Contact tracing software, as discussed in a previous post, has brought mixed reactions due to privacy concerns. Notably in April, Norway launched a smartphone app called Smittestopp to collect movement data to help authorities trace the spread of COVID-19 and inform users if they had been exposed to someone carrying the virus. However, they recently have suspended the virus-tracing app due to privacy concerns. With no vaccine or proven treatment method (yet) for COVID-19, there is a need for ensuring safety for employees to come back to the office or workplace.
IBM was able to successfully implement their patent application (U.S. Pub. No. 20180052970) that describes a system to track the path of pathogen exposure. Sonoma County hired IBM to develop the SoCo COVID-19 app for $160,000. The app would have employees screen themselves for symptoms and exposure and have the employers verify employees’ wellness checks before shifts start. Data collected will be in the form of anonymous responses and deleted after being held for 45 days in IBM’s cloud to resolve the issue of privacy concerns. While the app would not be used for contact tracing since it does not track location, it is an alternative method that could be successful at mitigating risks and revitalizing the economy.
With IBM’s recent success with their COVID app, there is room for more interesting solutions when it comes to monitoring and detecting symptoms. Stay up-to-date with pandemic patent activity and related news with the free pandemic/epidemics sector through Magic Number’s Pandemic Patent Forecast®.