10 Things to do with pandemic tech post-pandemic

With many prominent thinkers, e.g. Yuval Harari, highlighting the potential negative use cases of pandemic technologies post-Covid-19, some of our customers are thinking about the potential positive ones.  

Having developed Proximity Monitor, a contact tracing and social distancing solution currently being deployed by EY, we often get asked the following question: “This is great for the pandemic, but what am I supposed to do with the solution afterwards?”  

Fortunately, other clients offer us the answers by saying: “This pandemic tech is cool, but I would like to use it for X afterwards.”

So here is our list of 10 things you can do with contact tracing tech after the pandemic ends:  

  1. Map out work processes 
    Pandemic solutions rely on measuring the proximity and duration of devices such as tags or smartphones. For complex manufacturing processes this allows to map out interactions between different groups of staff. For example, how much time is spent handing over a task or a part from Team A to Team B. This can help minimizing risks and optimizing processes.  
  1. Offer basic wayfinding 
    While proximity alone is powerful, you can inject it with location insights (hereafter, referred to as location-enabled) to fully leverage its potential. One of the use cases this enables is basic wayfinding. While the industry norm Bluetooth positioning allows for 1-3m accuracy, this might be enough for very basic wayfinding. In case you require higher accuracy, Forkbeard’s ultraBeacons can enrich Bluetooth Low Energy signals with sound. This enables accuracy of an arms-length accuracy. The beacons are battery powered and quick to install, ensuring scalability.   
  1. Measure utilization of the indoors 
    Basic crowd statistics or location-enabled heatmaps of visitors and interactions are a commonly requested feature. These can be live to identify crowd build up or historic to analyze and optimize indoor spaces.  
  1. Track and trace expensive gadgets & tools  
    After tracking people during pandemics one can shift to track important equipment. Hospitals are a prime example where complex and large buildings turn into hiding places for expensive and urgently-needed equipment. Location-enabled contact tracing tech could give a real-time overview of the location of any equipment, as well as its past usage.  
  1. Send push notifications to customers 
    Proximity and beacons are often used by marketeers to contextualize a retail experience with customized push notifications at the entrance, exit or during the visit. Think personal greeting, digital coupons and offers, exit survey, etc.   
  1. Verify employees, customers and visitors 
    If location-enabled and implemented into your own company/customer app, you can make sure that only individuals with the app running can enter your venue (e.g. 24/7 gym’s).  
  1. Trigger events 
    Based on location-enabled proximity technology you can make your indoor space smarter. For example, when an employee enters a room set the status as occupied in the booking functionality or start a scheduled virtual meeting. In essence, you could make your office actually smart.  
  1. Automate work processes 
    Similarly, to the previous use case, you can trigger work processes based on the proximity of a device to a location or person. To be more specific, for retailers this could mean that as soon as a customer approaches the info desk or the payment area a request is send out to employees if no proximity to staff is detected.  
  1. Inclusion for the visually impaired 
    There is a lot of potential to do good with the technology, especially for the disabled members of our society. By integrating with a speaking device, visually impaired could be guided through the indoors and public facilities based on their proximity to locations or actual indoor position. This would lead not only more inclusion into society but also an increased customer base.  
  1. Monitor health and presence of patients 
    Especially in healthcare and assisted living facilities for the elderly location-enabled proximity based technologies can prove important, if not lifesaving. Companies could monitor movement and more importantly, the lack of movement. Furthermore, with patients suffering from dementia unintended breakouts and search operations can be prevented. In addition, many hospitals suffer from cross-patient viral & bacterial infections all year round. For the staff and the patient’s proximity technology might be of importance all year round, with or without a pandemic.  

Actually, we have one last reason: 

Prepare for the next pandemic  
You might think now that we are joking. Sadly, the answer is no. With the vaccine being rolled out right now it is easy to fall prey to what we call ‘vaccineful thinking’. It’s the tendency to be overly optimistic about the potential of the vaccine. There are a number of reasons why a vaccine will not be the sole solution which we have summarized in the article Vaccineful Thinking & Pandemics – A reality check. Therefore, preparing for the next pandemic might be one of the best uses of the current technology. Right now we are rolling out our social distancing and contact tracing technology, Proximity Monitor, together with EY. if you would like to get a demo or just have a discussion, contact us here.  

We’d love to hear if you have other use cases of pandemic tech post-pandemic – let us know in the comments section on Medium!  


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