The cruise industry finds itself in uncertain waters as the global pandemic continues to present uncertain and ever-changing situations. New technology designed to support passenger safety could get the industry back on the water.
The introduction of contact tracing apps has made it possible for healthcare professionals to track the people a person with Covid-19 has met. This technology has been remastered from an app to a laptop by TraceSafe, a company specializing in real-time location management services and contact tracing solutions. TraceSafe said the cruise lines, which he cannot currently name, are currently testing the technology.
The introduction of the TraceSafe contact tracing bracelet should not only ensure passenger safety, but also be a stepping stone towards opening up the cruise industry once again.
From concept to design
TraceSafe created the bracelet by adapting MedTech technology that was originally used in hospitals for contact tracing and other services. These “ smart wearable devices, ” as TraceSafe calls them, aim not only to serve as a contact tracing device, but also to enhance the experience and provide opportunities for passengers and crew. While in use, the tracking solution is activated through the bracelet via low power Bluetooth beacons and cloud management to ensure user privacy and administrative control.
The devices were originally single-function in nature; Now, thanks to improved technology, they can be used on all platforms for a variety of uses, with software that can be updated for different purposes, explained Wayne Lloyd, CEO of TraceSafe.
âOur devices that we originally used were single-function devices, the devices that we’re deploying now are what we call smart wearable devices. These are things that can really be devices that enhance the experience. Lloyd said. âPlus, of course, they do the contact tracking functionality as well, but these devices, once you have them on board, there are so many more opportunities, it’s really about improving the experience. . ”
In use, TraceSafe wristbands should be worn not only by passengers, but also by crew members and people who are part of the cruising environment, such as maintenance crews. Once the bracelet is used, the technological chip is removed from the bracelet which is then disinfected before being put back into circulation.
The company currently offers three types of devices with different battery lives of three weeks, 12 months, and 14 days. Once charged and delivered to the crew and passengers, the entire battery life of the device can be monitored from the instrument panel which the crew can access to ensure all devices are active and fully charged.
Safe and secure storage of passenger data
Data privacy is a growing concern, especially health data. TraceSafe has worked with existing systems that can be found on cruise ships to ensure that customer data is safely and securely monitored, stored and viewed.
Before the effects of the pandemic, cruise lines required passenger health data in the form of medical records to ensure passengers’ health was monitored during the cruise. TraceSafe has integrated its software with these systems in a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) compliant manner to reduce disruption and provide passengers with an easy and secure way to use this new technology.
If cruise lines do not have access to this software, TraceSafe can provide its own system to ensure that health data can be stored in a HIPPA compliant manner.
Contact tracking apps vs portable devices
In order to monitor the spread of the pandemic, many countries have created contact tracing apps where members of the public download an app that uses bluetooth on their mobile phones to monitor any contacts they may have had with a. infected person. However, this form of technology was not something that would best suit the cruise industry as passengers may not have access to data due to connectivity issues, they may turn off their phones periodically to maintain duration. of battery life or they may not bring their phone with them at all.
Discussing the company’s decision to use a laptop instead of an app, TraceSafe VP of Sales Susanne MacKillop said: âSome passengers will not be traveling with their cell phones due to data charges. and others. In this way, the cruise line can ensure, from their perspective, that every guest and crew on board has the device turned on and is using it during their cruise.
“The information we have received from the cruise industry indicates that they are looking for something that is independent of an application.”
âThe information we have received from the cruise industry is that they are looking for something that is app independent because some people don’t want this type of tracking app on their own personal device. We make sure they have the technology on board to do what the cruise industry needs of them. ”
Are wearable devices the future of the cruise industry?
Technology like TraceSafe’s contact tracing bracelets will not only help the cruise industry get back to sea, but also provide passengers with a safety protocol when they return to cruise. However, TraceSafe doesn’t believe bracelets will be a permanent fixture in the cruise industry. Lloyd said the technology could be adapted and used for other features around the ship, similar to bracelets used in the hospitality industry, such as at Disneyland.
âI don’t think people will want them to be like a life jacket where it’s going to be a clutter. That’s why we are integrating our technology into a platform that goes far beyond simple contact tracing.
âWe view these devices as enabling devices that help navigate the ship and unlock incredible opportunities.â
We view these devices as truly empowering devices that help navigate the ship and unlock incredible opportunities. Lloyd said.
âRight now we are focusing on the Covid-19 laser because it is very important to get the cruise ship back up and running. Once these initial concerns have truly been addressed, we work as technology partners aboard these ships to see exactly what we can do in these additional service areas.
With the Covid-19 pandemic a driving force for the continued development of contactless technology, solutions like this could be a way to help the cruise industry return to sailing.