Contact Tracing App Tells You COVID-19 is Close [Share Your Story]
Staff posted on May 01, 2020 |
Geospatial app ready and being offered to governments.

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(Image courtesy of BIOS App.)
(Image courtesy of BIOS App.)

BIOS, a Toronto and New York-based geospatial company, has developed an application and associated technologies (The BIOS System) that enables automated and effective contact-tracing to counter the COVID-19 pandemic.

Leaders at every level—federal, state, municipal, and local—have concluded effective contact tracing is vital to the reopening of the American economy and a return to normalcy. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website, “Identifying contacts . . . is critical to protect communities from further spread. If communities are unable to effectively isolate patients and ensure contacts can separate themselves from others, rapid community spread of COVID-19 is likely to increase to the point that strict mitigation strategies will again be needed to contain the virus.”

BIOS captures the presence of any two or more phones within a designated proximity of one another (e.g., 6 feet). Once an individual is diagnosed as COVID-19 positive, public health authorities can reach back and identify which phones/individuals have been within close proximity to the infected individual. Public Health Officials can then notify all identified phones (potentially infected people) and direct them to seek testing, quarantine, or undertake whatever actions are deemed necessary.

Current plans for contact-tracing rely on vast numbers of people deployed to interview infected individuals about their movements and contacts over the prior two weeks. “Even with stay-at home orders in place, few people have a sense of some, let alone everyone, that they may have been in proximity to over the last fourteen days. Any contact-tracing system that relies on armies of interviewers and subjective memories of infirm individuals is ineffective. BIOS replaces all that with automated technology,” said Zev Vogel, Director of Business Development for BIOS.

The BIOS System is phone technology and phone operating system agnostic. BIOS does not depend solely on the use of Bluetooth, which can have serious privacy and efficacy issues. Rather BIOS is a true geospatial solution with greater accuracy that can determine proximity between phones even when not all phones have the app. “Other tracing technologies now being developed utilize Bluetooth and require crowd-based opt-in. These requirements diminish the ability of public health officials to rely on such app’s to reopen the nation. Additionally, our System captures more data points while maintaining user anonymity, enabling better tracking and public health decision-making,” said Vogel. More information can be found at the BIOS app website.

The BIOS System has already been developed and will be available off-the-shelf. The BIOS System is being subjected to initial pilot testing. It will be ready for deployment, ideally in a major metropolitan area. “We are reaching out to federal, state, municipalities, and local authorities to deploy the system in a live-fire pilot,” added Vogel. The BIOS System is also available to the international market. A whitepaper detailing the System is available by request to interested media and government officials.

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