The two leading tech companies in the US, Apple & Google announced a system for tracking the spread of coronavirus. The idea proposed will allow users to share data through Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) transmissions and approved apps from health organizations. In simple terms, the technology will use Bluetooth technology on mobile devices to alert users if they have been in contact with someone who has been infected with Coronavirus through an app.
According to The Verge, “The new system, which is laid out in a series of documents and white papers, would use short-range Bluetooth communications to establish a voluntary contact-tracing network, keeping extensive data on phones that have been in close proximity with each other. Official apps from public health authorities will get access to this data, and users who download them can report if they’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19. The system will also alert people who download them to whether they were in close contact with an infected person. Apple and Google will introduce a pair of iOS and Android APIs in mid-May and make sure these health authorities’ apps can implement them. During this phase, users will still have to download an app to participate in contact-tracing, which could limit adoption.“
Apple and Google representatives told Cnet, they chose to create this joint technology in part because they wanted to ensure interoperability between different phones. The companies also chose to build the system into their iOS and Android software in order to reduce the impact this technology could have on battery life.
Both companies released a joint statement reading “All of us at Apple and Google believe there has never been a more important moment to work together to solve one of the world’s most pressing problems. Through close cooperation and collaboration with developers, governments and public health providers, we hope to harness the power of technology to help countries around the world slow the spread of COVID-19 and accelerate the return of everyday life.”