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July 24, 2020


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Thermal imaging

Things to consider when using thermal imaging for temperature screening

As society adapts to its new realities, both during and following the current public health crisis, innovative technological approaches to the issue of workplace and public confidence and safety will become increasingly important. Thermal imaging solutions to detect temperatures have risen in notoriety since the spread of COVID-19, for example. Here, IFSEC Global speaks with Chubb Fire & Security, as well as manufacturer of such equipment, Hikvision, as each talks through the things companies need to consider when using such devices for temperature screening.  

Advice on temperature screening from Chubb Fire & Security

Gambi Chiang, Global Business Strategy Manager at Chubb Fire & Security

First off, Gambi Chiang, Global Business Strategy Manager at Chubb Fire & Security, discusses the common issues associated with implementing the technology, and provides tips for both installers and end-users.  

To get started, customers should be aware that there are different types of thermal cameras for different applications. For example, some thermal cameras are used outdoors to detect trespassing in a restricted area and some thermal cameras can be used for non-destructive testing of building structures. However, with the arrival of COVID-19, the current demand for thermal imaging cameras is focused on using thermal cameras to detect elevated body temperature.

When implementing any kind of technology, customers first need to be clear on the kind of application. There are different types of thermal cameras that can detect elevated body temperatures, and there is a difference in their price ranges. In general, the differentiators include accuracy, speed of detection and additional features, such as crowd detection.

It should be noted that thermal cameras are designed to give an indication of elevated temperature, and are not a method of medical diagnosis.

To check body temperature at the access control point, customers will only need a product that can detect the temperature of one person standing steadily in front of the checkpoint.

However, to monitor people’s temperature at the building entrance or lobby, customers will need a camera with crowd detection capability and faster detection speed for a moving crowd. In this instance, it is necessary to have an alarm function to alert on-site staff to take corresponding actions when a high temperature is detected.

There are also new products coming to market that combine body temperature detection and facial recognition. Apart from checking body temperature, the system can check the credential of the person as well as if they are wearing a mask. The popularity in these devices is likely to rise in countries such as the UK, who have recently made it a legal

What are the common issues associated with using thermal cameras for measuring elevated body temperatures?

It is important to be aware of the environment where the body temperature camera is installed, because the thermal camera is highly sensitive to ambient conditions. For example, consider a case where the thermal camera is pointing at the building entrance where there is direct sunlight coming from outside. In this instance, the sensitivity of the temperature detection is reduced. The accuracy has been dropped from +/- 0.3 degree C to +/- 0.5 degree C.

Another issue the end user should consider is local privacy regulations. In some countries, there are tighter privacy laws, so measurement of employees’ temperature and the use of facial recognition technology may be prohibited.

ThermalImaging-ElevatedBodyTemperature-20We also highly recommend to customers that they provide clear communications to their employees on why such a solution has been deployed, how it is instituted and allow employees to provide feedback if they have any concerns. If a great solution is installed with good intentions, but without clear communication and transparency, then people may respond negatively.

What tips would Chubb suggest for installing and setting up this technology?

Because of the sudden demand for this kind of solution, Chubb is seeing many new products coming into the market. The concern is, that some manufacturers may be rushing to launch their products to gain market share. With a 200-year history of trusted safety and security solutions and as a responsible service provider, Chubb has been very careful in its product selection. Our solution engineers review the product specifications and conduct in-house product testing. We are ensuring confidence in the products and the manufacturers before we recommend them to our clients.

Should customers be considering a more holistic approach to their “return to office” solution rather than just installing thermal imaging in isolation?

Absolutely. Body temperature detection is only a part of the “return to work” protocol. Since the arrival of COVID-19, buildings are now critical tools in the fight against disease spread as well as drivers of societal health, wellbeing and even economic health. In response, we need to look at using technology to create solutions that help protect what’s most important about a building – the health and safety of the people inside.

So, businesses should consider “return to work” solutions from two aspects: firstly, measures to reduce or manage risk and create an indoor environment that supports the health and wellbeing of the employees. Secondly, there is a need to make people feel safe in their working environment.

In reducing or managing risk, many businesses have implemented new policies for their workforce, such as dividing employees into A and B teams, using track and trace for employees and visitors, revising policies on desk share and meeting room use, etc.

These policies are reflected in adjustments to the existing access control, visitor management and facilities booking systems, as well as implementing new applications. This could include using your phone as an access control credential and removing the requirement for a physical access control ID badge or token, assisting with contactless policies.

From a Facilities Management perspective, businesses should reduce touch points in buildings and apply smart systems to ensure shared facilities and meeting rooms are cleaned shortly after use.

Often the need to make people feel safe in a building has been overlooked. However, COVID-19 has highlighted the importance for employees and visitors to feel safe – to know if a building is touchless access, whether the building is crowded or not, when the meeting room was last cleaned and even the indoor air quality of the building. Including a digital screen to display real-time information and status of the building will surely make occupants feel safer in their indoor environment. This sense of security and peace of mind cannot be underestimated.

At Chubb, we continue to deliver solutions and services to help ensure a healthier indoor environment through advanced solutions, touchless solutions, remote solutions and more productive solutions that support the safety, security, comfort and peace of mind of employers, employees and the public in general.

Advice on temperature screening from Hikvision

Hikvision’s Temperature Screening Thermal Solution is an example of just such an innovation. This is a thermal-imaging based system designed for the rapid, contact-free preliminary detection of elevated skin surface temperatures. Utilising thermal and conventional lenses and sensors, it provides automatic alerts when anyone passing the camera exhibits a temperature in excess of a pre-configured range, allowing them to be clinically measured and assessed in an appropriate environment.


The accuracy of the camera standalone system is ±0.5°C, however it can be enhanced with a blackbody calibrator to increase the accuracy to ±0.3°C and make it capable of screening multiple people simultaneously. It employs AI in order to minimise false alarms caused by heat from other sources, and comes in a variety of formats, including turret and bullet-style cameras, a handheld version, and a metal detector door with integrated thermal camera.

Employee confidence

Hikvision’s temperature screening systems are already being used across a wide range of industries, including hospitals, enterprise head offices, construction sites, government buildings, meat processing plants, nursing homes, food and drug distribution centres, construction sites, and retail stores. In many cases, their use has formed a significant part of the organisation’s strategy for returning employees to work.

However, before any organisation makes a decision about implementing this screening technology, it’s worth being clear about what it can and cannot do.

Thermal screening cameras can:

  • Detect surface skin temperature on a non-contact basis, reducing risk
  • Indicate if that detected temperature falls outside of the pre-configured range, providing a first line of screening for a facility
  • Screen a high volume of people in a short timeframe
  • Provide an audit trail of steps taken to assist with health, safety and welfare compliance

Thermal screening cameras can’t:

  • Detect coronavirus
  • Detect a fever

These aren’t medical devices: they provide preliminary screening in order to offer reassurance and confidence for those entering a facility, with risk for screening staff minimised due to the non-contact nature of the system.

Further considerations for temperature screening

Once a decision has been made to implement a temperature screening solution, a number of factors should be taken into account, including: company approvals, set-up and management guidance, communications to staff (and, if necessary, the wider public), and a data protection assessment.

Also consider:

  • Completion of consent forms for staff
  • A policy for screening visitors to the facility
  • Who will monitor the screening? Will they need special conflict management training?
  • Will visitors be asked to leave or to undergo further clinical screening?
  • Will a specific facility be required for this further screening or for personnel feeling unwell?

The full Hikvision Temperature Screening Thermal Solution guide for businesses provides further advice and guidance on issues including GDPR.

Download the Temperature Screening Thermal Solution guide, here.

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[…] Edge or cloud AI may also be deployed and used to generate actionable insights. Additionally,  thermal cameras can be utilized to seize warmth profiles which might be shared with an AI agent that may paintings […]

stewart jackson FIMechE
stewart jackson FIMechE
September 24, 2020 11:52 am

It’s widely acknwledged that “mass screening” is nonesence, and in particular the chinese cameras falsify the temperature readings.
Chubb, if you want to sell a system that actually works and meets the ISO standards for fever screening unlike the one you mention here.


[…] Things to consider when using thermal imaging for temperature screening […]