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Can Thermal Temperature Scanners Help the Events Sector.

Andy Robertson

As large capacity events emerge from the impact of coronavirus pandemic nightclubs, concerts and music festivals will start accepting visitors again but with strict entry requirements. It is clear that in pilot schemes the evidence of vaccination or negative test results are no guarantee of excluding COVID-19 positive visitors. Can thermal temperature scanners act as a last line of defence?

There has been a lot of debate amongst ‘experts’ regarding the accuracy of any thermal temperature scanning technology and therefore its usefulness. However, when large numbers of visitors are being admitted and their compliance with entry requirements are checked there will likely be too many people to check the temperature of every visitor. This is when thermal temperature scanners could help because they can rapidly scan large crowds and instantly highlight an individual with an abnormally high temperature. With constant supervision it is then possible to remove any identified individuals and take them aside for more thorough checks.

The thermal temperature scanners currently available for purchase or hire are generally not medical scanners but have been adapted from industrial use. This is an important fact to understand and any results of a thermal scan should therefore be subject to question. The other key issue raised by medical experts is this type of thermal scanning only reveals someone's surface temperature and not their core temperature. This can lead to many false positives because of environmental factors where individuals have been running or been standing in direct sunlight for some time. Also, because fever and temperature is not always present when someone is infected the scanner will log a normal temperature.

Although the reliability in detecting COVID-19 positive cases in a crowd is questionable there are some benefits that event organisers can get by using such technology. Having thermal temperature scanners as a last line of defence does demonstrate to visitors that the organisers have taken additional steps to protect them. Use of scanners can also be used in marketing and PR to show that the organisers are serious about preventing entrance of any potentially infected visitors.

With reliability issues on the current technology in question event organisers may question the logic behind their use. Thermal temperature scanners are also quite expensive to purchase and start at around $5,000, and, a separate one would be required for each entrance. Hiring may be a cheaper option for anyone keen to implement this defence technology. The thermal temperature scanning technology will develop over time and probably become much more accurate so it's something to consider for future event planning. For now however, it appears to be far from a robust defence system to pick up COVID-19 positive cases in crowds.

For organisers planning their music festival using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their event logistics. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors, guestlists, ticketing, cashless payments and contactless ordering. 

Image by Steve Jurvetson

Andy Robertson
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