Tech Company Developing Contact-Tracing Wearable Devices for Cruise Ships
THERESA NORTON | TravelPulse.Com
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TraceSafe is working with cruise lines to develop contact tracing systems with small wearable devices. (Photo courtesy of TraceSafe Inc.)
A Vancouver-based company, TraceSafe, is working with cruise lines to develop onboard contact tracing systems that could help the industry return to operations.
TraceSafe, which specializes in wearable technology, has entered into a partnership with Tritan Software, a Miami company that provides health and medical operations to 95 percent of major cruise lines, as well as the commercial shipping, energy and mining industries.
TraceSafe makes medallion wristbands, about the size of two poker chips stacked on top of one another, said Wayne Lloyd, CEO of TraceSafe Inc. The wearables use Bluetooth Low Energy, which uses very low power to let devices communicate.
Wayne Lloyd, CEO of TraceSafe Inc.
“We make it flexible so passengers can choose exactly how to wear it,” he said. “It’s similar to how you use a room key and have it with you all the time.”
The company also wants to make it easy to wear the devices and not infringe on a vacation experience.
“The idea is everyone’s very concerned about safety and health right now, but we don’t want to make it an experience that’s sort of like going to the dentist,” Lloyd said. “A cruise is supposed to be fun and engaging. We don’t want it to be seen as a wearing a lifejacket the whole time on a cruise.”
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Contact tracing lets medical professionals track everyone an infected person came into contact with to check if COVID-19 has been spread. The information is encrypted (or “pseudonymized”), stored on a cloud and only accessed if needed by a small number of people.
“Privacy is our No. 1 concern,” Lloyd said. “Our first major executive hire was a chief privacy officer. This is just something that works only on the boat; there is no GPS tracking. If you go for a day excursion, we cannot tell where you’ve been.”
Some cruise lines and theme parks already use wearable devices to open guestroom doors, charge items or even order food and drink.
TraceSafe uses its own wearables, though, which can be adjusted as needs change.
“Our technology is very adaptable,” Lloyd said. “When changes to the CDC guidelines come out, that can be quite catastrophic. With our framework, we’re quite flexible and can quickly and agilely adapt and meet those requirements. We’re fine with whatever the CDC decides, as our product will adapt and make sure it works flawlessly.”
For example, the system also could be used to ensure someone stays in quarantine.
TraceSafe’s wearable safety technology was used at the 2021 International Ice Hockey Federation’s World Junior Hockey Championship held in late December and early 2021 in Edmonton, Canada. The system performed contact tracing and physical-distance monitoring during the championship “to enhance the safety of the teams, staff and media in the tournament bubble,” the company said.