The new world left by the covid-19 pandemic will force us to internalize a series of unimaginable habits just a few months ago. One of the most demanded measures by both political and health authorities is social distance, a fundamental concept in the return to normality, especially in certain environments tending to crowds. The call to maintain a social distance is not new. It was one of the first regulations to be applied worldwide with the arrival of the coronavirus, and various studies have concluded that it is the most effective measure to save time and stop infections until the launch of a vaccine.

Researchers at Columbia University concluded that if the United States had applied social distancing two weeks earlier than it did, it could have prevented 84% of deaths and 82% of cases. Along the same lines, experts from the international Covid Compass project estimate that it has been able to save more than 73,000 lives in Spain and around 7.2 million worldwide. From now on, ensuring social distance will be essential to guarantee security in public spaces that are in high demand, such as transportation, and thus avoid or reduce the possibility of outbreaks.

An article prepared by scientists from Harvard University, and published in the journal Science, stated in April that it will be necessary to implement several stages of social distancing until the year 2022. “What seems necessary, in the absence of treatments, is to apply periods intermittent social distancing, ”said Stephen Kissler, director of the investigation, at .. Thus, IECISA, a technology consulting company that is part of the Gfi group, has developed two technology-based systems that automate and guarantee social distancing: one basic capacity control and another, more complex, measurement of the distance between people.

“In some spaces these measures were already being applied manually. What we propose are digital solutions that allow this social distance to be monitored and guaranteed. And that in case of non-compliance, alarms go off to correct it ”, says Antonio Blanco, Director of the IECISA transport business line, which has relied on existing technology to develop these systems and intends to launch it both in public transport and its stations as in other sectors where it may have an impact, for example in retail. “It can be useful in a supermarket, in banks or airports, where long lines of people form,” says Antonio.

The systems proposed by IECISA have a certified reliability of 98% and will allow the gauging to be controlled from the input and output measurement in places of high influx, as well as checking that the social distance is met. To do this, through IoT sensorization, they will measure the distance between people with Artificial Intelligence equipment. “There are some dashboards where you see in real time and it is checked if the distance is being met. If this is not the case, the user would be warned with integrated information systems, such as posters or public address systems, ”says Antonio.

Furthermore, this technology will allow subsequent analysis to ensure that the distance is met and, therefore, to ensure there are no risks, while making it possible to make a series of predictions. “It will allow us to know, for example, if a day at a specific time and in a certain place there is a significant crowd of people. In that case, measures could be taken in advance and notices could be launched, ”they explain from IECISA.

Two control models based on existing technology

The most basic tool, which is limited to controlling capacity, is designed for spaces such as a bus, where simply controlling the entry and exit of people can be effective. “In these places people are already locating themselves after accessing, they are separating and, in addition, in many places, static signaling posts or stickers have been placed where it says where you can be located or not,” says Antonio.

The systems proposed by IECISA have a certified reliability of 98% and will allow the gauging to be controlled from the input and output measurement in places of high influx, as well as checking that the social distance is met.

The second option, more advanced, offers real-time measurement between people and is ideal for those establishments or spaces where it is necessary to ensure distance, such as an airport or the subway platform. “This system counts the people who enter a certain area, measures it whole and shows the interpersonal distance and its location through heat maps. When it detects a non-compliance for a time, an alarm is sent and it can act both automatically with a public address system and manually, sending security employees to take measures, ”says Antonio. For the operation of both systems, IECISA implants a team of overhead zenith cameras that offer stereoscopic vision, that is, in three dimensions.

This technology is not new, since it was already used in the pre-covid era as a measure of control and occupation. “We have innovated on existing solutions and we have taken advantage of this technology to give it another vision and guarantee social distance,” concludes Antonio.