Estimote wearables track workers to curb COVID-19 outbreak

Chris Burns - Apr 2, 2020, 4:35 pm CDT
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Estimote wearables track workers to curb COVID-19 outbreak

The folks at Estimote created a set of devices and software that’ll allow a business owner to keep track of their workers remotely. With a “contact tracing dashboard” and Bluetooth devices (worn by each employee), a business owner can keep track of the location and relative health of their workforce. Each wearable device scans for other wearable devices in the area and “registers close interactions.”

Per the release for the devices and newest health status Estimote system, “in the event of a symptomatic employee, companies can quickly locate other exposed team members who are at risk.” Tracking is done with indoor GPS, working with Bluetooth beacons that the employer has installed in the workplace. The system works with “pre-authorized zones” for tracking.

In an example of the system in play, a warehouse worker is shown with a sort of heat map overlaid on a place of business. The likely areas of disease spread are shown, and potential crossover with other employees is shown and tracked. There’s a big “Quarantine Employees” button the employer would be able to tap to inform workers “under exposure” that they should leave (and likely go home to quarantine) via their Estimote devices.

The system is described by Estimote as “privacy friendly and opt-in for employees.” Though, if one employee doesn’t want to opt-in, is the system really going to be effective for tracking a potential outbreak at a place of business.

Each device worn by employees has LED indicators, buttons, and waterproof and industrial grade silicone casings. The button “enables employees to log their health status in real-time.” The employer has the ability to store “up to six weeks of exposure data”, work with a “locally stored and secure employee graph database”, and “easily manage quarantine periods” using exposure data.

While this solution seems custom-fit for our current global pandemic situation, Estimote’s been in business creating Bluetooth beacons and indoor location hardware and software since 2012. Take a peek at a report on Estimote beacon mesh networking here on SlashGear from back in December of 2016.

Does this look like a system you’d like to work with at your local place of business? Are you a worker, or are you a business owner or manager? Do you think the indoor location data (GPS data) captured by these devices is an invasion of privacy that’s more important than the potential for curbing further spread of COVID-19?


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