The varying opportunities to employ smart connected cameras during times of crisis could help city officials or entire countries, better coordinate efforts in minimizing the impact of global emergencies like the Wuhan coronavirus.  

Smarter cameras of today tend to be wirelessly connected to the cloud, enabling remote monitoring of checkpoints. With smarter cameras on the thermal checkpoint setups that we have today, we can do away with the need to have each station physically monitored on-site. It can be done remotely, therefore consolidating manpower needs to enable comprehensive thermal checkpoints. 


Another likely culprit is the evolving nature of the virus over its predecessors MERS-CoV and SARS. It has been reported that there are more “varied” symptoms of the infected, compared to their predecessors, which means a fever is not always a present symptom despite them having pneumonia. A solution could be the utilization of sensor fusion, where thermal cameras are used in tandem with regular cameras with added AI functionalities. Such cameras can be trained to also detect behavioral ‘events’ or ‘instances’ such as someone sneezing or coughing—other symptoms of the virus. 

Another functionality of smarter cameras is the ability to identify and log individual faces that display any number of symptoms it is trained to recognize. Through advanced video telematics and sensor fusion, enhanced by AI inference, efforts to more accurately identify individuals could be made more foolproof.

There are also opportunities to synchronize the data such that devices essentially “talk” to each other through the cloud. If we add to the fact that most cities today have comprehensive surveillance networks, if systems that stand as silos today communicated information as a group, there is the benefit of shared data from which authorities can act on. This could theoretically make identification of individuals with any number of suspected symptoms be easily identified and tracked. Going beyond this, smart connected cities can also identify who came into contact with infected individuals, making on-ground efforts like contact tracing of afflicted people at risk, much quicker. 


A central command center powered by smart connected cameras, from where monitoring efforts are consolidated (and assisted by automated, AI functionalities) would drastically reduce staffing requirements to comprehensive deployments required by such crises, and allow operations to scale (upwards or downwards) as needed, and not be held back by a shortage of personnel.