Inspiration

This solution is inspired by the situation in Madrid. I was thinking about how technology could relieve the pressure to the healthcare system so that people don't die in hospital corridors. Based on WHO and Gates Foundation information I realised we need to slow down the spread of the virus. So decided to repurpose solution, which originally designed in 2017 to get people to retail stores.

What it does

Smart Quarantine provides services to citizens and city governments. Enabling them to:

For Citizens

  1. Get proactive real-time alerts from city and government when they would be in proximity of the zone (e.g. part of the city) or a location (e.g. a shopping mall, train station...etc) where the risk of Covid-19 is increased

  2. Provide protection of people's identity in the alignment of EU GDPR law allow the use of the app without risk of "Big Brother" like surveillance

  3. Simplify the onboarding process and minimise information collected via device and or send via network

For City Governments

  1. To build a social graph allow city governments visibility how city operates in real-time (e.g. how people move between each area)

  2. Enable city set and update and real-time deploy policies (city-wide, area-wide, and location-wide (e.g. applicable for the train station or a shopping mall)

  3. To build machine learning models that will (in GDPR compliant way) predict the movement of people between parts of the city

  4. To build an early warning/prevention system allow sending notifications and alerts (e.g. when a person is moving to an area with high numbers of confirming Covid-19 cases)

  5. Ensure the solution is possible to use in European cities where GDPR regulation requires special architecture consideration

How I built it

The original (2017) solution was designed for a large retailer to enable them to get people to their stores based on the availability of the goods in stock per each store and direct people to a new location when a store runs out stock.

Given Covid-19 situation requires a similar approach - direct people while moving inside the city. For this reason architecture was repurposed to fit new use case - enable city government direct people (without stalking them) from dangerous locations to safe ones.

The solution is GDPR compliant out of the box because was designed specifically for use in places like Madrid, Barcelona, Milan...etc. Which also are currently one of the most impacted by Covid-19 crisis.

Therefore I kept the same infrastructure that is designed in compliance with TM Forum standards enable run blockchain ledger as part of an extension of an existing BSS. Allow telcos deploy GDPR compliant solution as VAS to an existing subscriber base.

The solution also leverages the fact the main cloud providers like AWS and Azure are now deeply integrated with telco infrastructure and so that edge locations are now extensions of the cloud service. Allow us to orchestrate cloud and edge with low latency allowing having real-time decisions via ML engines.

Another aspect with the proliferation of modern mobile device (iOS / Android), it's easy to use existing cloud service and send proactive notifications to user's devices.

Lastly, GDPR compliance is enabled by characteristics of modern private blockchain solutions like Hyperledger Fabric, Corda or AWS QLDB (used in this case). We are creating identity hash that is possible to use by APIs.

Challenges I ran into

Finding the right team members. Primary challenges are: 1) Understanding how to use blockchain and machine learning together is still very low among the population. There is a tendency see blockchain either as public (decentralised) and AI as (centralised). Therefore many people don't understand the reason why blockchain network should be run as private instead of public. Another issue is the little understanding of why GDPR compliance is critical for a solution like these to be adapted.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

While the solution was originally designed for Europe it was successfully tested in Dubai, with one undisclosed government agency. Therefore I know this is not just a pipe-dream.

What I learned

You can start with a completely different use case, for example, this solution original purpose was to protect identity of people while allowing the retailer to send them recommendations and get them to the right store. And now, this solution is repurposed for protecting healthy people entering Covid-19 risk areas and locations. Same principle of a smart city but repurposed to safe lives.

What's next for Smart Quarantine

The core is to get partnership with CSP (Communication Service Provider). The solution is ready but can be only deployed by the telecommunications provider.

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