News & Updates

When Unprecedented Times Become The New Normal

12 June, 2020

Unprecedented times. It’s a phrase we've all heard in abundance through the coronavirus pandemic. And it’s true: there is no precedent for such a widespread and deadly outbreak within a mature globalized economy. The covid-19 and 1918 Spanish Flu pandemics may seem eerily similar, but the latter cost comparatively few jobs, hit an economy with less than half of its workforce in service industries (it’s 86% now), and relied on the snail’s pace of print media for critical public safety communications, all during the backdrop of World War I.

Thanks to today’s communications and technology, we are much better equipped to manage this crisis, given the political and social will. However, a speedy return to the world of crowded planes, packed concerts, and gratuitous handshaking is unlikely. This isn’t just a long haul we’re in for: it’s a paradigmatic shift, reshaped by our collective understanding of the consequences of global commerce in this Brave New (Bemasked) World. These unprecedented times are increasingly the new normal, but as we’ll see, technology equips us to face these challenges like never before.

Enough ink has been spilled on the ‘what’ of coronavirus and how to minimize transmission, but scant little on how we’ll address its economic and societal impacts in the long run. The second-order effects of the pandemic are incalculable at this point, but in preparing for the new normal, we can at least work with what we know and what we have.

What we know with glaring certainty is that people need to cover their faces. Besides vigorous and consistent handwashing, we must don personal protective equipment (PPE) in public places and businesses. Enforcement of and compliance with this very simple requirement varies widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but medical experts far and wide agree it is a cornerstone of effective containment.

What we have is technology, and the simplest solution to the largest problem we’re collectively facing is right at our doors.

Imagine a long-term care facility, perhaps one of the many most deeply hit by the virus. While outside contact is extremely limited or outright banned at most such facilities, people still need to go in and out, and this will obviously continue as reopenings get underway, the prevalence of the virus subsides, and people return to visit their beloved and vulnerable family members. But PPE will still be required well into the future. It’s the new normal.

So, how is this long-term care facility going to manage that requirement, especially in a world where uniform compliance is an impossible dream? There may be a nurse or attendant to ensure guests don PPE entering or exiting the facility, but what about elevators? What about washrooms? Individual suites? What about every critical control point across the facility where it would be too onerous and costly to station individual nurses or FTEs. What then?

Now imagine the same facility, but with basic tablets at critical control points, beside elevators and outside washrooms, for example. The tablets are loaded with an AI-powered app that quickly scans individual faces to ensure compliance with basic PPE requirements. If a mask is found, proceed; if not, well, you shall not pass. Simple as that.

Well, you don’t actually have to imagine. It’s already here, and its name is Greeter. This simple and accessible application’s predecessor has helped ensure compliance with similar PPE requirements at nuclear power plants, and now it’s poised to help companies all over the world manage the new normal simply and effectively.

And this article is just the beginning. Through the coming weeks, Greeter will be exploring all the simple, achievable, and cost-effective ways organizations in literally every industry can (and must) address this persistent threat and face the wild economic and operational realities of a post-covid world.

In the meantime, check out our products and industries pages to learn more about our solutions and find out how you can achieve PPE compliance simply, easily, and cost-effectively. With the right tools at our disposal, we’ll be well equipped to navigate this new normal together.

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Greeter is a product of Gradient Ascent, an applied Artificial Intelligence (AI) focused on health & safety in the healthcare and industrial sectors. Our mission is to keep people out of harm's way.

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