The cruise industry finds itself in unsafe waters as the global pandemic continues to present unsafe, ever-changing situations. New technologies to aid passenger safety could put the industry back on the water.
By introducing contact tracking apps, medical professionals have been able to track the people a person with Covid-19 has encountered. This technology was converted from an app to a wearable by TraceSafe, a company specializing in real-time location management services and contact tracking solutions. According to TraceSafe, cruise lines that currently cannot be named are currently testing the technology.
The introduction of the TraceSafe contact tracing bracelet is not only intended to ensure passenger safety, but also to be a stepping stone towards the Opening of the cruise industry once more.
From concept to design
TraceSafe created the bracelet by adapting MedTech technology originally used in hospitals for contact tracking and other services. These “smart wearables,” as TraceSafe calls them, aim not only to act as contact tracing devices, but also to enhance the experience and provide opportunities for passengers and crew members alike. During operation, the tracing solution is activated through the wristband via low power bluetooth beacons and cloud management to ensure user privacy and administrative control.
The devices originally only had one function. Thanks to the advanced technology, they can now be used across platforms for a variety of applications. The software can be updated for a variety of purposes, said Wayne Lloyd, CEO of TraceSafe.
“The devices we originally used were single-function devices. The devices we are now deploying are known as smart wearables. These are things that can really be experiential devices. “Said Lloyd. “They also do the contact tracing function of course, but once you have them on board there are so many more options that the real point is to improve the experience.”
If used, TraceSafe wristbands would have to be used not only by passengers but also by crew members and people who are part of the cruise environment, such as B. maintenance teams. Once the wristband has been used, the technology chip is removed from the band, which is then disinfected before being put back into circulation.
The company currently has three types of devices with different battery lifetimes of three weeks, 12 months and 14 days. Once charged and made available to crew and passengers, the entire battery life of the device can be monitored through the dashboard, which the crew can access to ensure that all devices are active and fully charged.
Safe and secure storage of passenger data
Data protection is a growing problem, especially when it comes to health data. TraceSafe has worked with existing systems on cruise lines to ensure that customer data is securely monitored, stored and accessed.
Prior to the impact of the pandemic, cruise lines needed passenger health records in the form of medical records to ensure that 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 safe 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 software HIPPA compliant way.
Contact tracking apps versus wearables
To monitor the spread of the pandemic, many countries have created contact tracking apps that members of the public use to download an app that uses the bluetooth feature on their cell phones to monitor any contact they may have had with an infected person. However, this form of technology wasn’t best suited for the cruise industry as passengers may not be able to access data due to connectivity issues, periodically turn off their phone to save battery life, or may not take their phone with them all.
Susanne MacKillop, Vice President of Sales at TraceSafe, spoke about the company’s decision to use a wearable instead of an app: “There are some passengers who do not travel on their mobile phones due to data charges and the like. In this way, the cruise line can ensure from their point of view that each of the guests and the crew on board have switched on the device and are using the device when they are on their cruise.
“What we got from the cruise industry is that they are looking for something that is not an app.”
“The information we’ve got from the cruise industry is that they are looking for something that is app independent because some people don’t want that type of tracing app on their own personal device. We make sure they have the technology on board to do what the cruise industry demands of them. ”
Are wearables the future for the cruise industry?
Technologies like TraceSafe contact tracing wristbands not only help the cruise industry get back to sea, they also provide passengers with a safety log when they return to the cruise. However, TraceSafe doesn’t believe the wristbands will be an integral part of the cruise industry. Lloyd said the technology can be adapted and used on other features around the ship, much like bracelets used in the hospitality industry like Disneyland.
“I don’t think people want them to be like a life jacket where it’s going to be a burden. That’s why we’re building our technology into a platform that is much more than just contact tracking.
“We see these devices as an activating device that helps navigate the ship and opens up some incredible possibilities.”
We see these devices as a really activating device that helps navigate the ship and unlock some incredible possibilities. “Said Lloyd.
“At the moment we are focusing on Covid-19 because it is very important to get the cruise ship back on track. Once these initial concerns are really resolved, we will work as a technology partner aboard these ships and see exactly what we can do in these additional service areas. ”
With the Covid-19 pandemic a driving force behind the continued advancement of contactless technology, solutions like this could be one way to help the cruise industry set sail again.