Being so many weeks already in the lockdown, we started to think at Inspeerity how to make the most of our skills and knowledge to contribute to the struggle against the coronavirus pandemic.
After many brainstorming sessions our team came up with Together ‑ a mobile application created to help you protect yourself and your loved ones from the virus. The app is totally free and can be used without registration. It works using anonymous location data which can be used to warn a user if they have had contact with another user in the last 14 days who has become a confirmed case of COVID-19. The app likewise allows a user who is confirmed with COVID-19 to warn other members of the Together app community if she chooses to do so.
An important feature of the app is that it provides a user very simple way to check her whereabouts throughout the previous 14 days. If the user is diagnosed with covid-19 then she can take appropriate action such as notifying public places where she may have had contact with others.
How TOGETHER works:
You install our app on your smartphone. You don’t need to register or give any personal data. You can then start straightaway. Your phone will be allocated a random number which is used as your key to the system. That key cannot be linked to a particular phone or person. Your current status is shown on the main screen of the application:
Green – you haven’t been in contact with another user who has been diagnosed with covid-19, you’re not at risk. Remember to keep social distance and continue to practice other safety precautions.
Amber – you’ve signalled that you are suffering with covid-19 and it’s being verified. You’re probably already in self isolation.
Red – the app has identified a potential risk: you had contact with a person suffering from covid-19.
Please check your location history and assess your own infection risk. As a precaution you should self-isolate and consult a doctor as necessary. Using push notifications, the app can inform you immediately if your status changes. You don’t need to check it yourself.
How does the app know that I had contact with an infected person?
In order to work properly the app needs your GPS function to be switched on constantly. Using the GPS the app finds your location every minute and records it on a map. (You can turn the location tracking on or off at any time.) In that way the app can create a track of your location throughout a given day.
Your location is stored on your phone and, in an encrypted form, in the „cloud”. This allows future versions of the app to migrate the data to your new phone if you wish. Your GPS location data is not shared with any other users and is not accessible to any third party.
If you are confirmed to be suffering from covid-19 then you can register that in the app. In that way you can warn other app users with whom you were in contact in the last 14 days. The app’s server compares your location trace with those of other users. If it discovers a meeting with an afflicted person (based on the length and frequency of that meeting according to WHO standards) then it sends a warning to the affected users and their status changes to red.
In addition, because the app records your movements from the previous two weeks on your phone, you have an exact record of your whereabouts should you have a positive covid-19 test. You can see a map of where you have been on your phone. This is very useful as we start to introduce the app and the number of users is limited. In that way, we can reach your contacts who don’t have the app yet and places you have visited where many people congregate – like shops, churches and offices.
If you receive a warning that you may have had contact with an infected person then you can check your location track on the map where you can see the times and places where you might have had such contact. In that way, you can assess your own level of risk. If you don’t have contact with an infected person in the next 14 days and no symptoms develop (which you would register using the app) then your app status will automatically return to green.
This and more up-to-date information can be found on Together website. We hope to team up with other organisations and independent programmers to improve the app and to add new features in the future.
Let’s create a community of people who look after their own health and that of others!
Looking forward to your opinion!
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