Touchless device checks associates for COVID-19
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Sam’s Club has developed an automated and 100% touchless health screening kiosk for its associates. The new kiosk, currently rolling out to clubs across the country, is equipped with patent-pending technology including a built-in body temperature scanner, a camera sensor that can verify an employee’s identity from a distance, and a digital health screening questionnaire activated by hand motion.
“Our associates continue to rise above the challenges of the pandemic to take care of our members, communities, and one another,” Sam’s Club stated in a blog post announcing the rollout of the new system. “So, we strive to deliver our associates the protection and peace of mind they deserve.”
The creation of the kiosk began with a question, the company noted. How can Sam’s Club conduct health screenings in the safest and efficient way? Manual screening presented risks and third-party options could not accommodate the needs of all of its clubs. So the retailer developed a customized solution on its own.
“After reviewing hundreds of third-party options, our team realized Sam’s Club had the capability to build a better-equipped kiosk ourselves,” product manager Ben Ellison said. “So that’s exactly what we did.”
The team that developed the tailored screening technology included software engineers, product managers, and associates from operations and technology, among others.
“Few health screening options on the market are truly touchless,” said Ginese Colletti, director of software engineering. “We knew if we could create our own first-class screening technology and make our kiosk completely contactless, Sam’s Club would be able to lower risk of exposure for our associates, streamline the screening process and seamlessly grow the product.”
Ellison said a spirit of innovation allowed the team to overcome obstacles posed by the pandemic. “Despite stay-at-home orders and restricted access to our equipment, software engineer Ryan Giovacchini was able to create a working prototype within a single day using his 3D printer at home,” he said. Then, with a prototype in hand, the team began testing and collecting feedback inside the club.
“We’ve made over a hundred iterations based on what we learned from our associates,” Colletti said. “From adding instructional signage to ensuring the protection of sensitive health data, we are taking all the essential steps to optimize functionality, safety and security.”
Sam’s Club is now ready to roll the automated health screening kiosks to all of its nearly 600 clubs.