Review of Digital Contact Tracing Applications and Techniques
Govciooutlook

Review of Digital Contact Tracing Applications and Techniques

Gov CIO Outlook | Tuesday, July 19, 2022

The precise location of the GPS-enabled devices is determined by the GPS navigation system using a network of satellites. Due to the GPS capabilities of modern cellphones, contact tracing is also possible. GPS's accessibility worldwide is its additional feature.

FREMONT, CA: Human mobility became severely hindered in the early stages of the pandemic. It also led to the collapse of the transportation sector. For handling the spread of COVID-19, most nations focused on creating intelligent lockdown methods employing various technology solutions. People in their houses implemented self-isolation strategies. Even low-risk persons were requested to observe quarantine, and the government operators either tracked their actual whereabouts or used cell tower location data to monitor the situation. Due to the numerous drawbacks of manual contact tracing, technologists predominately complement traditional contact tracing methods with digital contact tracing methods after consulting with epidemiologists.

WiFi

Especially in indoor settings like multi-story buildings, airports, lanes, and parking garages, WiFi is a communication technology that is particularly useful for contact-tracing applications. WiFi offers greater interior accuracy than GPS or other satellite-based technology, making it handy. Positioning is one potential use of WiFi technology in contact tracing. Due to their quick deployment and affordable maintenance, WiFi hardware facilities are extremely practical.

Bluetooth

Almost all recent mobile phones support Bluetooth, a wireless communication standard. The Bluetooth protocols come in a variety of iterations. Due to its inexpensive cost and low energy consumption, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is widely used in applications. BLE's low energy usage is perfect for contact-tracing apps because they must operate continuously to log contacts. BLE, however, has a limited service area that is largely indoors. The process is quite obvious; each time the contact-tracing app is in close proximity to another app, it locally saves information about both of them.

Global positioning system (GPS)

The precise location of the GPS-enabled devices is determined by the GPS navigation system using a network of satellites. Due to the GPS capabilities of modern cellphones, contact tracing is also possible. GPS's accessibility worldwide is its additional feature. Many nations use GPS-based contact tracing mechanisms. Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) based on GPS technology, users can shop online and have their purchases delivered to their houses, limiting the physical touch between people. As a result, GPS technology can potentially increase social distance considerably.

QR code

Another technique of finding contacts is using QR codes, which require users to manually add data to the database by snapping pictures of the visual computer-aided codes at various businesses. Mobile phone applications automatically read these QR codes' concealed geolocations, which then add user information to a database. If someone tests positive, contact tracing based on QR codes can be used to find their contacts at the locations, they have visited. These methods are employed worldwide, with China serving as a great example because it uses QR codes more frequently.

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