This collaboration would allow for the development of ‘contact-tracing’ apps that are able to run on both Android and Apple devices. These could then be rolled out by national governments so that they can identify the development of COVID-19 in concentrated areas much quicker. What's more, this initiative would also allow third-party developed apps to 'communicate' with each other.
How would these apps work?
Using Bluetooth technology, the app would store the information of other smartphones that a person has come into contact with throughout the day. If one of these people is diagnosed with coronavirus, they can then use the app to update their status, which will in turn send an alert to all users who they have had close contact with over a certain period of time, so that they can begin self-isolating.
However, some have voiced concerns over whether the proposed apps are a breach of privacy. Apple and Google announced in a joint statement that: ‘privacy, transparency and consent are of utmost importance in this effort’, which is why they were proposing Bluetooth rather than GPS tracking technology.
Another concern is that the success of such an application would rely on a sufficient number of people being tested. For example, in the UK, only those admitted to hospital, front line NHS workers, and rarely those with persistent symptoms are currently being tested. What's more, as many as half of people infected with COVID-19 show no symptoms at all, which can make tracking it a significant problem.
Town & Country is a family run provider of telephone systems, broadband packages and mobile phones for businesses across the South. To learn more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team on 01202 514444.