app Technology

This app scores you on your social distancing amid the Coronavirus pandemic

Three screenshots from the DROR app shows how the app measures one’s social distancing as well as giving one the option to leave their Bluetooth on

Three screenshots from the DROR app shows how the app measures one’s social distancing as well as giving one the option to leave their Bluetooth on  

DROR app leverages Bluetooth technology to incentivise people to keep their distance during the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown

Technology has been one of the frontlining industries in the battle against Coronavirus, but one of the tools which has been widely discussed is Bluetooth. On March 30, Delhi-based DROR released a Bluetooth-enabled ‘Social Distancing Tracker’ feature in its active eponymous app.

DROR has been active since August 2018, and was conceptualised with women’s safety in mind. It connects healthcare facilities with citizens in the hour of need. “We promote women’s safety by leveraging technology and community insights, to enable everyone to build a trustworthy community,” says co-founder Dhiraj Nauhbar.

How it works

The ‘Social Distancing Tracker’ feature enables users to maintain their daily social distancing score by exchanging short-distance Bluetooth signals between phones to detect other users of the app who are in close proximity.

Then the app processes this information based on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence-based algorithms, and informs the users of their social distancing score in real time, alerting the users if they get close to a high volume of human contact. This only works if the user’s Bluetooth is left on.

Dhiraj comments, “The only way to control this pandemic is through social distancing, as has been confirmed by health experts. Our effort is to make sure that we encourage people by showing them their daily, weekly and last 14 days social distancing score. Our tech team has worked very hard to create this solution and we will constantly endeavour to improve our attributes. We are ready to work with Centre and State governments to save our nation from Coronavirus.” He adds that the AI exempts those living with many roommates and in joint families.

Ask Dhiraj about the potential ‘Big Brother surveillance’ aspects of this app and he responds, “This app does not track your movements. It does, however, save your MAC address, and note down how many different devices you are in proximity with. We are also not sharing this data with any third party, but if the Government approaches us for such, that is a decision we will share with the app’s users.” But do we need to incentivise people to socially distance? “Unfortunately, the country thrives on a rewards-based system,” he says.

For now, DROR is only Android compatible and Dhiraj says Apple’s App Store has a different set of regulations. “It will be coming to iOS soon, though,” he says.

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Printable version | Jun 5, 2020 6:34:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/dror-app-adds-bluetooth-feature-which-scores-users-on-their-social-distancing/article31268723.ece

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