Small business such as the mom and pop retail store, the hotel, the local concert or event are the lifeblood of our economy!
Without them there is significant unemployment and lack of means for us all to support ourselves and the ones we love. Retail contributes 24 Trillion USD to the global economy and today it has been squashed. We are looking ahead with an understanding that future waves of viruses will occur and how can we help to keep small business, events, restaurants, hotels, etc. open through our Finding Covid Platform giving customers and employees peace of mind. Our team is rooted in the Swiss watch industry operating a brand called HORAGE.
We have been traveling to Taiwan and Singapore before the global shutdown to promote our newest watch "Tourbillon 1". Besides that we visit our Taiwan IT-team which is working since 2015 on our Omni-channel Retail Software Platform called BrandCloud. It was an eye opening trip for us because we saw how these two island nations were mitigating COVID-19 risk and keeping the economy running.
We quickly realized how underprepared the Western world was for the changes that would need to be made should Coronavirus escalate to a pandemic. A complete economic shutdown is beyond what we could have imagined, but having learned first hand how to manage this situation through technology and a consistent containment strategy inspired us to step to the plate and do the one thing which many shy away from.
Find an effective Non-government or Big-Tech controlled way of anonymously tracing infections chains on community level.
Additionally as a mechanical watch brand we understand the power of the wrist and Joey our engineer came up with a smart bracelet not only to time-stamp into network covered locations, but also use the bracelet to prevent the user from randomly touching the face... potentially the Nr 2 infection reason as of today.
What it does
Finding Covid is an infection chain time-stamp platform making use of Smartphones connectivity capabilities and/or smart wearables like a bracelet.
The overall architecture contains of 4 building blocks:
1. Consistent multitenancy for personal and business user management across organizations
2. A tracing module layer which can incorporate existing tracing methodologies and emerging governmental and non-governmental API`s
3. A chain of command module to report and manage infection alerts. It is designed to integrated the to be expected governmental API’s
4. A Business module to allow consumers and retailers to interact with each other beyond infection chain tracking.
Finding Covid is designed with both, a focus on trusted anonymous tracing and making use of the emerging customer retailer relationship to facilitate and revive local business.
It is widely explained and discussed how infection-chain-tracing making use of software and smartphones is being done and the various possibilities as well as risks associated to data privacy and freedom.
Because of that and because of our experience with large scale Cloud-Native Consumer-facing applications we will not waste resources to code a short-lived sample, rather than focus on what needs to be achieved to be able to distribute such system at scale and keep it alive.
The application utilizes a host of technologies to make time-stamping as easy as possible. ibeacon, smart bracelet, WIFI, GPS, Bluetooth and QR-Code are ways to "Check-in" or time stamp to a location. For simplicity sake of this Hackathon we have used QR Code scanning for the MVP. We have ibeacon partners we are working with to produce ibeacons at scale for next second version of the application. Our smart bracelet is a prototype which came up during the concept discussion of time-stamping and has been developed during this Hackathon. You can see that in the supported videos.
Joey has taken the lead on the development of our smart bracelet. The smart bracelet can utilize RF or BLE identification methodology and will be registered through the Finding Covid APP with the user ID stored in the Finding Covid Plattform. In this way and via existing or corresponding reader networks, the user can add time and location data through existing network structures (e.g. Cruise-ships or Themeparcs, Event Venues...).
Additionally the smart bracelet is motion sensitive and detects various angles of movement. It reminds one to wash hands, and helps one refrain from touching their face, mouth and eyes to avoid further risk of acquiring the virus.
Check the video here => Bracelet Prototype
This bracelet will come in two versions. One will be a standalone wristband/bracelet and we will take the technology and apply it to mechanical watch NATO straps in popular sizing to enable mechanical or smart watch wearers to pair with their favorite timepiece or device.
How we built it
Our team has been building software, hardware, businesses and branding for many years. Our focus is on the application layer, usability and business modelling with a reliance on existing technologies.
A primary consideration is the longevity of the project and how quickly this technology can become self sufficient. Our multi-tenant cloud native omni-channel retailing platform development provides us with a fully documented architecture to enable Finding Covid to run at scale from the start.
Here you can download our working methodology as a team and the technologies we use. https://www.brand-cloud.com/more-info
We have leaned on our expertise as both digital software/hardware and mechanical watch manufacturers with real world understanding of fit, feel and user experience with regards to a smart bracelet.
Challenges & Learnings
Narrowing down operations of an MVP to serve the timeline of the Hackathon is challenging. We have a full time Dev team that will continue after the Hackathon regardless of win or lose.
Another challenge encountered was finding well established patient verification methods and the preferred chain of command for managing this.
We also learned there are other applications only reliant on QR Codes. QR Codes are great when you have to use them, but not everyone likes to use them and this is why we have it as a default only when other technologies are unavailable. We would all rather have our devices automatically checking us in and out of locations and this is why we expanded use case to ibeacon, WiFi, GPS & bluetooth. Additionally not everyone has a smartphone and not everyone would like to have one, but many enjoy wearing wrist watches or supporting a good cause through a bracelet. Therefore we have expanded our reach with the development of a smart bracelet and watch strap.
Our focus is to involve and empower small business to drive awareness of app usage so doors stay open and people stay safe. Governments have limited success in creating mass adopted mobile applications for the general public. This means private companies are able to gain trust through data protection and users verification of opting-in and sharing of private information only when required of them. in times of crisis government involvement will likely be mandatory as we have already seen with German and Austrian governments working together with mobile providers to track population movement. In addition having a medical doctor, health authority or government authority can ensure validation against false positives when testing for COVID-19. Therefore our focus is on protecting user data and providing users with the opportunity to make a difference by sharing data only when they are sick.
Our goal is to not win a Hackathon it is to win back our economy, our jobs and our communities. Thinking this way means we cannot focus on what is needed now, but look ahead to the second or third wave and unfortunately new future viruses.
What's next for Finding Covid
The Finding Covid app is destined to be a platform. Enabling the app to sustain itself through strategic business partnerships built on direct call to actions requests to major brands and their associated independent retailers, flagship locations, headquarters, trade shows and employees. Continual expansion of our development team to ensure future versions of the app are rolled out successfully.
Delivering quick and dirty code to win a Hackathon is not a recipe for humanities success. We look long-term and are building a Non-Governmental non Big-Tech controlled platform that we hope will help eradicate COVID-19 and stop future viruses before they have a chance to spread.