We arranged for our client Microshare to be quoted in this timely article.
Microshare, a Philadelphia company that makes sensors to track the location of items such as hospital beds and wheelchairs, has developed Fitbit-style wearable Bluetooth devices. They can be used for workplace proximity tracing even where cellphones aren’t allowed.
“We realized that tracking employees inside a building wasn’t dissimilar to tracking hospital beds,” says Microshare cofounder and CEO Ron Rock.
The devices can log when employees spend time near each other and near sensors mounted throughout facilities. Data is generally anonymized on the company’s cloud-based servers but can be relinked to particular employees if someone reports being diagnosed with the virus. The exact privacy settings are up to employers, Rock says, though he acknowledges that they may be governed by regulation in the future. Microshare plans to deliver millions of these devices to customers by year’s end, starting this quarter.
Rock says that there’s no reason people couldn’t have both a standalone device for contact tracing in the workplace and a smartphone app they use elsewhere. But it’s unclear whether users will in fact install smartphone contact apps for personal use if they already have a standalone device they’re using for work.