AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--SaferMe, the business focused contact tracing provider that was funded and adopted by the New Zealand government, announced today that its new wearable contact tracing solution – including a contact tracing card the size of a credit card – is now available in the US for sale to commercial customers, after successful initial trials with medium-sized and large businesses as well as schools and universities.
SaferMe also formally announced that it opened its first US office in Austin earlier this year and began marketing its contact tracing solution to businesses and organizations in the US. Initially contracted to provide its contact tracing solution to New Zealand businesses, the company now has a growing portfolio of US customers, including Parsley Energy, Walter P Moore and Walla Walla University.
Strong US demand has caused the company to ramp production for commercial scale adoption here, and SaferMe is taking advantage of the deep talent pool available in the greater Austin region.
“Over the past months we've provided our automated contact tracing smart phone apps to hundreds of businesses all around the world, and we are now well positioned to accelerate our role in helping businesses in the US get their employees back to work safely,” said SaferMe CEO Clint Van Marrewijk. “Our standard contact tracing app automatically logs when people are in contact via a technology called Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). This data is used to produce a simple contact tracing table, which allows a business to rapidly protect employees when positive cases of a virus, such as the one that causes Covid 19, occur.”
Van Marrewjik explained that in many work environments, some employees are not allowed to carry smartphones or do not have access to them. To address that challenge, SaferMe developed a new contact tracing wearable device to complement the SaferMe apps.
“By working together, the apps and the wearables gather a more complete dataset and make contact tracing even more effective for businesses, schools, universities, and other large, dispersed organizations,” Van Marrewijk said.
The SaferMe contact tracing card is worn by employees on a lanyard or a clip on the shirt, just as current building access cards are worn. The card is a Bluetooth transmitting device about the size of a credit card and weighing only 18 gms. The cards are purchased by businesses in batches of 250 or more.
“Our goal is to stop the spread of the virus in businesses and schools because that’s where contact tracing technology can have the greatest impact,” Van Marrewijk said. “The card is completely secure. There is no personally identifiable information on the card and all information on the card is encrypted.”
As an employee goes about their day, the card records whenever the wearer comes close to another cardholder and saves this information on the card. Once a day, or whenever a business chooses, the cardholder can press a button on the card at a syncing station or next to a phone. This uploads the contact logs to SaferMe’s contact tables, and a company’s HR leaders can access these tables in the event that a contact trace is required.
“Where a wearable contact tracing solution really shines is when employees may not have smartphones, or where the use of a phone may not be appropriate, like on a manufacturing floor, warehouse or clean environment,” said Van Marrewijk. “We now have a solution designed specifically for those situations.”
SaferMe received funding earlier this year from the New Zealand Ministry of Business Innovation & Employment (MBIE COVID-19 Innovation Fund) to develop business-specific contact tracing for New Zealand companies, and has partnered with the New Zealand Ministry of Health. The New Zealand Government made the phone-based contact tracing apps freely available to New Zealand businesses. During the April peak of the New Zealand outbreak, the SaferMe app was used heavily by New Zealand businesses and since then the company has since begun marketing the solution globally on a limited basis, primarily in the US.
SaferMe has emerged as a global leader in contact tracing solutions for business use. Selected by the New Zealand Government to provide business contact tracing via the MBIE Covid-19 response fund, SaferMe is now operating globally. Founded in Wellington, New Zealand, in 2015, the company opened its US office in Austin, Texas, in early 2020, and has been experiencing strong growth - including among Fortune 500 clients and leading educational institutions. This demand is partly driven by being highlighted by the World Health Organization (WHO) for contact tracing capabilities and winning New Product of the Year in America’s OH&S Magazine Safety Awards.