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Contact tracing – app or sensor?

  • grydsense
  • .

    June 14th, 2020

    5 min read

    With COVID – 19 there has been a raging debate on how to “Contact Trace” employees once they start coming back into buildings. Irrespective of what products GrydSense is building (full disclosure we are a sensor/software analytics company as opposed to a smart building app company) we believe contact tracing solely via mobile applications is not going to be winning strategy for the operators of commercial real estate in the foreseeable future.

    What is the underlying reason for this? The answer is simple:

    there is no way employers/operators can influence tenants to have there Bluetooth always on nor can they dictate a forced download of an app. One needs to only look as far as Singapore to determine that in a controlled mostly law abiding nation the number citizens downloading the app was only 30% of the population.

    So what would be the architecture of a potential solution?

    There are 2 critical datapoints – temperature of a person and who they are. How would one determine both these datapoints?

    For the 1st data attribute one could measure the temperature of a person through a thermal imaging camera.

    This is where the grydlight hardware infrastructure is unique – as far as we know it is the only example of an open hardware architecture in the market. What do we mean by that? It enables our customers to use our infrastructure – our wireless receiver, our gateway with cloud connectivity etc to allow third party sensors (such as a thermal imaging sensor) to be plugged and seamlessly be added to our infrastructure and start sending data to an on-premise/cloud backend.

    In summation your time to stand up new sensors and the capex associated with Install gets drastically reduced. Once you have temperature data the next step would be to appropriately identify the person through a facial recognition camera.

    Why is this step important? To truly enable contact tracing. If you knew who that person you could determine their workspace and colleagues to start to triangulate which tenants have been exposed to the person. Again this is one possible solution to Contact Tracing – we live in uncertain times and technology solutions can be that beacon of hope to help with containing future pandemics.