Contact tracing has been a hot topic as the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to unfold around the world, and now we're starting to see apps roll out from some big names in the tech industry (Apple, Google) to help tackle this challenge and flatten the curve. Being able to trace and connect the dots when an exposure has been confirmed can be crucial when it comes to containing the spread and preventing it from reaching any further. It is something that can be facilitated with a much higher degree of speed, accuracy, and confidence through the use of technology, and this should be an important cornerstone for any organization looking to roll out a return-to-work plan. Granted, it is a scenario that we'll be trying to avoid at all costs, but it's still a safety measure that we should have ready at our disposal to protect our co-workers, team members, and ourselves.

When we return to the workplace, even if there is a vaccine for COVID-19, we would be wise to capitalize on the lessons learned throughout the pandemic on the importance of reducing exposure to individuals who are sick, and taking increased measures to notify and protect those who may have come into contact with them. In the event that a person has been exposed to or tested positive for any kind of virus, bacteria, or other types of germs that we don't want in the workplace, we need to be able to quickly figure out where they have been inside the building, and who they have been in close proximity to. It's all about the immediate protection of workers, and we can do a better job of this by empowering decision makers using data that already exists in our facilities management systems.

As part of the Watson Works’ set of products, the IBM Watson Care Manager is a comprehensive tool designed to help manage the entire process of workplace care for employees. This includes conducting a thorough contact tracing interview, tracking all of the follow-up steps that are needed to ensure the person is following the proper guidelines for isolation, and that they meet the criteria to eventually return to work. However, we want to highlight how we can also obtain some simple data directly from the TRIRIGA IWMS to help get the contact tracing process started and automate some of the initial communication.

We're able to do this primarily by developing reports that can quickly and easily pull up a list of a worker's reservations that have been made recently. We've already talked about how powerful the reservation system is in TRIRIGA, and with this data we can see where a person has been throughout the office (drilling into the floor and individual spaces, sorting by organization, etc.), and also know which other individuals they've recently shared reservations with. Having this information enables us to respond quickly with the necessary communications. The system can actually help do a lot of the heavy lifting here by notifying everyone who has had a recent meeting with the person, as well as any individuals who have worked close to them in workstations or cubicles.

IBM Tririga reservation module, locating and contact tracing individuals who have booked the “Rush” room in “Charlotte Watson Center.”

Obviously this is a situation that we all will work extremely hard to avoid by developing and adhering to policies and protocols designed to ensure that re-opening the workplace is not going to put anyone else at risk. Having the ability to respond appropriately in the event that an exposure has been confirmed is part of doing our due diligence and making sure we're doing our best to protect everyone in this circumstance.

Adhering to local public health guidelines will be the best option in determining the next steps for everyone involved in the above scenario, but with our existing IWMS infrastructure in place you can see how easy it is to get some of this basic information which can help keep everyone safe. The value in enterprise-level facilities management systems like TRIRIGA is exponentially increased as more modules of the system are used, because of the way the data is tied together. By leveraging the reservation, space, and personnel portfolio, we already have the means to facilitate basic contact tracing within the context of the workplace.

We can take this one step further and apply the same process to on site visitors. Using TRIRIGA, not only can we have a record of registered visitors and their contact information in the system, but we can also tie those visitors to an employee of the company and their meeting room reservations. So again, by making sure we have the right data in the system we are positioning ourselves to have full visibility into when and where external contacts have been in the facilities, and equipping key decision makers with the right information to protect the health and safety of all workers and visitors.

IBM Tririga reservation module of the visitor log for contact tracing.

To find out more about how we can help your project succeed, speak with one of our consultants by scheduling a call today.

Contact Us

Interested to learn more about our solutions, career opportunities, or have general inquiries? Please use the form below or contact us at: