If there is one thing that can come out of this COVID-19 experience. It is the collaboration of people to fight COVID-19. Indeed, we have a common enemy and in a huge collaborative move, Apple and Google are putting their resources together to build a COVID-19 contact tracing technology.
It can be recalled that an effective contact tracing methodology is among the factors that help in flattening the curve of COVID-19 cases. Contact tracing is a process where health professionals are investigating infected persons in order to find out who they came in contact with. The rationale of contact tracing is simple, any person whom an infected individual came in contact with has a high risk of contracting the disease.
It is in this principle that Apple and Google are coming together to develop an app that would facilitate contact tracing. Apple and Google will launch “a comprehensive solution that consists of application programming interfaces and operating-system-level technology” which they hope will assist in contact tracing.
The plan is said to be implemented in two steps:
- Both companies will be releasing an API that has interoperability capability between Android and iOS, utilizing apps from public health authorities. This is said to be launched in May and the official apps will be available for download in their respective app stores.
- Apple and Google will be building a broader Bluetooth-enabled contact tracing platform that would be built into the underlying platforms. This contact tracing platform will include more individuals to participate and it will have a wider interaction between the app ecosystem and government health authorities.
In all of these API’s and contact tracing platform being developed by Apple and Google, they have kept the privacy of the user as one of their highest priority. Apple and Google has released a draft technical documentation here.