Bottom Line: The MCO is in full-force right now, but there will still be times when we might need to go out for essential services or products. In times like those, there’s a lingering fear that I might be walking into a place that might be contaminated. Usually, we have no way of knowing until it’s too late and we see it on the news, making us go “oh no”.
For some context about the company behind it, Madison Technologies is a technology and software company that has built and designed infrastructure, mobile applications, and software technologies.
About CovCT itself, it’s an independent contact tracing platform that aims to control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement, CEO and co-founder Praburaajan said, “We built CovCT in a bid to provide authorities from different countries a solution to gather information on the movement and spread of the virus.”
“If contact tracing is done well, it provides an early indicator of how best to plan and allocate scarce resources such as ICU beds, respirators, and medication.”
We spoke to Praburaajan to learn more about how the CovCT platform will work in Malaysia.
Check-In To Stay Safe
If you noticed, the word ‘platform’ was used, and not ‘app’. Indeed, according to CovCT, it is only available online via the web and not as an app.
This is because the team believes that they would be able to distribute the platform a lot faster on the web, though they may decide to launch an app in the future.
The platform first works by having business owners, building managers, and even community leaders register with CovCT.
Once they do so, they’ll get a CovCT kit which includes instructions and a unique QR Code poster.
If, for example, a registrant is a business brand with multiple outlets in various locations, they will need to register all their locations and receive individual CovCT kits for each.
The poster can be printed and placed around the surrounding area of the registrant’s location.
The CovCT team also encourages these locations to ensure that all visitors check-in, which will make any contact tracing effort more manageable for health authorities across the globe.
Anyone who then visits the location can scan the QR code and input their personal details into the database so that they can be contacted if needed by the authorities.
It’s like a check-in that acts as a safety net, so in case you visited location A one day and it’s been found that there was a COVID-19 positive person who did the same, you’ll immediately be alerted so you can test yourself for it too.
On the other hand, if you visited a location as an unknowing carrier of COVID-19 who develops symptoms sometime later, you can let the authorities know, and anyone who came in contact with you around the time you were there will be alerted to get tested too.
You’ll also able to report a location as a positive site that an infected person was present at, and this will be vetted carefully.
One Can Never Be Too Careful
Like a lot of other contact tracing apps and platforms, CovCT is dependent on responsible and considerate individuals as well as businesses and the likes to make the solution work.
This will make it hard to predict whether it can actually help contain the spread, but Praburaajan told us, “At this point it isn’t so much about predicting as much as it is about taking action.”
According to him, the uptake is slow at the moment as they just launched on Friday, March 27.
“For this to be an effective solution for society, it will require more locations to come on board and put up posters which will allow users to scan and check-in,” he added.
“We believe that the participation will grow organically as more businesses come on board.”
The team took a bottom-up approach by reaching out and explaining to business owners the benefits of participating in CovCT.
At the same time, they’re taking a top-down approach by speaking with governments or authorities directly.
If you’re wondering how your data is protected, the CovCT FAQ states that they store the data on their own platform.
By taking this role, they believe that they eliminate any confusion about what types of data are collected and how they’re stored.
The FAQ also elaborates:
In the unlikely event of a security breach of our server, the information the attacker may see does not include any personal information such as name or phone number. This keeps your check-ins and whereabouts safe and anonymous. If there was an attacker, he/she will only be able to see a random, anonymous, identifier that looks like this: 9uiSfzDfbjcUxNQ9yp7Qsnfm2Mx2.
The businesses/locations will not be able to access your data, as it’s only accessible by the user themselves and to the relevant authorities if requested.
Teamwork Makes The Dream Work
To make adoption of the solution as easy as possible for users and businesses, CovCT is free to use for both.
“It does cost us money to keep the platform running but this is something we are happy to do so that we can play a part in managing the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” Praburaajan told us.
However, they are actively looking for other companies that can support them with their costs.
Praburaajan shared an example. “We are about to release a simple SMS based check-in system to support our users that may not have access to smartphones to install apps or use Bluetooth.”
“If a telco were to step in and help subsidise that cost, we would greatly appreciate that. Similarly, we reach out to cloud service providers and ask them for credits to help us host and run the platform at a lower cost to us.”
They appreciate all the help they can get for CovCT and will be setting up a supporter page where people can read more about who have helped them, and how.
Bottom Line: I believe that the majority of Malaysians will be open to using this solution, except for maybe the types of people we’ve heard evade detection and run away from hospitals despite knowing they have COVID-19. Personally, I’m hoping that this will work so that the spread can be contained, the curve can be flattened, and we can all go back to living our normal lives.
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Featured Image Credit: CovCT