Overall system

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Exploring the full landscape


Our scope is the contribution of mobile technology available to citizens (iOS and Android equipped smartphones) to the prevention of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The System under study is thus the sum of components that interplay in the prevention :

  • The citizen equipped with a smartphone, having encounters with other persons, doing visits to points of interest, making movements and showing symptoms.
  • The healthcare system including health authorities, testing facilities, healthcare providers, epidemiologists, contact tracers
  • Academic researchers
  • Policy makers
  • Social support providers (in charge of organising social-economical aspects of isolation and quarantining)
  • Users of other similar systems

The goals of the system are:

  • As a whole: to limit the combined health and economical damage caused by the pandemic
  • As means to this end:
    • Empower citizens to take effective and more targeted social distancing measures (ref: EC Recommendation of 8.4.2020), including informing users of increased potential exposure and advising them on adequate measures, supporting their relationship with healthcare providers.
    • Support contact tracing at scale (ref: EC Recommendation of 8.4.2020), which we extend to ‘transmission tracing’ to encompass explicitly all transmission routes beyond person-to-person contacts.
    • Inform policy makers on measures and exit strategy (ref: EC Recommendation of 8.4.2020) through spatio-temporal analysis of data on spread and impact of the virus.
    • Assess the effectiveness of measures
    • Optimize resource allocation (e.g. testing) and utilization (e.g. triage) in order to avoid overburdening the healthcare system and yield the maximal impact of available resources
    • Support the organizing of effective isolation of infected individuals and quarantining of suspected infections, including the social-economical aspects
    • Enable scientific research on the pandemic and the fight against the pandemic
  • We explicitly exclude law enforcement and mass surveillance.

This requires the following features:

Inform citizens:

  • General preventive guidelines and warnings
  • Targeted preventive guidelines and warnings
  • Information about the status of the pandemic
  • Information about the measures and policies

Support transmission tracing(*)

  • Processes:
    • Identify and isolate infected individuals (index cases)
    • Track encounters of the index cases in order to quarantine them awaiting testing according to a monitoring protocol (building contact graphs and backtracking the index case’s contacts)
    • Identify visits to points of interest and movements of the index cases
    • Identify hotspots (indicators for environmental transmission or unidentified encounters) based on the correlation of visits to points of interest or locations with infection incidence
    • Identify the ‘most central individual’ in a network so as to target tests for maximal network coverage
    • Identify super spreaders
    • Provide warnings and instructions (isolation, quarantining, testing)

Support healthcare provisioning:

  • Pre-disease self-diagnosing (e.g. health / symptoms diary)
  • Preparing a doctor’s visit (e.g. pre-anamnesis / medical history / triage)
  • Post-diagnosis contact on treatment and symptoms evolution

Inform policy making:

  • Provide aggregated dashboards of relevant indicators
  • Model and predict the evolution of the disease based on spatio-temporal mapping of symptoms and infections based on monitoring of consenting individuals of their (para-)medical data and location and movements

Monitor the effectiveness of decision-making by authorities on measures such as social distancing and confinement

  • Correlate spatio-temporal symptom and infection mapping with measures taken

Optimize resource allocation

  • Targeted testing
  • Capture and consolidate information
  • Efficient use of contact tracers (and thus reduce the amount of people needed)

Organize quarantining

  • Certify infection and exposure data
  • Support appropriate information exchange between actors (index case, employer, care givers, healthcare providers, social security)

Enable research

  • Conduct surveys among the population
  • Provide adequately protected data

(*) We choose the term ‘transmission tracing’ rather than ‘contact tracing’ in order to explicitly include transmission modes beyond person-to-person transmission.