Solutions to COVID19 Surveillance and Subject Identification

In today’s culture, reducing the spread of COVID19 has become a priority in both public and professional spaces. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that the general population wear face masks while outside of their homes. This precautionary step mitigates the risk of viral spread between people. The requirement of a face mask, however, makes the identification of subjects through surveillance very difficult. And a person’s face is critical for identification in a majority of current surveillance techniques. We previously discussed home video surveillance recommendations for doorstep theft during COVID19. In this blog post, we will dive further into discussing effective COVID19 surveillance and subject identification solutions specifically for those wearing face masks.



What if a CCTV video surveillance system could identify a crime suspect without having to capture footage of their face? While these systems are widely utilized, many require a bump in quality in order to provide sufficient footage of a crime. Improvement in video recording quality is the key to keeping these CCTV video surveillance systems relevant, especially during COVID19 and the widespread use of face masks. Here are a few options for improving the quality of video recordings in both active and passive surveillance.


Advancements in technology coupled with rising crime rates have pushed businesses and law enforcement agencies to incorporate artificial intelligence within their video surveillance systems. These artificial intelligence solutions provide an additional set of eyes to help identify subjects, vehicles, and other details. Artificial intelligence combined with FLIR heat-sensitive cameras is extremely effective in the event of a crime or if a disguised subject exhibits symptoms of COVID19, such as a fever. Check out the video below, provided by Hikvision, to see how this technology works. Hikvision is a leading manufacturer of CCTV video surveillance technology.


High-quality DVR systems, high-resolution cameras, and specialty cameras are just a few ways with which to improve the accuracy of passive surveillance systems. 4k resolution is the highest resolution available at the consumer level and provides the best possible picture for identification purposes in the investigation phase. Below are two of the most common camera upgrades that are available for IP-based systems.

License Plate Surveillance used as Solutions to COVID19 Surveillance and Identification Solutions


One of the most popular CCTV surveillance system upgrades is a 360 camera. The addition of a 360 camera allows for a larger focal viewing of a tight space. Check out a popular 360 camera here.

360 Cameras used as Solutions to COVID19 Surveillance and Subject Identification


Did you know that 55% of communication is visual? Traditional face masks, as we often see in the medical profession and in the recent months surrounding COVID19, prevent our ability to see facial expressions and negatively affect our communication with others. This is especially true for those who rely heavily on visual communication, such as the deaf and hard of hearing, children, and the elderly.


In addition to the solutions to COVID19 surveillance and subject identification we’ve discussed, ClearMask™ provides natural communication and eliminates barriers caused by traditional masks. Its transparency and comfort have been put to great use within the medical field, improving relationships between patients and staff. Explore ClearMask’s benefits by following this link.

Traditional Face Mask
ClearMask Aids as Solutions to COVID19 Surveillance and Subject Identification


“Biometrics is a technology that makes use of physiological or behavioral characteristics to authenticate or identify people [1]. The most commonly used biometric applications are fingerprint and iris-based identification.”


Although facial recognition using biometrics can be helpful in identifying suspects, it can be fooled. Disguised faces are common, especially now during COVID19 and the requirement of facial masks. Learn more in the video below.

Gait analysis, on the other hand, is a form of biometrics. It is the measurement and interpretation of human movement patterns and kinetics. For example, surveillance footage could identify a subject by observing the way (s)he walks or runs. Gait recognition technology is still being developed, though a growing number of scientific journals explain the process. Below is an expert from one such journal.


Human gait identification aims to identify people by a sequence of walking images. Comparing with fingerprint or iris-based identification, the most important advantage of gait identification is that it can be done at a distance. In this paper, silhouette correlation analysis based human identification approach is proposed. By background subtracting algorithm, the moving silhouette figure can be extracted from the walking images sequence. 


Every pixel in the silhouette has three dimensions: horizontal axis (x), vertical axis (y), and temporal axis (t). By moving every pixel in the silhouette image along these three dimensions, we can get a new silhouette. The correlation result between the original silhouette and the new one can be used as the raw feature of human gait. Discrete Fourier transform is used to extract features from this correlation result. Then, these features are normalized to minimize the affection of noise. Primary component analysis method reduces the features’ dimensions. Experiment based on CASIA database shows that this method has an encouraging recognition performance. 


The video below is an example of gait analysis.


Google and Apple have joined forces to develop a technological solution for the mitigation of COVID19 spread. The solution will improve the detection of COVID19 outbreak hotspots and deter a subject from those areas, all on their handheld smartphone. Check out what NPR published on the topic below.

“The technology would rely on the Bluetooth signals that smartphones can both send out and receive. If a person tests positive for COVID-19, they could notify public health authorities through an app. Those public health apps would then alert anyone whose smartphones had come near the infected person’s phone in the prior 14 days. The technology would be available on both Google Android phones and Apple iPhones.


The companies insist that they will preserve smartphone users’ privacy. Smartphone users must opt-in to use it. The software will not collect data on users’ physical locations or their personally identifiable information. People who test positive would remain anonymous, both to the people who came in contact with them and to Apple and Google.”


Jennifer Granick, ACLU surveillance and cybersecurity counsel, responded, “No contact tracing app can be fully effective until there is widespread, free, and quick testing and equitable access to healthcare. These systems also can’t be effective if people don’t trust them.


Although this “Exposure Notification” may be useful in the future, it also may be useful in the world of video surveillance. However, several larger steps must come first.


  1. The public must learn to trust the technology.
  2. The technology must pass all civil liberties questions in order to minimize invasions of privacy, abuse, and stigmatization.
  3. The technology integrates into surveillance technology, such as CCTV video surveillance systems.

To learn more about the “Exposure Notification” technology, follow this link.


For more information on the solutions to COVID19 surveillance and subject identification discussed here, call or email us today.

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