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Facedrive Health Expands Reach of Reliable Bluetooth Communications via Wearables for Global Digital Exposure Notification

Developer of TraceSCAN Helps Build the Herald Protocol – an Open Source Project Developed by VMware – to Combat COVID-19

Facedrive, is pleased to announce that Facedrive Health, its contact tracing and health services subsidiary and developer of TraceSCAN, is contributing to Herald, an open source project developed by VMware. Herald is a technology stack that enables reliable Bluetooth communications for digital exposure notification. With this commitment, Facedrive Health plans to integrate Herald into TraceSCAN’s current and future generation wearables. Joining the community of developers to help build, enhance, and evolve this open source project is part of Facedrive’s social responsibility as countries look to open their borders and adopt a global interoperability standard for COVID-19 digital exposure notifications.

To further expedite the reach and interoperability of digital exposure notification through wearables, Herald is sharing its codebase—including Facedrive’s contributions—with Linux Foundation Public Health (LFPH.io). LFPH is a non-profit global community that builds, secures, and sustains open source software to help public health authorities (PHAs) around the world combat COVID-19 and future epidemics. As more projects are contributed, LFPH will expand its scope into software support for all phases of PHA’s testing, tracing, and isolation activities.

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Current technology contributors to the Herald Protocol include VMware, The Australian Government and Facedrive Health. The Herald Protocol has been adopted by the Australian Government while additional local, regional, and national government organizations are currently evaluating Herald for use in their exposure notification apps. Herald is an open source Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) based protocol developed for the reliable exchange of information between a range of mobile phones. Herald is being developed with the goal of providing more reliable Bluetooth Proximity Detection to improve digital exposure notification applications worldwide in order to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Herald is a VMware-originated open source project and represents part of VMware’s growing investment in and contributions to open source communities.

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Herald delivers a set of features which enhance exposure notification at the inter-device communications level. Important features include 100% detection of phones in the foreground and background across iOS and Android devices, more frequent distance estimations enabling more accurate data capture and risk measurement over time. Perhaps most importantly, by providing a common packet header Herald allows for international interoperability amongst all contact tracing applications, whether designed for centralised or decentralised contact matching and risk scoring.

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TraceSCAN, Facedrive Health’s innovative exposure notification and smart wearables solution, is powered by cutting-edge Bluetooth technology which enables the device to work as an independent wearable product or in conjunction with mobile-only solutions. Given Facedrive Health’s expertise in the development of wearable exposure notification devices, joining the Herald community and contributing to its development was a natural fit. Facedrive Health’s contributions will focus on the development of code to enable wearable exposure notification devices, such as Facedrive Health’s TraceSCAN, to communicate with all other devices that implement the Herald Protocol, thereby giving TraceSCAN a 100% device compatibility potential. Adoption of Herald will allow TraceSCAN wearables to operate across multiple exposure notification platforms globally, whilst accelerating our expansion in exposure notification internationally. The community development will also include defining a technical standard on international interoperability for Bluetooth based device communications related to contact tracing.

Facedrive developed TraceSCAN wearables health tech to increase the reach of exposure notification into personal and workplace environments where use of smartphones is not possible or not allowed. TraceSCAN also addresses specific at-risk demographic segments such as senior citizens, children, and low-income individuals who may not have access to smartphones or not be familiar with their use. TraceSCAN is also well-suited for other unique workplace environments such as the travel industry (for example, cruise and airlines); construction sites; healthcare facilities and senior care homes; schools, colleges and universities; farms and gyms. Facedrive believes that Herald has the potential of greatly increasing the reach of exposure notification applications and improving their accuracy.

“The Herald Protocol is an innovative and necessary foundational technology that can significantly improve the communications layer of the exposure notification application stack. Based on our experience in building TraceSCAN, we are pleased to be involved in the community development of Herald, alongside VMware and other partners,” said Sayan Navaratnam, Chairman and CEO of Facedrive. “Herald has the potential to significantly improve the range and accuracy of COVID-19 related applications and to enable universal interoperability across technology silos in Canada and internationally. This type of global connectivity is critical because the larger an exposure notification network becomes, the more effective it is at detecting and halting the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases,” added Navaratnam.

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