Physical Surveillance and Securing Pop-Up Vaccine Locations
Kait Miller, Smart Camera BDM, and Matthew Stein, Consulting Systems Engineer, sit down to discuss how WWT can help to rapidly deploy a smart camera surveillance system in pop-up vaccine locations.
Pop-up vaccination clinics are nothing new; they are an annual part of the fall season, along with back-to-school sales and pumpkin patches. Historically, we associate these pop-up clinics with the annual flu shot. What's new is that COVID-19 has brought the intersection of vaccine scarcity, incredibly high demand from some segments of the population and extreme reluctance in others.
Healthcare providers now recognize the need to provide a higher level of protection for both the vaccine and for those administering it. WWT has a robust healthcare practice, and we've helped design and implement IoT and surveillance solutions for the organizations who are on the frontlines. We interviewed the Consulting Systems Engineer who architected, installed and worked closely with WWT's healthcare customers to ensure success.
We’ll talk about the use case, the solution, the obstacles and more.
Healthcare expert Q&A
Kait: Matthew, tell me more about the customer’s situation and maybe touch a little bit on why surveillance is so important at these locations?
Matthew: A large healthcare provider was in the process of setting up multiple vaccine clinics at temporary locations, where none of the traditional security walls, controlled entrances or physical security systems would be present. These sites needed to be quickly and cost effectively converted, and designed for short-term use, most likely just a couple of months. The question was how to provide the same level of protection for very valuable medications, not to mention employees working in a public venue.
Statistically, healthcare workers face the greatest amount of workplace violence. They are nine times more likely to be assaulted than all other industries combined, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Safety of the patients and providers is of the utmost importance, and while a camera does not replace a security guard, it does allow for better visibility of a large venue.
Kait: What about this situation might make the customer have to think outside the box at a new solution?
Matthew: Unlike traditional camera systems, cloud managed smart cameras do not require any on-site servers. Instead they capture and store all their video footage on the camera itself while allowing authorized users to watch and review footage remotely. This eliminates the need to build an extended local area network across an entire site. Each camera can operate as if it is on an island and can be plugged into the most convenient network proximal to the camera. In addition, they require very little bandwidth since footage is stored locally.
A deployment can have a single camera or dozens — from a deployment standpoint they do not need to be tied together locally. Thus, at extra-large sites, such as a convention center which can include multiple buildings and parking lots, cameras only need to be able to reach the Internet, potentially via different WAN technology routes (4G in parking lot, local internet inside the building) and yet from the viewing dashboard will all look the same.
Kait: Were there any redundancy requirements for this customer?
Matthew: Yes! This customer wanted to ensure that even if the convention center lost power or network, the cameras would continue to record. By simply adding a small local UPS to the cameras, we ensured they would continue to capture and record even if all power is lost at the site.
As an added bonus, because these cameras are continually checking in with the cloud if the network is cut off, within five minutes an alert is sent to all interested parties and an on-premises security guard can be alerted if that connection is interrupted.
Kait: What obstacles did you run into during the design and implementation of this solution?
Matthew: Interestingly enough, the biggest hurdle was getting all the requirements from different business leaders. As you can imagine, each business owner has a different set of requirements that they need to accomplish in a very short period of time in an environment without a single permanent wall. Quite a bit of creativity was used to take these tiny cameras and position them in key locations to solve multiple business use cases with the same physical camera.
Kait: Ok, so you have overcome the obstacles and you are implementing what sounds like a very innovative solution for this customer, not to mention on a very tight timeline. Did this all get done in time?
Matthew: During a pandemic, everything needs to be done ASAP. We were very lucky that we were able to complete the entire deployment in just a couple of hours, and that included running network cables and finding power in a convention center.
Kait: That’s great, and when you first demonstrated these capabilities to the healthcare org's executive team, what really stood out for them?
Matthew: Had to be the smart sensors and alerts.
It’s not just the speed and simplicity of deployment, these smart cameras have many other functional capabilities. One the most basic being able to alert for motion inside an entire frame or just key areas, either all the time or just during key times of the day (typically overnight).
If that motion alarm is triggered, an alert email is immediately sent which also includes a snapshot in the email of the motion that triggered the alarm. If that is a person walking across the frame, it will show the full path of that individual. Thus, without ever logging into the system, a team can simply look at the email and determine within seconds if this is an alert that needs to be acted upon or simply normal operations, like a security guard making their rounds.
In addition, we had all of the typical conversations around a focus on protecting objects (medical equipment, vaccines, etc.), but the customer recognized that in today’s society the need to protect employees and the public is just as important. Nothing will ever replace physical security on-site, but having an eye in the sky can provide an extra layer of security and alerting capability. Smart cameras, paired with AI and analytics,can be focused to alert on specific objects, most commonly weapons. If someone walks in carrying a gun, knife, baseball bat or hammer for instance, an alert can be sent to security. Perhaps it is as simple as just needing to know exactly how many people entered and exited the building so they can know the rate of consumers throughout the day, or even better, to know exactly how many people are in a given location at a given time.
These features barely scratch the surface of smart cameras and their role in protecting the vaccine's distribution. Smart camera technology is not new, but their newest features and enhancements now give us flexibility, ease and speed of deployment that make them ideal for use at these temporary facilities. We can affordably bring a new level of safety for healthcare staff and supplies not normally seen at pop-up healthcare clinics.
*NOTE: All pictures were taken from technology testing sites and not from any production healthcare environments.