Engineering 101

Proximity Detection In The Battle Against COVID-19

Zoetis, an American drug company, has implemented Actility’s LoRaWAN-based Detection and Contact Tracing Solution for COVID-19, for its workers in Japan.

Zoetis has experienced the fear of being temporarily shut down due to COVID-19 worker infection, as many other companies around the globe. In Japan, as in many other countries, in the event of finding an infected worker by COVID-19, the Public Health Department may request all of the employees to stay home for 14 days, involving great losses for the whole company as business gets stopped, and pushing Zoetis to find a solution for their Japanese subsidiary, based in Tokyo.

Covid-19 sanitary policies focus on two main goals: enforcement of distancing policies, and rapid and immediate identification of contamination clusters in case of confirmed infection. This was obtained by equipping each employee with a compact wearable Abeeway Proximity Sensor which enables easy monitoring of interactions within the common areas, also working alongside security badges for access control.

When the sensors record that two or more people have exceeded the safety limit, it warns them with an audible or visual alarm. The solution also allows to instantly trace workers through the data provided by the connected Proximity Detection Tags which ensure that the potential contamination cluster can be immediately backtraced around the infected employee, limiting the impact to only this cluster.

At the time of considering different solutions, Zoetis first investigated app-based solutions like Cocoa. Officially provided by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare of Japan (MHLW), this app notifies you of close contact with COVID-19 positive users to help the government and healthcare organizations contain the spread of COVID-19.

However, this great app, essential for the big public usage, had to be completed with another solution on order to avoid shutdowns, as the company needed a solution showing which specific workers were in close distance with the ability to alert workers if they are not respecting distancing policies, and in consequence, to quickly identify the covid clusters and minimize the impact on the workers who must work from home.

After considering these factors, the reasonable cost of the Actility solution and the battery lifetime of the devices, Zoetis decided to adopt Actility’s Proximity Detection and Contact Tracing Solution, allowing to daily check the dashboard and, due to the strong accuracy of the solution, talk directly to any employee who might be infected and those who have been in direct contact.

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