Bluetooth SIG is working to bring Covid 19 exposure tracing to wearables.

NEW DELHI: This specification, when it is deployed, would ensure that wearables such as smartwatches and fitness trackers also enable users to track if they have been close contact with a person who had the infection.


The Covid-19 contact tracing system used all around the globe use Bluetooth connectivity available in smartphones to inform users if they have been in close contact with a person who was later diagnosed with the disease. Now, Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), the organisation that sets Bluetooth standards for devices used across the globe, is working towards developing a new specification that would enable wearables to leverage the same technology as is used by smartphones in the smartphone-based Exposure Notification System (ENS).


This specification, when it is deployed, would ensure that wearables such as smartwatches and fitness trackers also enable users to track if they have been close contact with a person who had the infection. While this feature might seem like a small insignificant tweak, but it can be of great help to people who do not have smartphones with advanced capabilities, such as kids or elderly people.


“By extending an ENS to include wearables, such as wristbands, it can better address population groups where smartphone usage remains low, including children in primary school and older adults living in care facilities,” Bluetooth SIG, which counts companies like Accenture, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Airtel and Facebook as its backers wrote in a release.


Bluetooth SIG says that more than 130 Bluetooth member companies have joined the Bluetooth SIG Exposure Notification Working Group (ENWG) to define a standardised method for adding support for wearable devices while preserving the same privacy and security protections of the ENS. The organisation also said that an initial draft of the specification will be released and available for review within the next few months.


While it is difficult to imagine how and when this technology will be deployed in wearables. But when it does, it would enable companies like Apple and Fitbit to incorporate this technology in their fitness trackers and smartwatches while maintaining privacy of their users.

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