The Booming Multi-Billion Coronavirus Fever Camera Market

By John Honovich and Charles Rollet, Updated Dec 30, 2020, 09:16am EST (Info+)

The market for elevated body temperature detection cameras, aka 'coronavirus cameras' aka 'fever detectors', may be worth billions of dollars this year and is certainly, by far, the fastest-growing market segment in the industry.

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Disclaimer - *********** *** *************

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Hanwha ********

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Avigilon *********

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For ***, ** ** *** ********

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Vote / ****

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Comments (57)

The price war has already started, Dahua have just released a new version and its over 50% lower price than the old version.

As you would expect its slightly lower price than the HIK equivalent

The big question is what's the next move ?

HIK and others will more than likely react and then its down hill from there.

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Link to the new solution?

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I am not using this a an advertisement so I don't want to post a link, its just information on how the price bubble is already going pop.

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Ok, can you send it privately?

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let me have your email address and I will

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Just click on my name and it will send me a message.

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Ok, can you send it privately?

Can you post it publicly?

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It’s not the same solution. A different offering for a different user.

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Are you talking about the DH-TPC-BF3221-T? I'm trying to check price on that compared to the 5421, but sites are being slow. It does appear to be less expensive, but trying to confirm both of them now.

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I would not call it any of these solutions a "Coronavirus fever detection camera" #1. And as for a price war, we have a different perspective.

We believe that most end-users would rather a bit pay more for a reliable solution, than 50% cheaper for one they cannot be sure works properly or accurately. Of course, some in our industry will sell inferior solutions for the sheer motivation of making sales revenue, whether it actually works or not!

The fact is that most of the solutions being offered today, do not recommend or include devices that are required for temperature calibration. When you have varying ambient temperatures between the camera and the target subject, your temperature accuracy can be all over the chart. This is why, most medical grade touch-less hand held screening devices instruct users to take the temperature reads 5-10cm from the patients forehead, arm pit, ear, etc.

Even though these thermo-graphic camera solutions are being used as a non-medical "preliminary" body-temperature screening or pre-screen devices, doing so without including a consistent calibration device could result false positives or even worse, false negatives. So many in our industry seem comfortable issuing disclaimers and selling these solutions, as fast as they can process the PO's!

In contrast, the solution we are offering, we include (mandatory) a black body calibration device for every camera. Additionally, we have specific requirements and parameters required for successful deployment. This combined with our focus on accuracy and performance, we market the solution as a pre-screening solution ONLY.

The net result is our solution is more expensive and we won't sell as many as our competitors.

We are further integrating our Body Temperature Pre-Screening technology into other technology and AI options we offer. These include live face match/facial recognition, access control integration for automated (Go or No-Go) dual-authentication, compliance with mandatory face mask usage and other mandatory PPE requirements. Other solutions of strong interest now which can be integrated are automated people counting for controlling and restricting the number of people in a facility at any given time.

We believe the demand for viable solutions like these, will last far longer than most people think. Just like 9-11 and how it impacted and changed air-travel forever, this too will change the way we live and work for a long time to come.

I remain confident that the we will continue to see a strong resistance to anything from China and that that resistance will continue to grow over the coming weeks and months.

So the while the demand for these solutions are driven from Covid-19 today, what's next... Covid-20, Covid-21...

We hope not but, who knows?

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I agree with most of what you say, the product I am talking about has a black body included. Yes my use of "price war" might be a bit strong, but its going to be interesting to see what happens next.

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We believe that most end-users would rather a bit pay more for a reliable solution

What is your definition or example of a "reliable solution"?

We believe the demand for viable solutions like these, will last far longer than most people think.

I'll publicly take the "under" on this one. I do not believe the EBT cameras are going to prove to be reliable enough relative to the costs to become ingrained as a day to day thing.

As customers experience too many employees or customers of their own getting false-flagged for EBT and/or too many people being let through that were later found to be infected they will lose faith in the devices. Along the way, the end users won't hesitate to call their integrators to come back and "re-tune" things constantly, making these a losing proposition for the integrators.

These devices feel very much like Video Analytics 1.0 to me.

Will be interesting to see how the actual market plays out over the next year.

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What is your definition or example of a "reliable solution"?

One that can be validated to accurately take body temperature readings to within a 0.3-0.5 degree reading variance of an actual medical grade thermometer, and do this throughout the day, days and weeks. Medical grade thermometers can vary in the same way. In fact, medical providers will tell you that three separate temperature scans in a 3 minute period can produce results with variances between .1 and .5 degrees.

As customers experience too many employees or customers of their own getting false-flagged for HBE and/or too many people being let through that were later found to be infected they will lose faith in the devices.

I agree with you here partially. Not on the false flag part but, considering that none of these solutions detect A-Symptomatic infections, people will get discouraged that they are screening for elevated body temperatures yet, we still had a major outbreak.

A-Symptomatic infections are the ultimate Trojan Horse that can and will spread infections anywhere. Aside from unrealistic dreams of virus testing everyone, every day, the real solution is mitigation with masks, social distancing and other measures.

John said this in a video interview about this topic recently. Some want to have these solutions solely as a feel good measure, to demonstrate that "we are doing something" which is better than doing nothing. The same can be said for TSA airport security screening, which has some deterrence value, some actual value and a ton of perceived value!

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Agree, but there are a lot of people out there that are afraid to lose income if they don't go to work or will miss out on the next big TP/hand sanitizer delivery at their favorite store. It may not be 100% effective due to asymptomatic people, but at this point any percentage of people that can be detected counts, if the camera/analytic is reliable.

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As customers experience too many employees or customers of their own getting false-flagged for EBT and/or too many people being let through that were later found to be infected they will lose faith in the devices. Along the way, the end users won't hesitate to call their integrators to come back and "re-tune" things constantly, making these a losing proposition for the integrators.

These devices feel very much like Video Analytics 1.0 to me.

Well stated, Brian. I feel like we should be borrowing the epidemiological phrases sensitivity vs specificity. Basically there are 4 categories for all analytics beyond just "right and wrong":

1. True Positives - that is person and it is tagged correct

2. False Positives - that is a person but it is actually headlights (looking at you Avigilon)

3. True Negatives - that is not a person and it is tagged correct.

4. False negatives -- that is not a person, but it actually is.

Replace the above with fever detection rather than tagging a person. Sure it's drawing boxes around people and alarming when detected over-temperature. How often is it just wrong that a given person does not have a fever? How often does it miss someone who does?

Yes... I have been watching too many Youtube videos. I still think sensitivity vs specificity does apply.

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These devices feel very much like Video Analytics 1.0 to me.

I disagree mainly because the problem is likely to be the later, i.e.:

too many people being let through that were later found to be infected they will lose faith in the devices

The rate of infection is low statistically. Only something like 0.3% of people in the US have had coronavirus so far (840k / 330 million), the probability of any individual location in any individual month having people with coronavirus is low. And even when they do have it and they are not detected, people can rationalize it that the person had not yet developed a fever.

It was easy to see that video analytics was obviously broken because it kept alarming on shadows, birds, rain, etc.

But a fever system that is simply programmed to "Detect face; generate random number(97.6, 98.6), display number on face" would be seen by most people as highly accurate.

I am not as much trying to defend these cameras as to push back on the unsuitability of the video analytics comparison. Agree/disagree?

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I am not as much trying to defend these cameras as to push back on the unsuitability of the video analytics comparison. Agree/disagree?

I think you're analyzing it too deeply. I believe there is a general consensus that early video analytics products set forth expectations that could not be met based on claims of abilities that were overstated relative to what could be achieved.

But a fever system that is simply programmed to "Detect face; generate random number(97.6, 98.6), display number on face" would be seen by most people as highly accurate.

I have made similar comments about some analytics products over the years, saying you could just generate alarms randomly and you would be bound to be right at least some of the time. Kind of of different than what you are saying, but in the same spirit. If a random number generator can act as a reasonable imposter for your product, does it really have value?

It was easy to see that video analytics was obviously broken because it kept alarming on shadows, birds, rain, etc.

I know of some analytics companies that tried to spin some of the false alarms as "value". "See, it detected a deer on the road, that could be a hazard.".

I'll stick with my video analytics 1.0 comparison, I think most people will see similarities without over-thinking it.

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The recent antibody tests, though preliminary, are showing that there is a good chance that significantly more people have/have already had the virus.

Also, a significant percentage of people with the virus are asymptomatic (upwards of 20%). This would mean they would not have a fever and no device would be able to detect them proactively.

It's starting to look like some states may require a temperature read of employees/customers when entering a business. Even with the inaccuracies of some of these cameras, this may be the simplest and most cost effective way to meet those requirements.

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I would not call it any of these solutions a "Coronavirus fever detection camera"

Nor would I but that's clearly what they are being marketed for, without coronavirus, the market (in revenue) for these products is virtually nil.

We believe the demand for viable solutions like these, will last far longer than most people think. Just like 9-11 and how it impacted and changed air-travel forever, this too will change the way we live and work for a long time to come.

It might. and while 9-11 has parallels in boosting surveillance spending, surveillance equipment also got a lot better in the decade following 9-11. Will the same happen with 'elevated skin temperature' cameras? I don't know. I don't think so but willing to hear the case for it.

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We have had a few of our customers request these. We are taking a pretty hard stance against it as a solution and are attempting to guide our customers away from implementing this into their safety protocols. We are not 100% against it. If they want to spend the money on an 510(k) rated device, screen 1 person at a time for 3-6 seconds each, and have an employee on hand for a manual temperature screening of anyone the camera alerts on, then we will support it. Anything less we believe is too big of a legal liability with the potential of duty-of-care and false-sense-of-safety lawsuits should someone contract the virus on their property. Whether or not the suit wins, defending it will be costly as the vast majority of insurance policies do not cover biological incidents including viral outbreaks.

What are the reasons those of you who are willing to sell this see it differently?

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What are the reasons those of you who are willing to sell this see it differently?

Going out on a limb I am willing to say it's "easy money". There were ebayers selling cloroquine aquarium additives with faint disclaimers about "not for medical use" for a tidy sum a while back. When there is fear there is someone looking to cash in on that fear. To a certain extent, that is our industry. Like you, I am taking a harsh stance against EBT until I am 100% confident that something is delivering 99.0% accurate results or better and I must see it. Powerpoint and Youtube videos are not a POC.

I spend so much time right now deflecting customers who see a drone taking temperatures in some Chinese propaganda and want us to dig into it for them. It has been a frustrating couple months for this reason. It's very difficult to see a gold rush going on and tell clients "no, that's fools' gold". I steer them towards a FDA 510K certified product and wish them luck. I would rather pass on revenue than sell snake oil until some executive demands I do so.

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I'd like to hit the thumbs up and like button. There is a backside to screening with the potential for misuse and liability. The workforce and attendance abuse has to also be taken into consideration.

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We are in the same boat. We want our customers to understand the inaccuracies of these cameras and that they aren't a full proof solution to detect fevers, no matter how they are being marketed.

Something that I have started hearing in the news, however, is that some states may only allow businesses to open if they are taking temperatures of any employees/customers that enter their business. I could definitely see these cameras being viewed as the easiest, and in some cases, the most cost effective way to meet those requirements.

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I could see things differently if the state comes out and says that this camera based technology is required or permissible however if they simply say fever screening is required then my position would remain the same. I won't be a part of one of my customers opening themselves up to the liability of telling their employees and customers they have created a safe environment by implementing camera based fever screening.

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To me this feels like installers and manufacturers jumping on the bandwagon to earn a quick profit, intentionally or not.

From the little research I have done personally on using thermal in this application there are too many variables that would void it from being an accurate solution.

The most accurate place to take a temperature is the inner canthus (thanks IPVM) which means people removing glasses before screening. Also, most screening locations will be near building entrances where subjects will enter from outside areas. Their surface temperature is going to vary based on the temperature outside.

In a sterile environment where site visitors are compliant and take the time to be screened in the ideal way the solution may work. However people are generally in a rush to get in to work, bags and coffee in hand and would rush through I suspect.

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I believe the success of a 'fever camera' for the long haul will be based on reliability. There will be a push in the short term resulting in a spike in sales, but until a more affordable, accurate, and consistently reliable product is available, I believe the spike in demand will fall off.

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but until a more affordable, accurate, and consistently reliable product is available

These products already exist. There are a number of medical-grade thermometers that can do "instant" readings (usually defined as somewhere in the range of 3-8 seconds) with high accuracy. The problem is they are low throughput, and require a full-time attendant. Non-contact, high-throughput, accurate/precise temperature readings are not easily done. This is one of those "pick any 2" scenarios.

All of the research, reading, and testing I have done personally leads me to the conclusion that thermal cameras are the wrong tool for this job. In some cases you can get "good enough" results, which involve extremely expensive units and still relatively slow processing times (1 person at a time for a few seconds in front of the camera).

It will take some time for the market (integrators and end users) to fully realize this, and I think at the same time society in general is going to trend back towards pre-COVID behaviors, and those factors will essentially kill off the thermal/EBT market in about 6 months.

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Just as the passenger screening changed after 9/11 I think that there is a good chance that temperature screening will be here to stay. Clearly the expectations for the technology are unrealistic. We will see improvements in effectiveness and reliability but that won't change the fundamental problem that this is not really the right tool for this job.

Nevertheless, I think that, like passenger screening, the purpose is not truly the screening but the fact that it makes people feel protected and safer. Having temperature screening in place will make people feel safer and that is likely to trump the legal/technology/reliability/cost issues.

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Smoke and mirrors. I think this would set a horrible precedent yet again that will drive up costs and down productivity with little real impact on improving safety.

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I agree with the airport screening comparison but would suggest the outcomes are vastly different. Millimeter wave scans (and others) are probably 99%+ effective at detecting weapons, so the conclusion makes sense.

The last thing we want to do is suggest to people that they can "feel safer" from contracting COVID19 because everyone has been screened with a completely misapplied technology for preventing contagion transmission. People will fall back on acting like they did 4 months ago and we'll institute another massive outbreak.

I hope reality trumps feel good!

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I agree with both Michael and UM #8 but I don't think we will much affect the path of use of the tool. If the [owner/operator] of a space believes that they are losing out in [foot traffic/customer confidence/employee confidence/other metrics] versus a competitor that has installed temperature screening equipment then the technical arguments will not be heard. The only question will be how quickly can we install it.

Within the space I have to maneuver in that scenario I want to try and limit my internal stakeholders options to only those systems that have some merit and utility. I also hope to move the needle a little on understanding of issues like stop and scan vs. an expectation of scanning dozens of people a second.

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Airport screening systems, like those at the checkpoint, are nowhere near 99% effective. And yet they are mandatory....

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Los Angeles County just came up with a preliminary study that shows that the asymptomatic rate could be upwards of 50%. This means fever cameras would be completely ineffective.

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Another study out today says that you are most contagious before you experience any overt symptoms of illness. I see these thermal cameras as essentially useless, unless you have a very specific application, and have a second method of verifying the result of the initial thermal scan.

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I don't dispute the need for technologies capable to accurately sense and analyze data relating to fever temperature but I can see challenges in technical merits of such technologies. In my opinion, deploying thermal cameras to achieve this would require a controlled environment and specific conditions to ensure optimization for such deployment. In order for this solution to be successful, I suspect that in depth training in deploying such solution would need to be rigorously monitored. There are so many variables such as age, rage, thermal conditions, and so on would have to be taken into consideration. In addition, "fever" thermal cameras can only be perceived and used as the initial step for early detection. Follow-up action and verifications will need to ensue in order to validate the data collected by the thermal camera. As always, the human factor will need to be delimited in order for this function to be successful. We can't look at this from a simple widget solution. How trustworthy is this technology?

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of course I meant race...not rage...

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We have a large client base that could really use this, BUT......

Our interest in selling a solution for this is tempered by the obvious realities related to accuracy and pricing. Our interest in selling this type of system would increase exponentially based on any manufacturer actually providing a system that can be proven to be simple, accurate, comparatively affordable and, more specifically, one that does not require as much "herding" or movement control of those being measured. With those fundamental requirements being in place for us, I dont believe that this challenge can/will/should be addressed using an existing off-the-shelf product or system currently being sold or applied both now and historically for completely different reasons. As a company in business for close to 25 years, we really cant take the risk of selling (or attempting to sell) anything that we (AND the manufacturer) are not absolutely confident will deliver the promised results to our clients. Doing anything less in this market and for this reason constitutes profiteering.

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Slight shift in topic: If the major camera companies are challenged with thermal accuracy at close quarters inside, how is it that a drone company can claim to identify fever at 190 feet in the air outside? Seems dubious.

'Pandemic drone' test flights are monitoring social distancing - CNET

"The technology can accurately detect infectious conditions from 190 feet away, as well as measure social distancing efforts, according to Draganfly."

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Looks like we found the next product for Shooter Detection Systems to distribute.

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My God, Pandemic drone detecting infectious conditions? I'll try to remain calm and respectful. If you read serious researches on the subject matter (you will find on IPVM) you will see that even inside a controlled environment, serious issues surrounding room and climate conditions, system calibration needing hourly reviews and readings needing the be at a maximum of 18 inches from the unit poses issues. How in the world will a drone achieve this? It is not only dubious, it is only good for science fiction movies at best.

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"How interested are you in selling coronavirus fever / body temperature cameras?"

I don't believe it will make much of a difference. I am aware that couple of the companies that are listed above purchased directly. Manufactures were faster to jump and advertise online and on their website making it easy for companies looking for this technology to find them. Also, many are plug and play setup on a Tripod and most integrators are learning this technology now with the end user. Last, many companies that pop up like Fever, ICI, Athena, e.t.c are not typical security companies that might know or care about the respecting the Integrator channel.. they want to ride this very short tide.

I am not saying don't do it, i just expect most of the deals to go direct

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i just expect most of the deals to go direct

I think a lot of deals will go direct, especially if they are for large companies. However, there are just too many various users who would be open to buying this right now for these manufacturers / relabellers to reach them all directly, especially in this short time period.

many are plug and play setup on a Tripod

Strongly disagree about plug and play, especially if you care about getting it right. Lots of ways it could go wrong. We have started to test systems and there's lots of fine print about calibrating and positioning and things to avoid, etc.

most integrators are learning this technology now with the end user

I agree here. On the other hand, there's going to be a need for someone to go on site, FLIR, Dahua, Hikvision, etc. don't have enough people in each city to handle on-site visits and flying is not much of an option now.

Integrators have the advantage that they are local and they have experience setting up and troubleshooting systems. Integrators will have issues, as for sure it is new, but involving an integrator is a win for both the manufacturer having local on-site support and the end-user of having someone to work through the issues.

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Check this marketing for a fever detection system: Fever Detection?

No calibration required (according to the marketing) and actually being seriously considered for several international airports in the US!

Their marketing includes OSHA, DHS and HHS logos at the bottom of the marketing campaign as if to imply those agencies endorse the solution!

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#3, wow, those guys are relabelling Athena, how surreal, here is an excerpt from your link:

And here is the same image from Athena's coronavirus detection website:

We covered Athena - Faked Coronavirus Fever Detection, Athena Used Hikvision and Athena CEO Criticizes 'Deplorable' 'Nitpicking', IPVM Refutes

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Is this an OEM?

IPVM Image

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Here is another one to look into:

Personnel Management Kiosk | Meridian Kiosks

"Meridian’s Personnel Management Solution features check-in and temperature verification capabilities. The solution can also be programmed for facial identification, with users easily added in a few short clicks. Designed to help protect the health and safety of both employees and guests by preventing anyone with a temperature from entering a facility, alarms can be added to sound when those above the temperature threshold and those without access attempt to enter."

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I have a client that is getting a demo of these.

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Update: FLIR Confirms $100 Million Fever-Cam Related Sales For Q1 2020

In its Q1 earnings call, FLIR CEO Jim Cannon said the firm made $100 million in fever cam-related sales:

So right now, again, realized about $100 million in [Elevated Skin Temperature detection] bookings split, 75:25 between full solutions and those camera cores that other companies are deploying into their solutions.

We've shipped about, let's say, $30 million to $50 million of that business.

That's about 22% of FLIR's entire Q1 2020 sales of $450.9 million. As IPVM originally noted in our article, historically, such camera sales were small, with the entire instruments division (of which fever cams are only a small subset) making $357 million in all of 2017.

In this latest earnings call, Cannon said that he expected demand for these products "to maintain" longer than for previous pandemics, which subsided much more quickly:

We expect the demand in the second quarter to maintain. And unlike past pandemics, SARS, N1H1, H1N1, etc, we would see a spike in demand and then when it began to subside, that demand would quickly drop. There would be a small run rate of business for spares and replacements at airports in Korea and Japan, for example. This feels very different. We know we don't have a vaccine. We know this virus transmits unlike any other. We expect through the summer and into the fall and winter, we have to continue to take precautions. Again, never seen anything like it.

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Update: Wuhan Guide Infrared Says Q1 Sales More Than Doubled

Wuhan Guide Infrared is a large manufacturer of fever detector cameras in China (PRC). For Q1 2020, the peak of the pandemic in the PRC, Wuhan Guide said its sales were up 154% to $63m and profits up 2,561% to $22m. (For all of 2019 Wuhan Guide made about $230m in sales).

In its earnings call, the firm's CEO said domestic sales have now stabilized, although they expect to see overseas exports increase during Q2:

During the peak of the outbreak in Feb and March, there was a surging market demand but now it's returning to normal. These have largely impacted the Q1 performance. In Q2, the export to overseas market will also have some degree of positive impact

Wuhan Guide did not disclose exactly how many units it sold in Q1 2020 but did say they'd initially planned to produce 20,000 units. They also noted recent (Q2) overseas orders of "several thousand units" including a single 3,000-unit shipment to Russia.

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Any chance you guys can do a test of Grekkom running on the Axis Q2901-E?

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#14, maybe but probably not. We just released Hikvision, we are working on FLIR and ZKTeco right now. We definitely are considering many more systems to test.

It's a big plus for Grekkom that it runs on an Axis camera, the negative is that we have seen little to no marketing nor endorsement from Axis. For sure, if we see Axis or Axis salespeople or general interest in Grekkom ramp up, we'll buy and test.

Are you seeing more interest in it? Are you interested in using an Axis camera or?

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Hi John. I would say we are driving the interest in our area but I haven't heard about them from anyone else. I would prefer to work with hardware I can trust which is what drew me to this solution.

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#14, thanks, have you tried it out yourself then? Curious what you have found.

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Have not, honestly, if no good I would prefer you guys got stuck with the expensive Thermal cam lol

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Update 2021: Market Busting

By the second half of 2020, it became clear that the market had peaked and sales began to fall back down towards pre-COVID levels, e.g.:

Beyond these publicly traded companies, reports from various sellers confirmed the declining trend of fever screening products.

Factors for this fall include:

The plus side for sellers is that easily a total of a billion dollars in these devices were sold, generally at extremely high margins, especially at a time when many other products were not selling at all.

We expect some large scale facilities with significant health concerns to continue to use some devices but the mass market usage of them is trending to fall, especially as vaccines are rolled out.

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Market research firm Omdia estimated fever camera sales totaled over $1 billion last year and accounted for ~5% of all video surveillance sales for the year:

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As we have reported in the past 9 months, the market fell steeply from its summer 2020 peak and has now burst. Most recently, Hundreds of Fever Tablets Sold For Pennies On the Dollar.

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