The Who’s Who of COVID Tracing Apps

The Who’s Who of COVID Tracing Apps

The UK Government has allowed the Construction industry to continue to work through the ‘Tier 4’ and latest more restrictive Government Coronavirus limitations on personal freedoms, but we saw in the earlier 2020 restrictions that a significantly greater number of Coronavirus cases were attributed to the Construction industry due to its’ ability to continue to work through the lockdown, and the nature of the work requiring proximity amongst people. So, what are some different approached to managing the risk? We’ve all heard about the NHS app which has raised some privacy concerns around surveillance. So what’s the best non-invasive way to ensure the safety of your workers onsite and stop potential spread of COVID? We’ve listed a few tracing apps here – you can make your own decisions!

Singapore's Tracing Token

There has been a lot of confusion around whether tracing apps work and which is the best technology, but Singapore is renowned as the country that beat COVID quickly. How did they do it? They were the country first to release a tracing app. It was very early on – only 10k deaths, but Singapore was prepared and deployed a system outside Apple or Google (and outside mobile phones) that is now used by more than 50% of the population. The tokens use Bluetooth technology that scan around them to record interactions, much in the same way EMS’ beable ® Wearable works on Construction sites. Singapore has still only recorded 29 deaths in total – a COVID success story compared to other countries! Of course, additional measurements such as masks & physical distancing were also factors in this winning situation, but Bluetooth was chosen for its accuracy and conservative power requirements. The crucial decision to create a token with additional privacy measures (such as scan QR code to check in) we believe was the cause of high user adoption. Privacy concerns were alleviated if not eliminated using this feature – a token is discardable, unlike a phone app, giving users confidence.


The NHS App was made publicly available on Google App Store and Apple iStore platforms on 24 September 2020 after more than 15 months in development. It now has adoption rates of between 10% and 30% of the population with venues offering check-in via the NHS App (via QR code) or their own app. A study stated that it can still be effective with an adoption rate of as low as 15%. You can download the app here.

beable ® Wearable

Built for the Construction industry by Electronic Media Services in collaboration with COMIT Project which has been providing broadband and technology to Construction sites since 1995, beable ® wearable works as a bracelet for workers that records interactions vie Bluetooth, with the installation of beacons around your site. Each day workers declare fitness for work, and if a worker falls ill, the app will identify interactions over a timeframe, and alert the manager of possible infections. At the end of the day the bracelet is removed and set aside for future use. As the Construction industry needs to continue to work whilst other industries are at home, beable ® Wearable is useful personal protective equipment to keep workers safe, can reduce risk of an outbreak, and could be key to keeping your Construction site open.