Artificial intelligence

Everyone Not Wearing Masks, Mall Too Crowded? AI Can Help Cities Manage Pandemic Challenges

AI systems can monitor crowd presence and raise alerts if occupancy is higher than what is allowed as per the occupancy regulations in place to ensure public safety, writes Abhijit Shanbhag. (Representational Image: PTI)

AI systems can monitor crowd presence and raise alerts if occupancy is higher than what is allowed as per the occupancy regulations in place to ensure public safety, writes Abhijit Shanbhag. (Representational Image: PTI)

AI technology is being used in screening, analysis and tracking of active COVID-19 cases, potential at-risk people and also recovered cases for post-pandemic effects.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated:October 30, 2021, 11:30 IST
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COVID-19 is an unprecedented contagion. While viral outbreaks in some or the other regions of the world are not uncommon, this is the first time in the last 100 odd years that we are seeing something like this affect the global population and for such a long time. That’s where monitoring, management and prevention needs of the pandemic require innovative solutions and path-breaking technologies. This is where Artificial intelligence (AI) has been playing a key role in humanity’s battle against the COVID-19 virus. It is helping us overcome human limitations in our efforts to understand and track the pandemic spread.

AI Video Analytics in Healthcare

In the decade preceding the pandemic outbreak, there has been significant development in the field of AI, analytics and machine learning. All over the world, we have seen hundreds of millions of CCTV cameras and other monitoring systems being deployed for commercial, medical, urban and defence monitoring needs, among other things. As these CCTV networks spread, we also saw the evolution of smart video analytics by some enterprising technology start-ups, which have been transforming the operational capabilities of the CCTV cameras. Today’s AI-driven video analytics solutions help in generating actionable insights through near real-time evaluation of the video data captured by the cameras.

Such tools and processes based on integration of AI analytics, data science, machine learning and IoT technologies are being used in different ways by the healthcare sector. The integration of technologies such as AI screening devices for diagnostics, AI analytics-powered cameras for monitoring of COVID-19 patients in isolation wards, as well as to track the contacts as well as suspected pandemic cases are some of the ways in which AI analytics can help manage COVID-19.

A key area of COVID-19 management is to monitor the patients while they are in isolation, track their contacts and to remotely ensure adherence of mask and social distancing protocols.

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AI Video Analytics Applications Post-pandemic

Urban Management: AI video analytics and other tools are of great importance in not only in-hospital healthcare monitoring, but also various social and commercial applications in the new normal. For instance, one of the key changes in the post-pandemic world will be implementation of social distancing and mask adherence rules. Urban authorities and city administrations struggle in holistic monitoring of people due to lack of adequate personnel to deploy everywhere. However, the CCTV camera systems in many cities cover most of the areas such as roads and public spaces. Thus, integration with advanced video analytics tools can make them capable of real-time measurement and analysis of distance between people at any location to identify non-compliance of the social distancing protocols in place.

Not only that, there are attribute filters that can be applied to detect face mask usage in the video feed. Through the integration of AI analytics technology, the surveillance system can detect and raise alerts if people are not wearing or incorrectly wearing face masks. The systems can also monitor the crowd presence and raise alerts if the occupancy is higher than what is allowed as per the occupancy regulations in place to ensure public safety. This proves extremely helpful in prevention of crowd build-up at public places and hotspots.

Commercial and Industrial Usage: Similar to the urban management challenges, there are also various concerns faced by the commercial and industrial premise managers in the new normal. For instance, there are rules regulating and limiting the number of personnel present at a given place and adherence to social distancing as well as masking. This is again where on-premises CCTV systems can give real-time visibility and ability to control the flow of people from one area to another. This is of particular value to commercial establishments such as restaurants, departmental stores, shopping malls, office complexes, manufacturing facilities as well as logistics hubs etc.

Security: Advanced video analytics tools when integrated with the CCTV systems offer smart dashboards through which real-time monitoring of object movement, behaviour analysis and monitoring of interactions between people can be possible.

Preventive Care: Apart from the video AI analytics, which is among the newer aspects of the technology, there have been multiple usages of AI analytics to manage the spread of the infection. For instance, the AI-powered sequencing for vaccine development. Through AI algorithms, data such as geographic locations and social behaviour of patients is analysed to predict and recommend potential treatments.

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Generating Insights for Containing Future Pandemic Outbreaks

The trends around the current pandemic spread, public behaviour and various other attributes can be of great importance in strategically tackling and eliminating future contagions. AI is capable of imitating and predicting human behaviour through machine learning and that allows medical professionals to understand a virus’ behaviour and create vaccines that can inhibit its spread. Such advanced AI technology is being used in screening, analysis and tracking of active COVID-19 cases, potential at-risk people and also in tracking the recovered cases for post-pandemic effects of the virus.

AI analytics technologies are already available in the market and leading innovators can easily provide solutions that stakeholders can seamlessly integrate with their existing CCTV networks and derive these benefits. All we need is for various stakeholders to embrace these innovative and reliable technologies for containment and elimination of the pandemic as well as to ensure smooth functioning of the social and commercial activities at all times.

The author is President and CEO, Graymatics. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent the stand of this publication.

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Source: https://www.news18.com/news/opinion/everyone-wearing-mask-is-the-mall-too-crowded-ai-can-help-cities-manage-post-covid-challenges-4381655.html

Donovan Larsen

Donovan is a columnist and associate editor at the Dark News. He has written on everything from the politics to diversity issues in the workplace.

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