Due to the pandemic, businesses eager to limit liability for the employees, and customers are considering different kinds of emerging technologies to limit the spread
Fremont, CA: These technologies can be divided into two kinds, one based on cellphone technologies and the other using wearable devices like electronic watches and bracelets. Both approaches concentrate on maintaining social distancing, basically six feet between workers based on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and backed by some modeling.
Social distancing technologies are designed to warn the workers when they get close to each other, traditionally relying on communications, which can travel only short distances. Therefore, if a device can hear someone else’s device, it is considered too close to the other and most probably infected. One of the most promising communications technology for social distancing is ultra-wideband that allows precise distance measurements between devices. A more popular medium is Bluetooth Low Energy, which is used for portable speakers and headphones, although it might produce less consistently accurate distance information based on the environment.
Also, the sound itself can be used to determine the distance to other people, similar to how bats use echoes to identify the obstacle in their flight paths, with the benefit that it respects wall and door boundaries such as coronavirus. Modern cellphones can communicate via Bluetooth Low Energy technologies and sound.
The contract tracing apps that are used to alert people when they have been infected person, generally utilize these media while loosely adhering to a conventional design. They consist of approaches focusing on privacy and security, or precise distance measurements utilizing sound outside the human hearing range.
Wearables that are more limited, which a person can wear, such as a bracelet or a ring, can be used for social distancing. Commonly used workplace wearables can be programmed to buzz or alert employees when they are in six feet proximity.
Social distancing technologies can help protect employees in a post-pandemic world. However, absent well-crafted privacy law, employees and employers both should understand broadly how these technologies work, their limitations, and their capabilities.