Monitoring Social Distancing in Smart Spaces using Infrastructure-Based Sensors

Social distancing is a critical tool for mitigating disease transmission, particularly in crowded indoor spaces. In this paper, we contribute by assessing the feasibility of re-purposing existing infrastructure of occupancy monitoring sensors and environmental sensors for the dual purpose of monitoring social distancing and supporting disease transmission risk estimation. We consider 410 continuous days of measurements from CO 2 and PIR (passive infrared) motion detectors collected from a collaborative smart space, prior to the start of the pandemic in 2017–2018. We demonstrate how these sensors can be used to estimate occupancy levels, as well as analyze occupancy patterns within the space. We also consider the use of overall air quality within the space for estimating insights about potential transmission risks. Based on our analysis, we derive insights into how infrastructure-based sensors can be used to detect problematic areas in the space and offer guidelines on how to modify these areas to be more social distancing aware.