Several technology companies are developing mobile
applications that will help in tracing down the spread of coronavirus.
As the world prepares to adopt to the New Normal, Otago
Polytechnic in the US have developed a contact tracing app so easy to use that
other organisations in the ITP sector have adopted it.
According to the Voxy, Otago Polytechnic has moved to Alert
Level 2 and is set to reopen its campuses for learners on Monday 18 May.
This move requires the implementation of stringent and
effective contact tracing protocols –and with the use of its App, the institute
is set to adopt the New Normal.
While using the App, an individual is required to check in
and out of each building they visit, and keeping a record of people they have
The mobile phone application (supported by Android and IOS) was
developed, tested and completed by mid-April.
Several institutions have taken up Otago Polytechnic’s offer
to share with them the Microsoft PowerApp based solution, which has been made
open source to the sector.
“We made it available to others who hold the
appropriate Microsoft 365 software license,” Steven Turnbull, Otago
Polytechnic Chief Information Officer, explains.
The CEO further explains that, “A person coming to our
campus would open the app and select their location from a menu that comprises
all our buildings, then check in to that specific site. They would then note
whom they’d met or come into contact with.”
“Simplicity of use is the key. The app is basically an
electronic diary that records a person’s daily contacts on campus.”
“The app also has a geo-fencing function, meaning that
should they forget to check out of the same building, it will alert them to do
so. The data comes from the app in real-time to a central secure store where we
can, if required, contact everyone that has been recorded as a contact with the
He assured that public that the App does not monitor the
personal details of the users.
“However, people need to be assured that we are not
monitoring them. The data of their on-campus activity is stored, yes, but it
would only be used in the event of a suspected case of COVID-19.”
If adopted, this App can be useful as different governments
across the world look for ways to adopt to the New Normal.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently warned that the
Coronavirus pandemic could go on for a lifetime until a vaccine has been found.