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Kiwi company launches alternative to contact tracing apps with QR code

By Shannon Williams
Wed 13 May 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

An alternative to contact tracing apps has been launchd in response to the Covid-19 outbreak, as New Zealand moves from alert level 3 down to level 2. 

Auckland-based company Rfider has created an alternative service using using a QR code cloud-based system, which removes the need for app downloads.

Rfider chief executive John Pennington says the new service empowers businesses and allows people to have more control over what they share and when. 

"Imagine if we could put a single QR code on every New Zealand business window today, which would allow customers, employees and visitors to either self-screen or provide contact information without the need for app downloads, pens or paper and at a safe distance," he says.

"Now imagine the questions and information being asked automatically adjusted to the threat level and type of business and all data was securely stored for government access should it be required. The Rfider platform does just that."

Pennington says the company has been helping big companies such as Steel and Tube, who have had 20,000 health declarations and checks in recent days, which can be used for contact tracing and entry screening.

"Protecting employees, customers and the community is a priority for all of us at this time. Accessible mobile first technologies are the key to this," he says.

"Our powerful cloud-based platform has been designed from the ground up to allow businesses to rapidly digitise and mobilise any task.

"When covid-19 arrived on the scene, it was clear that our platform could be used to modernise screening processes and unlock the power of the supercomputer everyone has in their pockets," says Pennington.

"We have been offering our service free of charge to New Zealand health clinics for six weeks and we've processed thousands of health declarations do date.

"It is keeping front-line safe as people could be screened before entry. It has saved on personal protective clothing (PPE) usage and has reduced the frequency of deep cleaning."

Pennington says the services does not share any personal information unless required by government. For entry into many businesses, collecting personal information is mandatory.

"But what we do differently, shielding personal information such as address, email and phone from the entry staff. A bar owner doesn't need to see any personal information, they just need to know it has been provided," he explains.

Pennington says they are alert level two-ready and want to make their contact service available to all New Zealand businesses

"There is zero burden for business and the data would go directly to the government and be instantly available for analytical and contact tracing purposes. The digital transformation initiative could be used for places such as sports, aged care, clinics, shops, gyms, bars, restaurants and government office."

 Pennington has previously worked for Apple, founded Deloitte Digital in New Zealand and has worked globally for other tech companies.

"What we are doing is so timely to stay on top of Covid-19. Contact tracing apps have been very poor globally and not needed. Rfider is an alternative approach," he states.

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