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Retail Industry Updates

Sam’s Club Had the Capability to Build a Better Health Screening Kiosk — So It Did

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Sam’s Club has developed an automated and 100% touchless health screening kiosk for its employees.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based club-store chain said the kiosk, currently rolling out to its clubs across the country, enables a safer, quicker and more reliable COVID-19 screening procedure. The contactless kiosk is equipped with patent-pending technology including a built-in body temperature scanner, a camera sensor able to verify identity from a distance and a digital health screening questionnaire activated by hand motion.

According to Sam’s Club, the creation of the kiosk began with a question: How can Sam’s Club conduct health screenings in the safest and most efficient way? Sam’s Club said manual screening presented risks and third-party options couldn’t accommodate the needs of all of its clubs.

“After reviewing hundreds of third-party options, our team realized Sam’s Club had the capability to build a better-equipped kiosk ourselves,” said Ben Ellison, a Sam’s Club product manager. “So that’s exactly what we did.”

Ginese Colletti, director of software engineering for Sam’s Club, said few health screening options on the market are truly touchless. “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,” she added.

With the set goal to create Sam’s Club-specific screening technology, the end-to-end team — including employees from operations, technology, product and more — went to work.

“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 3-D printer at home,” Ellison said.

With prototype in hand, the team began testing and collecting feedback inside the club. “We 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 took all the essential steps to optimize functionality, safety and security.”

Colletti and Ellison said they believe the need for health screening technology will remain well after the current pandemic.

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