Contact Tracing: Moving Towards a New Normal
As the country races to curb the spread of COVID-19, governments everywhere have been looking for the best approaches to address this novel virus. Contact Tracing has quickly become one of the most topical, and potentially one of the most impactful methods of future containment and prevention.
The principle of Contact Tracing is not new – it is basic detective work to understand who an individual may have come in contact with in order to get ahead of the spread. What is new is the technology. The penetration of mobile devices significantly increases the efficiency, automation and impact of Contract Tracing as we try to move towards a “new normal”.
More than 86% of all Canadian Households have a smart-phone making them extremely effective tools for Contact Tracing :
- They closely mirror people’s activities and behaviours (the two are seldom apart)
- They contain sensors for location (geo-location and Bluetooth technology)
These technological elements are universal to all smartphones, and if used properly, they can create safe, secure and powerful networks that Governments can leverage as readily as multinational technology companies. The most compelling attribute of mobile-phone-based Contact Tracing is that benefits can be achieved without breaching the trust and privacy of the public.
EQ has been working with geospatial data at scale for a decade. We understand how groups of anonymous mobile devices move throughout the country and from location to location. All of our models and data are fully privacy compliant. Our team has studied the Contact Tracing solutions being deployed in other parts of the world with a goal to maintain Canadian standards for societal norms and public trust while adopting international best practices. We continue to push the conversation forward in Canada and have been working with and speaking to academics, not-for-profits, and various levels of government, ML and AI experts, and a number of other Canadian companies.
Our technology and our expertise provide the initial footprint for a Contact Tracing application that is tested and ready. Our focus has been on Proactive Prevention NOT Policing Enforcement and our work is based on the following principles:
- Prevention – Given the right tools, stakeholders (e.g. public health officials, first responders, citizens) can take proactive, preventative action to flatten the curve.
- Privacy – No solution should force a trade-off between privacy and public health. Until COVID-19, few topics were of more concern than privacy, user control, and public confidence in the technologies we use in our daily lives.
- Knowledge – Armed with the right information, we believe individuals will act in accordance with their own best interest, and that of their families, friends, and communities.
- Collaboration – Broad-based solutions, require coalitions – government, not-for-profit institutes, other technology providers – in order to achieve critical mass.
- Canadian – We believe it is essential that Canada leverage made-in-Canada solutions.
Contact Tracing technology and expertise resides in Canada now and can be used to help flatten the curve today.
EQ has been working incredibly hard to help find a Canadian solution for Contact Tracing. Our whitepaper contains over a decade of experience working with geospatial data and analytics. It has been published and is available to everyone who is working towards a solution. https://whitepaper.flaat.io/