As the pandemic continues, one of the areas we’ve seen the most growth is in solutions that help screen individuals as they enter public and private establishments.
And one such company – OCTOPUS Systems – has announced a partnership with Convergint Technologies, a global service-based systems integrator, to provide its employee and visitor screening solution to U.S. businesses and schools. The company claims that its system will enable safer reopening of the economy and offer both situational awareness and control to those in charge of health and safety during and after the pandemic.
With offices in Bnei Brak, Israel, and Toronto, Canada, OCTOPUS has used its technology to help manage the situation in its Israeli hometown, a densely populated location with 200,000 residents that was hit hard by the pandemic.
So what is OCTOPUS, and how does it work?
OCTOPUS’s command and control system is a platform for orchestrating many different solutions, ranging from cybersecurity and physical security to fraud protection and more. It integrates all these systems and databases seamlessly and consolidates them into a common operating platform. This aggregation enables smart screening and monitoring as restrictions are eased, and as person-to-person interaction returns to pre-pandemic rates.
The solution uses a mobile app to screen individuals for symptoms and other risk factors before they even arrive at supervised facilities. After users fill out a survey based on defined parameters, the app generates a QR-code granting access to the facility for those that pass the screening. The procedure eliminates the need for sick individuals to arrive somewhere only to be sent home, which in turn reduces the risk of infecting others.
Upon a person’s arrival at a monitored facility, the system uses thermal scanners to perform an initial body temperature assessment following FDA recommended guidelines, disabling the user’s credentials if anomalies are detected until verified by a secondary process, as recommended by CDC/FDA guidelines. The system then presents predefined workflows to handle specific situations. All processes are touchless to further minimize the risk of virus transmission.
But as with any solution that records information, and especially when children and schools are brought into play, it’s important to ensure data privacy and security.
“OCTOPUS provides an option to deploy our solution as an on-premises software or as a SaaS platform, hosted on Microsoft Azure secure cloud,” Tal Bar Or, founding partner and CEO at OCTOPUS, told me. “In the case the software is deployed locally, then the customer will manage the system and data within his data center, whereas Octopus does not have any access to the data after the solution was commissioned. If the software is deployed to the customer as a SaaS solution, then OCTOPUS will be the data processor and the customer will be the data owner. OCTOPUS will not access the customer’s data unless done with permission from the customer for support purposes.”
That commitment to security is backed up by standards and regulations.
“The OCTOPUS system meets 9 strict ISO standards, including ISO 27001 for Information security, ISO 27017 for Information security on the cloud, ISO 27018 for PII (personally Identifiable Information in public clouds),” Bar Or said.
In fact, when users download the OCTOPUS app, they do not have to give any personal information at all.
“The mobile app can be downloaded by citizens and employees from the public Apple Store and Google Play,” Bar Or said. “Users can register without adding personal information, and then they have the ability to communicate with the central control and response center from their mobile phone, in cases of emergency or for routine activities as well. The app is also used by the city first responders or by facility staff to be dispatched to an event.”
The partnership with Convergint helps OCTOPUS to expand to the United States, which has had to deal with the highest numbers of COVID-19 cases worldwide, according to the latest reports from Worldometer.
So what’s next for OCTOPUS?
“Octopus continues to invest in R&D in order to release innovative technology that helps government and private organizations deal with challenges related to physical and cybersecurity, personal safety, smart cities, and smart business management,” Bar Or said. “Octopus will continue to develop and expand its capabilities in Big Data management and Machine Learning, to allow our customers to further automate processes, receive better insights, analyze abnormal activities, and better respond to events as they evolve due to the COVID-19 related changing environment. Octopus is in the process of deploying its systems for numerous new customers, in the field of utilities, energy, telecoms, smart cities, smart facilities, airports, seaports, and large corporates.”