21 Aug 2020
Derek Fournier

Caveat Emptor

The concept of Caveat Emptor is an integral part of practically all structure and legality behind commerceYou are familiar with it as it translates to “let the buyer beware.” This means it lays the responsibility of choice on the buyer themselves. 

A seller makes goods available in an open market. The buyer previews all options and then, presumably, makes an informed decision.   

What if the product does not do what it claims to do or does it so poorly that it is rendered ineffective? 

Caveat Emptor says that the seller will not be responsible for this. The buyer himself is responsible for the choice he made. Why am I babbling about this? 

Sadly, we have seen many well-intentioned businesses buy OEM, low quality gear to try to improve the conditions for their teams and clients only to find out the items they bought do not work and might have put them in a sticky spot with use of funds.  

The “Checkbox” Approach 

Here is where I have to eat a little crow. (Editor’s note: for anyone under the age of 60 reading this, “eat crow” refers to feeling embarrassed by having to admit one’s mistakes, especially after taking a very strong stance. But also, what I think Derek is trying to say here is that those who stand tallest are those who are willing to stand corrected.) The Wired article I railed against asserted a counter position to was read (by me) as an attack on technology as imperfect and therefore unworthy of any pursuit at all. It seemed the author was saying that because technology isn’t perfect it is therefore worthless altogether and inaction is somehow a better approach. I think I pointed out my displeasure with that approach in my response to that article and so I will not cover it again.

That said, there is a more subtle and potentially insidious approach that can spin out of any challenges like the one we are currently facing–that is the idea of taking visible action to look as if you are addressing a meaning percentage of the problem when you are really doing nothing. It is the illusion of productivity and therefore, bluntly, the illusion of safety.  

Now this gets really murky here folks, so take a trip with me. I am not asserting intent on any person or company. What I am saying is that the solution you chose must actually work. Ideally, it will grow into a more robust solution over time, but the first step is FUNCTION. What we are seeing across industries is well-intentioned businesses trying their best to do a few really complicated things: 

  • Protect their employees 
  • Put a plan in place to protect their guests/clients/patrons/insert industry-specific word for customer here 
  • Get their businesses open (the first two must come, well, first) 

Safety, health and security must always come first and making sure the people who actually operate and facilitate the business (the employees) are safe must be the first priority despite trite and potentially dangerous assertions that the customer is always right. Spoiler: they are not 

“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”  – Sir Richard Branson 

Starting from, at best, a shaky foundation with new data coming in constantly, businesses are faced with looking like they care, actually caring, taking action, making sure the action improves the condition while, all the while, watching the costs associated with every step. The allure of getting something that is visible and looks like a response but is low cost is, of course, attractive for any business. 

There’s the rub. Caveat Emptor. 

You must do your due diligence. When addressing edge mitigation and specifically when doing so with temperature readings, one must consider: 

  • Accuracy – This should seem obvious, but your testing and approach needs to consider the accuracy of your collection model. Realize that your staff and guests may be coming in from a hot (or cold) environments and they will likely be wearing masks (which might have metal in the bridge). Add to those items the prevalence of hats and issues with hair color and the traditional models start to fall off precipitously. We have a patentpending approach that leverages a unique blend of high resolution visual and thermal imaging, facial AI and a proprietary sampling algorithm to get the most accurate results possible quickly. Further, the results are not impacted by the issues raised above nor by natural temperature differentials (think hot flashes) like traditional approaches that simply read skin temperature. Accuracy matters.  
  • Efficiency – Your implementation needs to work effortlessly and impact your business as little as possible. That starts with eliminating the need to put an employee in the unenviable position of manually collecting this data. Aside from the obvious issue with reliability, there are significant issues tied to anxiety and callouts that we have seen in our clients; even facilities that are staffed with medical professionals who are moved to the “front lines” in this fashion. Now that there is a reliable and accurate way to stop doing this, there really is no excuse to maintain this process or mandate it to your team. (Schools districts and educational institutions, I am looking directly at you here.) 
  • Validity – For many of you, CARES Act Funding or other possible federal funding is a real possibility as your businesses have been impacted by the pandemic. Many of the low cost (and low accuracy) point solutions are produced by companies that are explicitly banned for use in conjunction with government funding. We are no experts on the complexity of government funding but beyond buying the right tool, you should make sure you are buying one legally and with the proper support.  

DeCurtis Shield™ is far more than a thermal temperature kiosk because businesses need far more than that. DeCurtis Shield™ is your front lineIt is a secure gateway to collect pertinent screening information (like temperature, health questionnaires and others) but also a way to do so in an automated, accurate and reliable fashion with a platform that will evolve, grow and allow integration to your business over time.  

low accuracy (or worse, manual) temperature “bandaid” here is like putting a screen door on a submarine. It will fail. You will pay the price in operational and quite possibly human losses.  

Per usual, I used almost a thousand words to convey a simple idea. You are trying to do a good thing but it’s hard. We get it. Buy the right tool for the job, because accuracy matters. And that’s something we get very well.   

Buyer Beware.  

 

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