The current pandemic outbreak has caused serious challenges in tracking flu patients and containing the spread of the virus. Healthcare Intelligent Tracking is an integrated mobile-based offering to track a person’s location, geo-fencing and raise alerts as required, when the geo fence is breached. It tracks vital parameters through GPS & Bluetooth. COVID-19 has changed air travel completely, from airlines cutting domestic flights and eliminating onboard amenities, to employers putting restrictions on personal and business travel, measures are being taken across the travel industry to curb the spread of the virus.
Considering the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative that the health of travelers be monitored during the entire flight. Temperature screening alone, at exit or entry, is not an effective way to stop international spread since the virus may be in its incubation period in infected individuals. Therefore, they may not exhibit symptoms early on, or may dissimulate fever through the use of antipyretics.
Constantly checking the heart rate is a more proactive way of monitoring travelers exhibiting a fever or flu-like symptoms. The Health Beat app helps in the detection of fever/cold and flu-like illnesses. IoT Alert alarms to remind people to use sanitizers appropriately will help control the virus’ spread. Social distancing is compromised during flight travel. To mitigate the risk of COVID-19 spread due to close proximity of passengers, the hygiene alarm reminds them to wash their hands and sanitizer regularly after physical contact with fellow passengers. This ensures the wellbeing of passengers throughout the journey.
a) Flight Beat Heart Monitoring & Mobile enabled Tracking
The Flight Beat app would monitor the physical and mental well-being of passengers through heart rate sensors built into their seats. The seats collect heart rate data with electrocardiograms. Flight Beat, the system is connected to an app that displays passenger moods at-a-glance with a color-coded seat map that points flight crew to unwell passengers. Flight attendants of the future may be able to tell if passengers are feeling anxious or ill with just a glimpse of their facial expression or body language. The seat sensors are capable of reading the heart’s electrical impulses through clothing and are able to use one’s natural contact with the seat to maintain a reading. To understand the emotional state that someone is in, Flight Beat can translate a heart rhythm pattern into emotion with software. Flight Beat usage is at the discretion of travelers to accept or decline the service with the flip of a seat-embedded switch. Once the fluctuations in heart rate have been observed, non-contact infrared thermometer equipment (calibrated) should be used to measure the body temperature of passengers and the symptoms should be observed as required. One should timely report and respond in case of ill passengers found with symptoms including fever (>=37.3°C), fatigue or dry cough, etc., then cooperate with local health authorities in the handover of the ill passengers. The IoT integrated Mobile app helps in tracking COVID-19 patients with appropriate alerts and information.
b) Infection Prevention through Hygiene alarms and Geo Fencing to identify Location safety To suggest preventive measures using IoT for the control of infectious diseases inside the plane environment, IoT alarms can be triggered once the person forgets to use hand sanitizer after physical contact with another person or metallic surfaces inside the plane. You can contract COVID-19 from touching your mouth, nose or eyes after touching a surface with the virus on it. Not touching one’s face is one of the most effective ways of preventing contraction. This may seem obvious, but it is worth the reminders like washing hands with soap for at least 20 seconds, but when that’s not possible, use sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol. As many as a dozen people may come into contact with the same airplane seat each day, so use disinfecting wipes or sanitizer to wipe down any area you may come into contact with, including tray tables, lights, air nozzles, and armrests. We must pay particular attention to porous surfaces like seat belts and cloth seat covers. It is important to use a wipe or cleaners with at least sixty-percent alcohol. Early warning IoT alerts using touch sensors help us to take timely corrective and preventive actions at the earliest. Social distancing warning alarms will be triggered once the distance between people is less than 4 meters, via Smart hub which is the IoT platform.
An intelligent platform can have 3 parts:
Fig1: The Architecture of Intelligent Tracking
The implementation of such a solution is not very difficult, since in the current scenario, everyone carries a mobile phone and an IMEI tracking of the same. India has introduced a stamp mechanism that works on the same principle. If we could chip a device instead, to ensure the tracking is constant, tampering can result in an alarm.
What are the benefits?
1. Risk Mitigation During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as well as in the future, health monitoring will be one of the best mitigation measures to arrest virus spread and ensure the safety of travelers while they are flying. Heart rate fluctuations is one of the key proactive indicators of any anomaly in the body’s condition. Transmission of infection may occur between passengers who are seated in the same area of an aircraft, usually as a result of the infected individual coughing or sneezing, or by touch (direct contact or contact with the same parts of the aircraft cabin and furnishings that other passengers touch). Maintain hygiene through regular IoT alert reminders for using hand sanitizers and early warning alerts for timely action.
2. Passengers’ well-being The proactive Flight Beat and Hygiene alarms will ensure that travelers’ health conditions are periodically monitored during flights. Triggers ensure that corrective action is taken for both travelers and flight attendants. Seat sensors are capable of reading the heart’s electrical impulses. Flight Beat can translate a heart rhythm pattern, which is activated with the flip of a seat-embedded switch by passengers at their own discretion.
3. Enhance Customer Experience Health monitoring of travelers who are flying will ensure maximum customer satisfaction and enhance customer experience. This will increase the credibility and the brand value of airlines. Passengers flying in these situations, besides being well taken care of thanks to health monitoring inflight, are also likely to share their pleasant flight experiences with others. Positive word of mouth boosts the morale and spirit of the entire ecosystem.
4. Add more business Effective health monitoring will ensure passengers fly frequently, thereby increasing the revenue and profit margin of airlines companies. Ensuring passengers’ safety during flying will definitely increase the load factor. Load factor is an indicator that measures the percentage of available seating capacity that is filled with passengers for airlines. A high load factor indicates that an airline has full planes with most seats occupied by passengers. The more the occupancy rate, the more the revenue and profit for airlines.
5. Minimum Social distancing is maintained through safe space offering with IoT alerts that are triggered once the distance is less than 4 meters between two persons. This will be extremely effective and useful to contain the spread of flu-like diseases.
With the kind of uncertainty prevailing around COVID-19, monitoring the health of travelers will be extremely critical and time-sensitive to ensure their safety during flight. This will also arrest the spread of viruses like COVID-19 that might be transmitted by other infected passengers. Health monitoring in flight is paramount and it is a WIN-WIN for both passengers and airlines. The solution becomes very effective post-pandemic too, when there is still some degree of fear lurking in people’s minds. The solution will also enable a peaceful life for travelers and non-travelers alike, and simplify the otherwise tedious task of tracing individuals; in the event of another outbreak.
Principal Consultant and Client Solution SPOC of Consumer Business
Murali is a Principal Consultant and Client Solutions SPOC - Consumer Business for the Industrial Engineering Team in the EMEA region. He has rich experience in Retail, Supply Chain, Omni-Channel B2B & E-commerce. With close to 20 years of experience, he has played a pivotal role in the success of large transformation programs and customer wins.
Distinguished Member of Technical Staff and Client Solutions Head
Venkat is a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff and Head of Client Solutions for the Industrial Engineering Team. He is a technologist with over 41 patents filed/granted to his credit. He is also an SME for Supply Chain and Logistics and has worked in multiple Supply chain transformation programs for more than 10 years, across the globe. With over 20 years of industry experience, his expertise has enabled the success of multiple programs and customer wins.