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How This Tech Takes a Covid-Conscious Approach to Loss Prevention

Apparel retailers have spent plenty of time and money trying to make the supply chain safer over the past year, but one technology company aims to combine health precautions with an industry imperative that plagued them far before Covid-19: loss prevention.

Thruvision, a provider of next-generation people-screening solutions designed for security and loss prevention, is adapting its technologies to address the Covid-driven need for “safe distance” screening at distribution and fulfillment centers.

The anti-theft solution is built to allow users to screen for metallic and non-metallic items concealed under a person’s clothing at distances up to 10 feet. By eliminating the need for physical pat-downs of employees, the Thruvision system seeks to reduce Covid-19 health and safety risks by providing screening at a distance that exceeds Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

Thruvision’s passive terahertz scanning system’ emits no radiation, and can detect when a concealed object is blocking a person’s natural heat energy. Passive terahertz scanning typically uses thermal imaging technology to reveal hidden weapons and explosives, but in this case, would be detecting items like apparel and accessories hidden in one’s clothing.

The technology, which is has vetted and approved by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA), is being used at warehouses of U.K.-based retailers including Next, JD Sports, Matalan and Sports Direct. It can independently measure up to 2,000 people per hour and includes compact cameras that can be deployed within 15 minutes, Thruvision says.

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On Tuesday, Thruvision released a video showing an actual distribution center theft being prevented by its safe-distance loss prevention technology. The video, taken by a global retailer, is the actual CCTV footage of a distribution center worker being screened with Thruvision’s technology, the company says.

In the video, an employee walks into an area similar to a TSA checkpoint and is monitored from the system 10 feet away during the scan. By capturing the person’s heat energy, the Thruvision technology shows the person as a green figure. Areas where a concealed object may be a blocking the heat energy show up as black.

The system is designed to accurately show the size, shape and location of a concealed object, regardless of the material, without revealing any information about the person’s gender or anatomy.

“This video is a powerful, real-world demonstration of why distribution centers and fulfillment centers are increasingly turning to Thruvision to protect high-value, easy-to-conceal items,” Colin Evans, Thruvision’s CEO, said in a statement. “Thousands of employees are now being safely and non-intrusively screened by top retailers and logistics firms with Thruvision technology because it can detect all types of items—not just metallics.”

A growing number of firms have deployed Thruvision for employee screening and loss prevention applications, the company says, including Fanatics, Sony and supply chain management firm CEVA Logistics, as well as major airports such as Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Seattle Tacoma International Airport (SEA) and LaGuardia Airport (LGA).

Although the latest application of Thruvision is capable of detecting items within a 10-foot range, other versions of the technology in airports and other public places have measured at distances between 10 and 25 feet. The solution is developed from the technology that satellites use to detect holes in the ozone layer.