Building Ethical Tracer, a revolutionary tool in the battle against COVID-19

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How it began

Lola Tech started 2020 with an R&D project exploring how we could use mobile location and bluetooth technologies to revolutionise the hospitality and conference world. Having spent over 10 years building products for the travel and leisure industry, we felt that there was an opportunity to build something exciting.

However, when the Covid-19 pandemic struck we realised we could pivot our technology to help businesses and universities to safely return to work or studies. We built an "Ethical By Design" contact tracing app and dashboard.

Ethical Tracer

Employers, universities and anyone with a duty of care for people are faced with similar privacy challenges around the handling of transmission between their members. Ethical Tracer is a Covid-19 exposure notification solution designed to alleviate many of these concerns.

The app automatically switches on when the user arrives at their workplace and switches off when they leave.  If someone is then diagnosed with Covid-19, colleagues who have been in close contact are discreetly notified to self-isolate.

The details

We build “geofence” zones around a business or university to automatically turn tracing on and off as app users enter and leave the premises. While switched on, the app records movements and interactions with other users. We encrypt and obfuscate all this information so that only a user’s device knows where it has been or whom it has seen, making the app very secure.

An app user can also use the app to check their symptoms, book a test and then register a positive test result. This then notifies any users that have been in the vicinity and may have been exposed.

The app also allows users to track their quarantine and uses unique bluetooth calculation technology to notify users if they aren’t following social distancing guidelines.

Beyond being a useful tool for users to manage their own safety and wellbeing, the app has been designed with the unique HR and operational challenges brought about by Covid-19 in mind. Managers can track the number of employees who are sick and when they are due back, and use this information to manage their staffing levels and office capacity.

Key features

  • Social distancing notifications
  • Encrypted location tracking in work or university zones only
  • Anonymous exposure notifications
  • Book a Covid test
  • Book a space at work
  • Check symptoms
  • Register a positive case
  • Workflow management tool

Technicalities

We’ve built the app for Apple and Google, with businesses in mind. Authenticated users participate as anonymous agents within our distributed exposure notification network, comparing their encrypted location and BLE proximity keys stored on their phone with new Covid-19 cases that enter the system.  Built as a React Native Mobile App coupled with native SDKs for Android & iOS, it sits on the geographically distributed anonymous notification network powered by Python/Redis APIs. It is supported by a web-based case workflow management dashboard built with React UI, a Node.js back-end and dynamoDB.

Who can use it?

Businesses can use Ethical Tracker to give their staff extra protection when they come back to their place of work.

Universities and colleges can use it to provide students and teachers with extra support in returning to campus.

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