With the UK government recently launching the Track and Trace app on the Isle of Wright– an app that is designed to let you know if you have come in to contact with someone who has tested positive for Coronavirus, businesses globally are coming under increasing pressure to come up with solutions to keep their employees safe – becoming ‘Covid Secure’ – whilst allowing them to return to their day to day work.
At Content Formula, one approach we have been working on is how technology can be implemented to help employers understand how their employees are interacting and creating ways to protect them should issues arise. Making use of enterprise mobile applications, device Bluetooth features as well as dedicated hardware, we can create solutions that can let executives and HR employees track who may have come in to contact with Coronavirus, even perhaps without being around the person who is directly infected.
Unlike the UK governments approach of adoption through continual marketing and social responsibility messaging, solutions can be made mandatory through enterprise mobile device management schemes, ensuring that all employees are served the app and don’t have the ability to even remove it. And this technology could even be delivered through an existing mobile application (such as a corporate comms app), simply utilising the devices Bluetooth and reporting all the information back to the central service.
A three pronged approach
Bluetooth has long been a technology that has been used in smart devices – your Bluetooth these days is usually always on and listening for connections to other devices. But what this means is that this open connection can actually be picked up on by other devices, also on the lookout for open connections. Applications can leverage this listening method to capture which devices in the area are also listening, and because of Bluetooth’s limited range capabilities, you can be fairly confident that the peron with the device was within the vicinity of the other listening device, unlike perhaps GPS which can range from being very accurate in ideal conditions, to being extremely inaccurate in multistory buildings.
Going a step further than the UK government app, we have been working more and more lately with Bluetooth Beacons – a technology that allows you to precisely identify locations (within 2 feet) that individuals have visited. For instance, if person A sits in a particular meeting room at 10am, and person B sits in that same room at 11am, however doesn’t come directly in to contact with person A, there may still be a chance of infection. Bluetooth beacons can be used in such a scenario. They listen to all people passing them and can report back centrally the log list of events, including time / date, exact location, duration and person.
Now with all of this obviously comes privacy and data capture concerns. We don’t want to create technology solutions that feel intrusive and prevent privacy. Geofencing is a way to ensure that the application is only tracking and tracing when in certain areas or scenarios – employees probably don’t want you tracing them whilst they are in their homes, but if they are in the workplace, this functionality could be switched back on to trace who exactly they come in to contact with.
If you’d like more information, please contact us where we can arrange a demo.