A new AI technology that supports facial recognition is making it easier for automotive shop owners and technicians to navigate the industry as COVID-19 looms on.
Designed by Brantford-based Solutions Into Motion, Janus (from Greek origin), Janus will be used to ensure that both staff and customers are adhering to basic safety guidelines set out by the province of Ontario, as the province continues to battle some of the highest COVID-19 cases to date.
Similarly to the scanning devices found in airports across Canada, with a built-in thermal camera, Janus can automatically detect abnormal body temperatures, and also verify as to whether or not the individual is wearing a face mask, based on facial recognition technology. Janus can also be configured to welcome clients via an automated greeting in six different languages.
If Janus detects a customer entering the dealership with a high temperature (above 37.3 C), the device will audibly ask the person to ‘please wait for assistance from a staff member’. At this point the process will be done again, leaving the final decision up to the staff member on whether to permit entrance or not.
“Janus is very customizable, making it perfect for automotive dealer environments and needs,” said Vince Poloniato, president at Solutions Into Motion. “Currently we have Janus configured to serve the needs of most public venues, right out of the box. However, our next phase with this technology is to better leverage the data it can collect and integrate with external systems, such as reservations systems, access controls and more.”
Poloniato says that the company began exploring product testing in July 2020, and launched in early December. One dealership, Searles Chevrolet, is currently using Janus to help with day-to-day operations.
“OEMs are now mandating more and more, that us dealers invest in or find solutions to this public health crisis, so we can continue doing business as usual,” said Mark Searles, GM at Searles Chevrolet. “Currently we are already checking temperatures, but this new Janus unit takes away the need for us to waste human resources on this necessary step. We believe that this technology will act as piece of mind for both our staff and customers that our dealership is doing the right things to be safe.”
Poloniato is eager to get the aftermarket on board, too.
“We just finished our beta testing and there is a lot of interest out there,” Poloniato said. “Our goal is to make this [Janus] plug and play friendly; take this AI technology and allow users to simply plug it in and do nothing else,” he said.
The next phase, Poloniato adds, is to be able to allow shop owners to access customer-specific data that could benefit the business, such as a stored record of their employee’s daily temperature screenings, attendance records, etc. This could be especially helpful as contact tracing continues to be conducted throughout Canada.
“Between staff and visitors coming into the shop, it provides them with that added value of safety and security, knowing that everybody in there is feeling well and up to health,”Poloniato said. “The ratio has changed dramatically when there’s no opportunity to meet and greet a customer, so it’s really opening the door to provide the freedom to let people come in, safely.”
As with any technology that supports facial recognition technology, Poloniato understands that there are some privacy concerns.
“Very similar to the security cameras stores everywhere use daily, the images that Janus records are in no way designed to be sellable,” Poloniato said. “The device itself can store 50,000 faces, so it will get to the point where it will recognize your most popular customers. Should you need to go back and do contract tracing for the last 14 days, it really comes in handy for health and safety reasons.”
Similar to security footage, images can be reviewed and deleted easily.
Once installed, Janus has the ability to do the following:
To learn more about Janus, click here.
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