Social Distancing While Staying Connected

It will take some time for things to get back to normal.  The term, new normal has been popularized but is not far from the truth.  The way we do business and approach activities of leisure will have to change for a while.  How can we maintain some semblance of normalcy while engaging in the activities we once enjoyed?  Activities like going to restaurants or the library have become seemingly dangerous propositions to undertake.

How can technology help to facilitate social distancing and encourage safer conditions for all of us? 

The tools already exist to change the way we do business and approach the world.  Technologies that would lessen the need for physical contact and allow for non-contact transactions are available. They are inside our cell phones and many of the wireless technologies currently deployed.  The issue lies in the adoption of these technologies.  We will explore a few technologies that can guide our return workplace.


Location based services – tracking social distancing

Inside every Aruba access point since the 3xx series, there are Bluetooth beacons. The beacons triangulate the position of people by tracking the location of their personal devices.  Some applications for this technology include way finding, location-based marketing and access control.

In the future, this technology would count the number of people in a specific place to understand if social distancing standards are being followed.   Aruba networks has a product called ALE or analytics and location engine that can be used to track and aggregate data about the location of each person within a building while using Aruba wireless access points.

ALE- aruba analytics and location engine


The graphic above is a generic topology for how the environment would look when leveraging the ALE.  Utilizing the components in the graphic, a company identifies where in the building people are. Also, it can track possible issue areas. Using this tool as a guide to rearrange offices or cubicles, it assists support in the distancing measures when people return to their workplaces.


Uses in Public Venues

aruba-ale-productsIn a public venue where the connectivity to the wireless networks cannot be relied upon, the system utilizes passive scanning of any devices that has WIFI or Bluetooth turned on. This enables one to accurately triangulate the position of this person.  Aruba describes this capability by saying that the system can; “Calculate location for associated and unassociated clients based on received signal-strength information or simply indicate the presence of a device in proximity to a specific AP.”

The ability to passively identify user devices is very important for a business to approximate the current occupancy of a space.   Locations for this device include restaurants, department stores or any other building where occupancy requirements may be a concern.

The accuracy of this system is directly dependent on the density of deployment of the access points or standalone Bluetooth beacons.  If more APs or beacons are deployed in a space, then the accuracy of the system is greatly improved.   It takes three access points or Bluetooth beacons to detect a device for accurate triangulation of a device to occur.


Distanced transactions with outdoor WIFI

Several businesses are trying to find a way to support retail transactions without the need for people to go inside the actual brick and mortar store.   In some cases, restaurants and other food service-based businesses would like the ability to process a credit card on their patio without the employee physically interacting with the payment method.

Outdoor wireless would provide a greatly appreciated internet service to their patrons. It facilitates the ability to have a battery powered WIFI point of sale tablet negotiate the transaction.  This would lessen the physical contact the patron and the employee would have in this setting.

With the newest Aruba 5xx series outdoor access points, a business could blanket their existing outdoor seating areas with secure wireless.  The ability to deliver secure wireless for the patrons and the company assets is invaluable. It further supports the initiative to reduce physical contact.

Additionally, by leveraging outdoor WIFI, a company could extend their current outdoor seating space. This helps to maximize their ability to generate revenue. The possibilities for using secure outdoor access are limitless.


Rethink How We Do Business

In this time of uncertainty, we need to continue to innovate and rethink the way we do business.  Giving up on interaction isn’t good for any of us.  We should continue to pursue ways to retool our businesses. Augment how we measure occupancy so that we can stay safe but productive.  My hope is that by leveraging technology we can find some semblance of normalcy again.

Contact Zunesis for more information on outdoor access points and other solutions to keep your business moving.


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