Contact-tracing solution to suppress COVID-19
Kerlink and Microshare have announced their collaboration in delivering a turnkey solution to trace contacts proximity in the workplace to help to fight spread of COVID-19.
Facing the COVID-19 pandemic, World Health Organization (WHO) officials stressed the importance for countries to combine testing, isolation and tracing of new cases to suppress the spread of the virus. Suppression is essential for buying time to develop new medicines and new vaccines, to manufacture much-needed equipment, and to design reactive solutions to prevent the spreading of illnesses.
This crisis also reveals that personnel are both the most important and most vulnerable assets of companies and industries, as well as public-service and government agencies. Suppression is thus an especially key challenge during the outbreak and the transition out of confinement phases for all businesses and services. Private and public sector entities are torn between the imperative to strictly follow locally personal hygiene and safety rules and their critical challenge to maintain business continuity, while ensuring the safety of their personnel.
There is wide agreement that effective, close monitoring – known as contact tracing – is essential to identify people who came in contact with infected people to guide proactive prevention and to follow up with the contacts identified.
Factories, plants, warehouses, construction sites, mining and oil & gas sites, prisons, barracks, schools, hospitals health-care and elder-care facilities are many of the environments where smartphones and public apps are not a reliable response to this crisis. Often, people within these facilities and sites either are prohibited from using a smartphone, may not own one or simply refuse to use one. Even those carrying smartphones on a regular basis may have disabled geo-tracking to protect their privacy or deal with limited battery capacity.
Microshare and Kerlink have combined their deep experience in indoor asset tracking within facilities and around ring-fenced properties to deliver a cost-effective contact-tracing solution. Microshare’s Universal Contact Tracing solution is powered by Kerlink’s brand-new Wanesy Wave scanners, industrial-grade indoor and outdoor Wirnet iSerie LoRaWAN gateways and Wanesy Management Center core network and network management tools. This turnkey solution can be deployed in weeks rather than months or years, with no need to design new hardware, or install new complex networks or intrusive data-management systems. This solution runs entirely on a network separate from sensitive corporate databases and closes a loophole opened by systems relying on smartphones.
Its use is simple, secure and anonymised:
- Staff are issued simple and inexpensive autonomous Bluetooth-enabled badges, key-rings or wristbands with a unique ID. No Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is used and data transmitted and recorded is only based on device User Identifier (UID).
- When devices come in close proximity to each other, they scan and record each other’s UID through an encrypted code and regularly upload these UIDs “encounters” to a central, secure, searchable and auditable database..
- Only duly enabled government agencies, corporate-wellness and security officers, facility managers or other officials responsible for mitigating COVID-19 exposure can then identify the wearer of the device, thanks to its unique UID, and trace previous movements of people who subsequently test positive or who develop symptoms.
Designed to be interoperative with standard interfaces and widely deployed commercial data dashboards, Universal Contact Tracing ensures end-to-end security, privacy and reliability for the delivery of critical information where it’s needed. The data it produces is secure, GDPR-compliant and delivered through Microshare’s patent-pending rules and sharing engine to only the appropriate, designated people at the right time.
"Building on our existing Asset Zoning solution, which tracks the location of items such as hospital beds and wheelchairs, Kerlink and Microshare developed Fitbit-style wearable Bluetooth devices coupled with a non-invasive long-range network. They can be used for workplace proximity tracing even where cellphones aren’t allowed,” said Microshare cofounder and CEO Ron Rock. “We realised that tracking employees inside a building wasn’t dissimilar to tracking hospital beds.”
“In this difficult time for companies, health-care facilities, government agencies and all their employees it is crucial for technology companies to help mitigate the effects of COVID-19,” said Stephane Dejean, Kerlink CMO. “The Kerlink and Microshare solution helps workers to feel safe in their workplace and protect their personal data. It also supports companies’ determination to efficiently and safely get back to business when government officials give them the green light.”