A Cork software technology firm has teamed up with the Irish Defence Forces to introduce a smart wearable device to manage Covid-19 protocols among its troops.
Defence Forces are currently testing a novel approach to virus risk management, developed by Digisoft and international leisure and attractions technology provider Accesso Technology Group.
The ProximityBand was initially developed for amusement parks and was re-adopted for Covid-19 mitigation purposes.
It uses Bluetooth connectivity to identify, measure and track interactions between wearers in a GDPR compliant manner to a secure administrator information hub.
The wristband also provides social distancing guidance via on-screen and vibration alerts in the workplace.
The device was initially trialled with members of the 96th Cadet Class in The Curragh, who have already been deployed to assist the HSE in fighting Covid-19 as contact tracers.
It was subsequently rolled out to overseas units undergoing pre-deployment isolation requirements in both Kilworth Camp and Coolmoney Camp with the 62nd Infantry Group that deployed to UNDOF mission in Syria in October and the 117th Infantry Battalion recently deployed to UNIFIL in Lebanon.
Engineer Officer with the 117th Battalion, Lieutenant Bryan Dwyer, said that the goal is to ensure that as a group, troops are as close to risk free from Covid-19 and “fully operational to carry out our peacekeeping mission on arrival”.
“For the individual user, our soldiers, it provides useful feedback including behaviour modification alerts to maintain 2m separation distance during the isolation phase as well as updates on the number of close contacts made during the period of isolation,” he said.
Commander of the Defence Forces Joint Task Force on Covid-19, Brigadier General Brian Cleary, said that developing the technical ability to gather accurate and real time contact tracing information has been tested and data collected will help to better manage personnel during the isolation phase of the mission.
“If we help to successfully prove the concept it may offer a risk mitigation technique as well as avoid knee-jerk over reactions to positive Covid-19 cases,” he said.
The ProximityBand has proven suitable for use in industrial and military environments with CEO of Digisoft Fearghal Kelly saying that the project helping to manage Covid-19 in the force has been “successful for both parties”.