How Geofencing is Keeping North Carolina Communities Safe During the COVID-19 Pandemic

It is no secret that much of the country is yearning for normalcy. With the release of the COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson and more groups being able to access them-- much of the country is beginning to open back up for leisure such as travel, dinner dates, and sporting events.

How Geofencing is Keeping North Carolina Communities Safe During the COVID-19 Pandemic

It is no secret that much of the country is yearning for normalcy. With the release of the COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson and more groups being able to access them-- much of the country is beginning to open back up for leisure such as travel, dinner dates, and sporting events. In the midst of the pandemic, however, technology has helped in slowing the spread of the virus. Along with masks, social distancing, quarantining from possible exposure, and limiting activity outside the home-- app developers have been able to help people know their possible exposure sooner with the added bonus of being able to contact trace anyone who was in the area at the same time. This means, that people who were not even together in the same party, but were in the same location, can receive notifications if they were potentially exposed to the virus. This is a major win for the bio & tech industries.

How do they do this?

Location-based targeting or otherwise known as geofencing.

Geofencing is helping to keep communities safe from the COVID-19 virus.

In North Carolina specifically, the SlowCOVIDNC Exposure Notification App is helping to slow the spread. 

The NCDHHS COVID-19 Response Team states that you must, “Download the SlowCOVIDNC Exposure Notification app, enable your Bluetooth and Exposure Notification settings, and be notified if you have been in close contact with someone who has shared a positive COVID-19 test result in the app.”

Also, once you opt-in to receive app notifications, you can also share if a positive COVID-19 test result anonymously within the app. SlowCOVIDNC protects your identity and privacy while giving you the opportunity to help the community. 


According to their website, this is how the process works: 


  • Download the SlowCOVIDNC Exposure Notification app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store and enable Bluetooth and Exposure Notifications. Bluetooth must be on for the app to work. After opting-in to receive notifications, the app will generate an anonymous token for your device. A token is a string of random letters which changes every 10-20 minutes and is never linked to your identity or location, but is linked to date. This protects your privacy and security.
  • Through Bluetooth, your phone and the phones around you with the SlowCOVIDNC app work in the background (minimizing battery) to exchange these anonymous tokens every few minutes. Phones record how long they are near each other and the Bluetooth signal strength of their exchanges in order to estimate distance.
  • If you test positive for COVID-19, you may obtain a unique PIN to submit in the app. This voluntary and anonymous reporting notifies others who have downloaded the app that they may have been in close contact with someone in the last 14 days who has tested positive.
  • PINs will be provided to app users who receive a positive COVID-19 test result through a web-based PIN Portal, by contacting the Community Care of North Carolina (CCNC) call center, or by contacting their Local Health Department (LHD).
  • SlowCOVIDNC periodically downloads tokens from the server from the devices of users who have anonymously reported a positive test. Your phone then uses its records of the signal strength and duration of exposures with those tokens to calculate risk and determine if you have met a threshold to receive an Exposure Notification.

 

Within your phone settings, you are able to see if your status is, “active,” meaning that your phone is exchanging random IDs with other phones and logging them. The past 14 days of requests to check in your exposure log are saved. You are also able to change your region. Furthermore, you can receive availability alerts. You are able to receive a notification if Exposure Notifications are available in your current region. Your region is based on a general location check from your phone.

 

This application is a great way to help do your part in slowing down the spread of COVID-19. They also note that:

Using SlowCOVIDNC is entirely voluntary, and you can enable or disable it at any time. When using SlowCOVIDNC, your privacy is protected. Tokens will collect and share date, time, signal strength and duration of proximity. No location data or personally identifiable data will ever be collected or stored.

 

This application is a great way to help do your part in slowing down the spread of COVID-19 and an example of geo-targeting being an effective and efficient way to combat the pandemic while communities slowly begin turning back to normalcy. 

 

This utilization shows that location-based technology can be used to achieve a plethora of goals that businesses across sectors can use. If you are interested in learning more about how Sykes Marketing Group and our location-based advertising technology can help your business achieve its goals-- check out our website or email us at getstarted@sykesmarketinggroup.com


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