Covid-19: Contact Tracing Apps


Covid-19 has hit the globe hard over the past 5 months and experts around the world have been working tirelessly to fight the virus. New Zealand has found itself in a unique situation and the country has gone 12 days without any positive cases. It is through contact tracing that the NZ Government has been able to keep an impressive lid on this new strain of coronavirus and stopped it from overflowing and spreading excessively.

With the ongoing pandemic and the constant human need to unite against Covid-19, much of modern technologies attention has been directed towards tracking people. More importantly, contact tracing: who has been in contact with who, and who out of them has tested positive for the virus.

The answer, therefore, seems simple; everyone must install an app that tracks their every move so we can zone in on the virus and crush it. Many people are concerned with this tactic and there have been several articles already written about this breach of privacy. But there needs to be a comprehensive system in place that can allow people to go back to work, socialise and kick-start the economy, whilst following privacy requirements.

Times-7’s founder and current board member, Antony Dixon, is one of the many brains behind a new contact tracing app, Rippl. Driven by privacy, the app has been launched by PaperKite and is endorsed by the Ministry of Health and two of the country’s largest cities, Wellington and Dunedin. Dixon said:

“The team at PaperKite wanted to contribute to the fight against Covid-19 and to help businesses return to welcoming customers. We started it as an R&D experiment to support the hospitality sector and it quickly evolved into a privacy-first contact tracing solution that any organisation can use. Everyone in the company has been highly motivated to work on Rippl, it makes them feel good, doing something that has a social impact.” 

This app is one of many in use in New Zealand. Springload has created a free web-based solution, Simple Trace,  and the New Zealand Government has also launched one of their own. The Government app, alongside Rippl, have both received a very positive endorsement from New Zealand's independent Privacy Commissioner.

New Zealand’s fame may lie in its exceptional nature and being a home for Hobbits, but it is also a huge driver behind innovative technological advances. Times-7 is a proud contributor in the Kiwi tech industry, and we applaud these apps, their quick turnaround from test to the final product, and the support they offer local Kiwi businesses in the ongoing fight against Covid-19.

New Zealand has fared well so far under Covid-19 and technological innovations will help as we move forward and work to prevent a second wave.