Article sponsored by KORE.

Melbourne business Leash IT has attracted international interest in its workplace contract tracing and social distancing solution.

Multinational IoT connectivity provider KORE has partnered with the Melbourne business to provide a “full suite” asset monitoring service – which can be used for COVID-19 compliance and to track staff and assets.

The service ties together connectivity, hardware, a platform and security – and includes the Leash IT LeashView software, which has contact tracing capabilities. Leash IT also offers Social Distancing Bracelets that log close contacts, and access control cameras that check for elevated body temperature and if masks are worn.

KORE and Leash IT are pushing use of the technology to provide safer environments as people return to workplaces. KORE recently hosted a webinar about this – learn more.

Interest in the Leash IT solution has come from multiple industries, including the mining sector in Canada. In Australia, Leash IT COVID-19 safety solutions are being used in Australian mining, warehousing, commercial offices, picking and packing centres, hospitals and scientific laboratories – including in pilot deployments and larger scale rollouts. “I can't get my hands on enough stock at the moment to keep up with the demand,” says Leash IT founder and CEO Tony Lotzof.

KORE has also seen interest in COVID-19 safety technology. “There is a push globally, obviously, on contact tracing, where people are moving, thermal imaging and all sorts of projects happening across Europe, the UK and the US. [Contact tracing] is becoming the norm, and everyone’s running around trying to find a solution,” says Vince Jager, VP, APAC at KORE.

The threat COVID-19 poses to health, jobs and businesses is driving interest in the technology, according to Lotzof.

“If you're able to limit the spread of the virus within your business, you're able to improve the job security of the staff, and you're able to improve the businesses continuity moving forward,” he comments.

He says that a number of Australian organisations now require anyone entering their premises to wear a Leash IT tag. The CEO and administration departments can see in real time how many people are in the building. They can also set a rule in LeashView that will alert them if the number of people per square metre or office space exceeds a certain threshold. And they can use LeashView to track the busiest hours of the day and week, and plan staffing accordingly.

Some office hot-desk environments are using LeashView to track which desks are available, says Lotzof. Before travelling to work, employees can log into the system to see if there are any available desks.

“Everything is becoming much more data driven when it comes to how you can manage your environment, with the regulations the way they are at the moment around having x amount of people per square metre in your work environment,” Lotzof comments.

Technology considerations

KORE and Leash IT see plenty of considerations for organisations interested in using contact tracing and social distancing technology. For example, organisations should look at whether they will be able to support such technology. “Nine times out of ten, you're going to have people who may not be IT savvy involved,” Jager says.

Privacy is another obvious issue. In Lotzof’s view, there has been a “shift in mindset” about workplace tracking during the pandemic, due to concerns about job security and business continuity.

Jager has a similar view. “It's all about safety. That's where I think in general, businesses are on board with it. And I think staff and employees are on board with it too, because no one wants to be the carrier of anything,” he says.

But he acknowledges that acceptance of tracking technology will depend on organisations taking care with the data they collect. Leash IT says customers can opt to remove tracking data after 30 days. It also offers contact tracing solutions that don’t track locations, to address any employer’s or staff member’s concerns about being tracked.

Choosing a secure system is also vital. Lotzof explains that the Leash IT tracking tags don’t store or transmit personal information. And data is encrypted and can be anonymised in the LeashView system – organisations can use their own database to associate the data with an employee.

Lotzof also says Leash IT does not access customer data, unless it is required to by a law. And he says it is Leash IT policy never to sell or pass on any customer data.

Beyond contact tracing

KORE envisages tracking technology being needed not only for workplace safety, but for other COVID-related purposes.

For example, it sees the pandemic having implications for the use of healthcare equipment. Telehealth and stay-at-home care initiatives might increase, requiring tracking of health equipment across cities or regions, or in the case of clinical trials, across the country or internationally.

KORE also sees companies that design public-use devices, such as connected health equipment, needing connectivity and tracking technology.

These are issues KORE and Leash IT are helping to solve. For instance, in New Zealand and Israel, the Leash IT solution has been sourced to track thousands of medical devices used for home care services and on-site medical training.

As the pandemic continues, expect more interest in using technology to get better visibility of people and things.

Watch KORE's webinar: IoT Empowering the ‘New Normal’ Workplace.

During this webinar, experts in IoT safety solutions discuss how digital access control, social distancing compliance technologies and contact tracing solutions are positively impacting workplaces and helping overcome the barriers to adoption. The agenda includes:

  • What does contact tracing and social distancing mean for your business?
  • How IoT technologies can advance regulatory compliance
  • How to adopt and deploy contact tracing and social distancing technology
  • Contact tracing and social distancing compliance in action