Air Canada has unveiled plans to pilot COVID-19 contact tracing technology in its workplace using the Bluetooth enabled TraceSCAN app and wearable technology developed by Canadian-based Facedrive Inc.
"The health and safety of our employees is of paramount concern to Air Canada and is key to restoring our operations safely for our customers. Air Canada has embraced a science-based approach to managing COVID-19 and as part of this has committed to evaluate the use of new technologies like TraceSCAN's wearables. We are enthusiastic about exploring the use of TraceSCAN because this Canadian technology has the potential to provide another layer of safety for our employees, so they can focus on taking care of our customers," said Samuel Elfassy, vice-president, safety at Air Canada.
TraceSCAN will allow Air Canada to provide further protection to their employees, especially as many of them work in environments where the use of cell phone technology is not possible, added Sayan Navaratnam, chairman and chief executive officer at Facedrive Inc.
"We are very pleased to help Air Canada explore ways to provide additional protection to their employees," stated Navaratnam. "We hope this pilot will be a model for other airlines to follow and look forward to continuing to work with industry to protect Canadians as our country returns to its normal working and travel schedules."
The technology behind TraceSCAN was developed in partnership with leading minds at the University of Waterloo.
"TraceSCAN is an AI-powered solution for contact tracing in the workplace which can track staff exposure to COVID-19 without GPS information. The technology provides a risk-based assessment of an individual's exposure within dynamic and dense work environments. The technology enables the creation and management of safer work environments needed during this critical phase of the pandemic," said William Melek, University of Waterloo mechanical and mechatronics engineering professor.
Leading the charge
Air Canada has been at the forefront of the airline industry in responding to COVID-19, including being among the first carriers globally to require customer face coverings onboard and the first airline in the Americas to take customers' temperatures prior to boarding.
Air Canada has also partnered with medical and technology organizations to further advance biosafety across its business, including with McMaster HealthLabs for an airport arrivals COVID-19 study, the Cleveland Clinic Canada for medical advisory services, Abbott for rapid testing, Spartan Bioscience to explore portable COVID-19 testing technology and, since 2019, with Toronto-based BlueDot for real-time infectious disease global monitoring.
TraceSCAN Wearables is an innovative technology, combining AI-enabled mobile application along with wearables devices built on the nRF52 Bluetooth chipset, which is used by the world's leading wearable manufacturers.
Facedrive Health developed industry-specific TraceSCAN wearable technology to slow the spread of COVID-19 at the workplace through wristbands, wearable tags worn around the neck or pods that can be kept in the pocket.
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