As the impact of the COVID-19 is still unfolding, developing and poorest countries are at increasing risk of having pandemic curve like wild fire. The technology has not always pro poor and the divide in the World is great. However, when it is a matter of life and deaths, it is not acceptable for such a divide to decide who dies and who lives. That's our vision in designing a platform that can help in the timely identifying the potential contacts of COVID-19 and other pathogens.
What it does
The solution to this pandemic is building an inclusive platform that is able to adapt as quickly as possible to the changes in the behaviour due to the outbreak. This is not done by building different apps but by building a platform that is agile and has the basic components required to address the situation, these basic technology pillars for the platform are:
Biometric verification and authentication (voice / face / fingerprint) Government issued identity Verification (NFC) Geolocation zone management, Geoscience proof of location Blockchain technology based anonymisation AI based health-check via remote video assessment (by both doctor and AI)
The platform will enable sharing of health and personal data from different sources and will be flexible to integrate with new data sources to facilitate data analytic solutions and predictable modules to be effective and learn from the historic patterns. It will enable the trustworthy sharing of data between people, organisations and smart devices across all industries and across borders, while maintaining data sovereignty, data privacy and data security.
Our unique platform based on the above pillars is supported by agile developers to efficiently adapt to the use cases in the fight of the pandemic. Our team currently covers 16 hours a day based on the different time zones and can quickly adapt and deploy new requirements on an hourly basis if needed. The below use cases is an example of some of these urgently needed propositions that will be offered part of the same platform. Safe, easy and speedy repatriation to home for travelers: uqudo has developed a unique app that can verify the passport (NFC) and trusted Geolocation of the person combined with biometric proof. This will help countries to understand how many citizens are stranded abroad and it will enable the share of contact details, health status, location and any other information. Remote screening and self assessment: The best way to fight the virus today is by social distancing. A number of governments have requested residents to stay at home, in some cases there is a requirement to enforce this specifically for travelers. With our trusted geolocation data with biometric proof we are able to prove someone was quarantined within their location for a certain period. The Movement/Health Code: Residents and citizens can request a movement approval in a status of lock-down or movement restriction. This can be granted depending on a number of factors such as quarantine status, age, health status or any other data point. The app can then be used to provide to authorities on the street that you have the approved permission to go to your required destination. Virtual zones to contain areas: One of the effective measures when it comes to fighting the virus is by building virtual zones in the city where there will be limited movement within the zone, in order to eliminate infection across the city or further spread the disease. Residences within the zone will then be allowed to do the essentials while limiting the wider outbreaks. Remote AI health screening: The health sector over the world is stretched! We have unique screening capabilities which will enable the patient to self diagnose themselves using a video guided step that is using cognitive and psycho-analysis techniques to analyse the person's condition and answer and queries. This will reduce the demand on medical staff and empower them to prioritize the right patient based on real symptoms.
How we built it
Cloud-based blockchain platform, the uqudo platform has been used for many years in digital identity management.
Challenges we ran into
Balancing the trade offs between the need for a robust digital solution that can fast track and accelerate the surveillance and contact tracing and also the need to protect the users identity and their privacy. However, the solution is blockchain based using Data Commons Hub, in order to share personal, sensitive and health data between all stakeholders, all industries and across borders. (This will help comply with the data privacy too) The main concern that is facing this solution is the human rights considerations and the right to privacy, which in many countries, is an important value and constitutional right. Below is how a blockchain-based solution will safeguard against this potential risk:
Information and data in the blockchains are encrypted, and stored in a secure and immutable database;
When the information of an infected individual needs to be disclosed for the health professionals for contact tracing, a jury (nodes) from various institutions will authorize this transaction. The noes will therefore constitute individuals from (health authorities, judiciary, DA office and State people’s representatives); The identity, address and other personal information will not appear in any public dashboard with aggregated information (distribution of infections and hot zones), but rather appear as unlabeled dots
Accomplishments that we're proud of
International collaboration is needed to ensure global adoption of these standards and principles for data privacy. International cross-border pilots are needed to drive adoption with the support of both the public and private sector. Our team is taking leadership to initiate international collaboration through organisations such as: Identity for Development from World Bank (ID4D) GSMA UNDP Open Identity Foundation (OIF) Open Identity Exchange (OIX) Alliance Of Internet of Things Association (AIOTI) FIDO Alliance ID4Africa W3C ETSI CEN/CENELEC NIST
What we learned
It might be that a crisis such as the COVID-19 is needed to drive the acceleration of the development and use of trustworthy data commons. The coronavirus may hasten a shift from paper and plastic documents toward digital ID verification. Both consumers and businesses seek to do more online during a global health crisis. Telehealth is an obvious one. The priority should now be on eHealth but also on cross industry and public / private sector digital
What's next for SMART TRACE
As indicated above, we are seeking collaboration under the spirit of global solidarity for helping the humanity against the COVID-19 and other potential threats that it might encounter, our next steps are: 1- Building a boarder online alliance of developers to work on the protocol code (open source project type) 2- Building strong POC and run pilot phases in few countries, ensuring diversity and wide geographical variance, fix the glitches while working on building the ecosystem. 3- Get the buy in and move forward with scale up
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