South African startup Kenai Launches Product To Assist Businesses With COVID-19 Screening

South African startup Kenai, which uses facial recognition technology to transform the way companies manage people entering their buildings, has launched a new feature that helps businesses screen employees for COVID-19 as the country prepares to exit lockdown.

The Johannesburg-based Kenai uses facial recognition as an integral part of the visitor sign-in flow, replacing the visitor book with a slick iPad application.

South Africa’s nationwide lockdown, implemented to slow the progress of COVID-19, closed office premises, and as the country’s economy begins to re-open, businesses will need to adhere to certain regulatory requirements, one being daily screening of employees in a contactless fashion pre-work and on-site.

This is a challenge for many businesses, but with Kenai already managing the visitor process for many companies, the startup considered itself to be in a good position to port the solution over to employees and adapt it for the requirements of COVID-19.

“We have done exactly that, managing on-site and offsite screening in a single affordable solution using the trusted Kenai architecture. Leveraging the work done from the visitor product, we are able roll out the employee screening solution rapidly and avoid locking customers into a long contract when the product will likely only be needed for a limited time period,” said James Lightbody, Kenai’s chief executive officer (CEO).

So how does the product work? For starters, employees answer their daily screening questions through a web link on their phones or laptops. Their answers are stored securely on a web dashboard that meets data privacy requirements.

When employees arrive on site, they need to have their temperatures checked using a handheld device. The difficulty at this step is linking the employee from their questionnaire to the temperature reading, and automatically uploading the reading to their profile. Kenai achieves this through various methods, including facial recognition, QR code reading, driver’s license scan or a manual employee number entry.

Once the employee has been identified, the third party takes the temperature reading, inputs it in the scanning device and confirms the employee is wearing their PPE or mask, if applicable. The Kenai scanner will then display whether the employee can proceed into the office or not. Notifications are also automatically sent to relevant staff members if certain responses are recorded. The entire process takes fewer than seconds on-site, and is non-intrusive and contactless.

All employee profiles are updated on the dashboard in real time.

“Not only can company administrators download monthly reports, but they can be sent daily notifications on certain answers being captured, or certain employees not completing their pre-screen before a certain time. The flexibility of the system means that companies can design their own COVID-19 procedures using the base tools that Kenai provides,” Lightbody said.

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