Singapore mulls wearable option to boost Covid-19 fight - Mobile World Live

Singapore mulls wearable option to boost Covid-19 fight

05 JUN 2020

A wearable device could be distributed in Singapore to plug gaps in a current Covid-19 (coronavirus) contact-tracing app resulting from the way Apple’s iPhones handle Bluetooth functions, The Straits Times reported.

Government minister Vivian Balakrishnan today (5 June) said a worn device could boost access to the city state’s TraceTogether app, which so far had been downloaded by around a quarter of citizens.

Balakrishnan is Singapore’s Foreign Minister and also heads its Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (SNDGG), the newspaper reported.

He told parliament a problem prevented iPhones and other iOS devices employing Bluetooth scanning when TraceTogether is running in the background. Talks with Apple were yet to yield a “satisfactory solution”, the politician explained.

The newspaper stated around three-quarters of Singapore’s population must access TraceTogether for it to be effective in combating Covid-19. It reported Balakrishnan believes a wearable distributed to all citizens would be “more inclusive” and boost the level of protection on offer.

So far use of TraceTogether has not been made compulsory, though The Straits Times reported several updates were announced today designed to boost inclusion, including an expanded range of languages and a revised registration system which removes the need to have a mobile phone number to sign up.

Joint effort
India, Australia and Japan also introduced similar apps.

In May, Apple and Google launched jointly-developed Covid-19 exposure tracking technology, designed to enable health authorities to develop contact-tracing apps.

This week, the GSMA called for close cooperation between operators and bodies deploying tracing apps to ensure the services are effective and do not have a negative impact on networks.

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Joseph Waring

Joseph Waring joins Mobile World Live as the Asia editor for its new Asia channel. Before joining the GSMA, Joseph was group editor for Telecom Asia for more than ten years. In addition to writing features, news and blogs, he...

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