Companies embrace emerging tech in return-to-office prep

Machine learning, mobile software and videoconferencing are among the technologies enterprises are adopting to lay the groundwork for welcoming employees back safely to corporate offices.

Companies embrace emerging tech in return-to-office prep
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U.S. companies are preparing to welcome employees back to their offices, three months after the coronavirus pandemic disrupted corporate operations worldwide. As with the outbreak's onset, companies find themselves in uncharted territory.

Businesses have never been under so much pressure to create safe environments for employees, with the caveat that there is no bullet-proof protection against a novel virus for which there is no vaccine. Still, it's incumbent on companies to take every precaution.

IT departments are evaluating several technologies designed help lock down potential virus vectors and provide a safe working environment. Fifty-eight percent of 200 IT leaders plan to invest in smart personal hygiene devices, such as connected hand sanitizer stations, while 36 percent plan to invest in contactless sensors, according to a poll Insight Enterprises conducted in May. Thirty-five percent of IT leaders will buy infrared thermometers, while 25 percent plan to install thermal cameras.

Many enterprises are also deploying mobile and machine learning (ML) software, chatbots and other tools, experts tell CIO.com. Less clear is about whether and how companies will implement contact tracing to try to triage and identify connections between employees who may have been exposed to the coronavirus.

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