Apple and Google have collaborated, with the use of Bluetooth technology, to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The virus spreads to individuals who have been in close proximity with one another; hence contact tracing can further limit its spread. While public health authorities, universities, and other NOs have been developing contract tracing technology, Apple and Google have collaborated to create a comprehensive solution by using Bluetooth Low Energy technology.
In May, both companies will release APIs for the public health authorities to use, allowing interoperability between the two platforms. Official apps will then be available for users to download through their respective app stores. In the coming months, Apple and Google will be working to create a Bluetooth-based contact tracing platform so more users will be able to participate.
Here’s how it works:
In an event where you meet or become in close proximity with someone, your phones will exchange anonymous identifier beacons. Should that other person 1) test positive for COVID-19 and 2) input his/her test results in a public health authority-developed app, you will receive a notification telling you that you’ve been recently exposed to the virus. Additionally, you will also get instructions on what necessary steps to take next.
Both Apple and Google are stressing on their collaboration’s security, stating that no personally identifiable information will be collected. Additionally, their contact tracing project will require explicit consent from users. Neither company will identify positively tested individuals, and only public health authorities will be contacted.
You may read Apple’s full blog here.