Keeping Track: Smart Contact Tracing Solutions for Business Sustainability

Bernard Lee

Vice President, Smart Digital Building Solutions (Smart Sustainability), ST Engineering

Randy Ler

Vice President, Smart Digital Building Solutions (Smart Services), ST Engineering

Preventing a pandemic is better than battling one.

This was the belief that inspired us to develop the suite of smart contact tracing solutions that help organisations to detect virus infections at the workplace and ensure business sustainability amid a health crisis.

From reminding employees to maintain safe distancing measures to monitoring their vital signs for indications of virus infections, our solutions go beyond the realm of contact tracing — they also keep people safe.

The message here is simple: early detection saves lives.

Ultimately, this can mean the difference between containment and calamity. Across the world, countries have begun to realise the importance of detecting virus attacks early.

According to a 2020 study by Research and Markets, a global consultancy firm, the Global Infectious Disease Diagnostics market accounted for US$15.53 billion in 2018. This is expected to reach US$28.79 billion by 2027.

While smart contact tracing applications can save lives and ensure business continuity, there are barriers that prevent companies from adopting the technology – from privacy concerns to a lack of real-time safety measures.

Proactive Pandemic Protection

A key challenge to smart contact tracing applications is the lack of real-time safety measures.

While most applications can provide key data like user whereabouts and time logs after an infection has been reported, they tend to lack the technology to protect users on a proactive level.

Our AGIL™ Wearable Smart Band, however, reminds employees to observe safe distancing measures in real time.

This is done by harnessing the power of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), a wireless personal area network technology, to exchange proximity data and the length of interactions between employees.

For example, when an employee breaches the 2-meter safe distancing rule, the smart band will trigger a vibration and flash a warning sign until the right physical distance is observed.

In the event where an infection is reported, the proximity records extracted from the server can be analysed according to the time spent during interactions and distance.

Instead of isolating the entire organisation, the organisations can identify the employees that the infected person came into close contact with and reach out to them right away.

The AGIL™ Wearable Smart Band also helps companies identify and mitigate the risk of virus infections.

By capturing digital records of employee proximity and the length of interactions between employees, it helps enterprises improve their contact tracing efforts in a smart and hassle-free manner.

That’s not all. vital signs like the temperature, heart rate and sleep quality of users. can be picked up and sent to a backend database to create a data lake. Here, autonomous artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms can be developed by research institutions to process the data to identify anomalies and infections remotely.

For example, by taking into account a user’s heart rate, temperature and sleep quality, the system can detect if an employee is battling a virus infection. The smart band can then alert the organisations immediately, allowing them to isolate infections before they get out of control.

Go with the Flow

Currently, most organisations implement contact tracing efforts which require visitors and employees to manually scan their identification cards or fill up forms before entering and exiting premises.

Apart from being time consuming, such procedures also require significant manpower and logistical input.

Worse, the build-up in queues might even aid the spread of infections.

Our AGIL™ Smart Flow solutions overcomes these concerns by automating the processes on registration, authentication and detection in one single system having a facial recognition and thermal sensor with entry and exit data log capability.

Using advanced face liveness detection, the device can carry out contactless biometric authentication. Advanced facial detection algorithms enable the system to carry out checks even when users are wearing their face masks.

Temperature is measured using infrared thermal imaging camera built into the system. Employees or visitors with high body temperatures will be barred from entering the premises, allowing the organisation to prevent the spread of a possible infection.

With the system, everyone can enter and exit the organisation’s premises without having to check in and out manually.

Key data like time logs and body temperature measurements are then stored on backend systems such as cloud and local servers in real time.

For Your Eyes Only

Another key challenge will be privacy. Unlike most contact tracing applications which share data access with third-party providers and authorities, the AGIL™ Trace software keeps the data in the hands of the enterprise.

The data collected across all devices is accessible by only the private enterprise. Information is shared with only national health authorities in the event where a case is reported and requires tracing beyond the organisation.

Ultimately, smart contact tracing solutions contribute to public health by allowing the authorities to plan ahead and allocate the right amount of resources. They also help the authorities characterise the prevalence, spread and contagiousness of the disease.

As we enter a new normal rife with uncertainties, what is certain is that the speed of virus detection will play a critical role as countries battle the pandemic. Smart contact tracing technology can help to mitigate the spread of virus outbreak.

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