Automotive News Canada - January 2021- v2 - 9
* J A N U A R Y 2 0 21
Digital greeter pre-screens customers
" There are North American
versions [of this technology],
but nothing under $10,000. "
It's still difficult for a small
dealership - new-car sales
of about 400 a year - to control how customers enter the
building. With a total staff of
24 and just two sales employees, the Searles dealership
relied on a motion sensor to
signal someone's arrival.
" I've only got one door for
the customers, " Searles said.
" But if a customer goes by
quickly, the motion sensor
misses them. "
By DOUG FIRBY
AUTOMOTIVE NEWS CANADA
A CHANCE DROP-IN VISIT
to a restaurant in Caledonia,
Ont., led to a General Motors
dealership adopting a new
high-tech countermeasure in
the fight against the spread of
Mark Searles, general
manager of Dennis Searles
Chevrolet Ltd., said he walked
into the Argyle Street Grill in
downtown Caledonia, about
90 kilometres west of Toronto,
a week before Christmas and
encountered an electronic
gadget that greeted him, took
his temperature and checked
whether he was wearing a
" I went over to pick up
a prime rib to go, and I
could see my image in the
Intrigued, Searles discovered that the
vendors of the
machine were in
testing to ensure
it was properly set
up. Two days later,
Searles had his own Janus
scanner at the main entrance
of his father's dealership.
MORE THAN A SENSOR
Mark Searles, left, general
manager at Searles
Chevrolet, and Vince
Poloniato, CEO at Solutions
Into Motion, with the
PHOTO: SEARLES CHEVROLET
Customers told him right
away how much they appreciated the extra safety measure,
" What this
thing will do is
pretty amazing. "
Janus is an
affordable alternative to the
expensive scanners found in
large facilities, such as airports, said Vince Poloniato,
CEO of Solutions Into Motion,
the Brantford, Ont., company
that is importing Janus from
South Korea. The plug-andplay device, equipped with
customizable messages, was
installed at Searles Chevrolet
in less than 48 hours and cost
roughly $2,000, plus tax.
" The magic is that it makes
it affordable for small businesses that don't have full IT
departments, " Poloniato said.
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Solutions Into Motion
ship, which had 17 cases, was
closed until Jan. 4.
Todd Bourgon, executive director of the Trillium
Association (TADA), declined
to comment on the incidence of COVID-19 among the
group's members. TADA, he
said, does not keep any such
" There has been enough
hardship this year for our
dealers, " Bourgon wrote in an
email. " We are going to pass
on a comment on this topic. "
Blair Qualey, CEO of the
New Car Dealers Association
of British Columbia, also said
his group does not keep such
data. Any outbreaks at businesses are reported to health
authorities, he said.
Qualey said his members
are sharing best practices
with and learning from dealerships across the country on
how to minimize the risk of
" My members are really diligent about it, " Qualey
said. " They're grateful that
they can be open to provide
this essential service. " - ANC
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Janus misses no one,
Poloniato said. It sits on a
pedestal and greets the customer as he or she enters. If
the customer isn't wearing a
mask or it is being improperly worn, Janus says, " Please
wear a mask. " If the person's temperature is higher
than 37.3 Celsius, Janus says,
" Please wait for assistance, "
while a staff person comes to
check on the customer.
" The thing works slick, "
The device can also provide a COVID checklist, set a
calendar, be useful in contact
tracing and decide whether to
unlock a door, Poloniato said.
Solutions Into Motion's
core business is GPS tracking
for business, said Poloniato.
In July, he decided to try
out Janus after he learned
about the technology. Searles
Chevrolet is the first auto
dealership to install the
device, but interest is coming from a broad spectrum of
businesses, Poloniato said.
The device is especially
important to Searles because
his father and dealer principal, Dennis Searles, is 80
years old, putting him in
a high-risk health category. The dealership has not
had one incidence of COVID19 among staff, the younger Searles said, and " I don't
want any. "
The magic [of the
Janus scanner] is that it
makes it affordable for
small businesses that
don't have full
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As with dealerships across
Canada, Searles Chevrolet
has been following automaker-recommended protocols to
improve customer safety. In
addition to personal protective equipment, touchless service and multiple hand-sanitizer dispensers, the dealership offers a Back To Clean
car service that sanitizes the
HVAC system, cleans the
keys and headliners, and fogs
the vehicle interior with antibacterial chemicals.
" I'm doing everything I
can to try to prevent anything from happening here, "
Public health authorities do not break out statistics on COVID-19 infections at automotive retailers,
but in December, the city of
Hamilton, Ont., listed Sterling
Honda among businesses
that experienced COVID19 outbreaks. The dealer-
The plug-and-play Janus
scanner costs about $2,000
and comes with messages
that can be customized.
PHOTO: SEARLES CHEVROLET
Automotive News Canada - January 2021- v2
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