Poole: Company diversifies into fever screening technology

A protection services company in the South has diversified into high-tech fever screening due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Orders for the detection technology are being placed with Unique Fire and Security, for use in public spaces and workplaces.

Established 10 years ago, the family-run firm in Dorset installs and integrates the thermal imaging cameras with existing CCTV systems.

Bradley Williams, Unique’s Poole-based managing director, said: “There is strong commercial demand for fever screening technology as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

“One of the most notable symptoms of the virus is a high temperature; 87.9% of people with coronavirus will experience this symptom. People entering buildings and busy areas want as much reassurance as possible that contact-free technology is detecting potential carriers of Covid-19.

“The technology has already protected the medically vulnerable – a locum GP at a surgery in Wales, due to see dozens of patients, tested positive for coronavirus because a high temperature was spotted by camera in time. He was able to self-isolate in the nick of time.”

When cameras detect a head temperature above bodily average, the person would be intercepted and isolated for public health reasons.

Williams added: “At the start of this year, we had no idea we’d be installing fever screening solutions during a pandemic which has tragically claimed tens of thousands of lives in the UK since March.

“Employers are now under all sorts of moral and legal pressures to keep their staff and customers safe in buildings, including through social distancing, hand sanitiser stations, regular deep cleans and staggered work patterns.

“Supplied by a leading manufacturer of video surveillance equipment, the fever screening technology we install and commission provides that additional layer of protection.

“The screening technology is so advanced, with artificial intelligence algorithms, it can scan multiple people at the same time, including those wearing masks.

“We are also getting interest in our access control systems, such as airport-style metal detectors or turnstiles, because they limit the amount of people coming in and out of entrances and exits and they can incorporate fever screening.”

James Robinson is a partner at the Poole office of regional accountants and business advisers PKF Francis Clark. Unique is a client.

Specialising in owner-managed businesses, Robinson said: “Like many other companies and organisations, Unique has adapted and diversified as the nation looks to curtail the virus.

“In the ‘new normal’ we could well see a lot more thermal imaging checks as lockdown restrictions ease – Unique is receiving enquiries from a range of sectors, including care homes and GP surgeries.

“There is clearly a strong case for installing fever screening at hospitals, healthcare centres, schools, colleges, universities, offices, factories, shops, hotels, restaurants, pubs, event venues, stadiums, gyms, airports and bus, coach and train stations.”

Employing 24 people, Unique also specialises in electronic fire and security, including the design, installation and maintenance of intruder alarms, CCTV systems, access control, fire alarm systems, public address systems and integration.

According to industry figures, 88% of all businesses in the UK are, like Unique, family owned – 4.8 million in total.