission from sick workers and screening others who may not know they have a fever.
  • Provides a starting place to develop a process for futher screening and potential removal of sick individuals.

After extensive research and disqualifying multiple applications currently on the market, JCC Video Security Systems Team has identified the following two solution providers that may be applicable in the correct environment.

What technology is available?

Current Lead Time: 2-4 Weeks

Fully touchless, the scanner combines data from two natural light cameras and a dedicated thermal imager to determine the body temperature of a passing individual within 0.1 seconds and to an accuracy of ±0.3°C (±0.5°F). It is designed for use in either indoor or outdoor environments. It has tested to operate across wide ranges in temperature and humidity as well as in extremely low light conditions with no measurable degradation in accuracy.

It can be configured as a standalone solution or integrated as a component in an existing personnel processing station. The ZT-BTTS is equipped to send alerts in multiple forms. It is WiFi enabled and currently supports all major communication protocols.

Current Lead Time: 2-6 Weeks

A complete thermal imaging system capable of identifying within 0.5 +/- °F with its own software. The system is complete with a NVR and could integrate into an overall security ecosystem over time, in order to create a unified notification system pairing credentials with thermal scans.

Realize rapid remote non-contact human body temperature measurement with dense crowds. High efficiency, long distance and wide coverage with automatic early warning mechanism, saving manpower and reducing the risk of cross-infection

Shanghai Railroaod

Hangzhou Metro