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Amber: Weathering the Coronavirus storm in the Caribbean

Find out how global technology company Amber Group is using IoT and managed connectivity to enable a solution that is helping the Jamaican government tackle COVID-19 and save lives.

Highlights

  • Jamaican government selected Amber’s Covid19 Pandemic Management Solution as the principal way to build digital health folders, approve incoming travelers and implement tracking and tracing protocols during quarantine.
  • The connected solution helps border control officials to slow down an influx of COVID-19 cases from arriving passengers through a travel authorization process that requires travelers to submit a mandatory online health screening.
  • The connected solution also links the traveler’s applications and information to health officials at the airport, via a tablet-based module to enable additional health assessment of the passenger.
  • The GPS-enabled tracking tool checks if the person is in their quarantined location using geo-fencing.
  • Users of the website and app can access real-time data on the number and location of COVID-19 cases across the island, thereby enabling high-risk groups from meeting infected people.
  • Telenor Connexion’s Managed Connectivity solution successfully reduced time to market, thereby reducing risk and cost.

Background

The Amber Group Limited (AGL), is a technology conglomerate, based in Jamaica with operations in more than 20 countries including India, Africa, the Americas, and the Caribbean. With a philosophy of enabling social good through technology, Amber has earned the respect of many regional governments in the Caribbean for developing an innovative solution that is successfully helping to address one of today’s most pressing challenges, COVID-19.

Amber’s COVID-19 Pandemic Management Solution is a comprehensive, interactive website and mobile application (JamCovid19 App) for Android and iOS that can be paired with a wearable GPS tracker wristband. The solution enables governments to centrally develop, manage and disseminate crucial information related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The solution includes provisions to efficiently enable travel authorization, airport screening, tracking/tracing management and support quarantine measures.

In addition to providing the latest data and statistics related to COVID-19, the solution allows citizens to self-report their health status, book an appointment for testing if they are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, as well as request emergency services such as the police or ambulance services.

The Jamaican Government is using Amber’s solution for part of the country’s arrival protocol, requiring visitors and citizens to download and use the tracing app, in an effort to curtail and contain the spread of COVID-19.

The GPS-enabled tracking tool requires visitors to upload their temperature and a video showing their location in response to prompts, throughout the duration of their stay. In addition, users receive real-time data on the number and location of COVID-19 cases across the island, thereby enabling high-risk groups from encountering infected people.

Challenge

Caribbean countries have had to weather many devastating catastrophes in the past, but none quite like the Coronavirus pandemic. Millions of lives are at stake as well as the livelihoods of everyone in the region, many of whom rely on tourism.

Detecting and isolating COVID-19 cases is a priority in slowing down the spread of the pandemic. The World Health Organization has stated that, besides finding, testing, isolating, and treating every positive COVID-19 case, it is vital all contacts are traced in order to curtail the spread of the virus.

This is an extremely labor-intensive task, usually involving an overwhelming amount of phone calls, interviews, research, paperwork etc. This becomes even more complicated in tourist destinations, such as the Caribbean, where groups of people from all over the world come to relax or repatriate.

However, innovative technology combined with mobile connectivity and IoT is proving to be a powerful way to more efficiently handle the complex task of tracking and tracing.

Solution

Amber’s COVID-19 solution successfully provides an easy-to-use centralized source for all COVID-19 related information and services in Jamaica.

This includes a self-reporting and monitoring portal, latest data and statistics on COVID-19, direct links to emergency services, knowledge resources on COVID-19, and a controlled re-entry immigration section that allows residents and visitors to apply for authorization to enter the country.

Amber Group’s Covid-19 Pandemic Management Solution offers the following benefits:

  • Health Pre-Screening
  • Immigration and Travel Authorization
  • Airport Health Screening
  • Self-Reporting for COVID-19 symptoms
  • Appointment Booking for COVID-19 tests
  • In-Country Analytics
  • Quarantine Management
  • Wearable Tracking and Tracing Solution.

The connected solution helps overcome the problem for border management to slow down the risk of imported COVID-19 cases from arriving passengers by requiring them to submit a mandatory online health screening application which gives the government access to passenger details, their current health conditions, and upload a negative COVID-19 test certificate which is then subjected to an approval process by the Health Department.

Upon approval, a Travel Authorization Certificate is provided, without which the airline will refuse travel. Furthermore, it creates a digital health folder which starts pre-arrival, and then links to the on arrival clinical assessment for symptoms and temperature for decision making of low risk/high risk cases.

It further assists the efficiency of the health department operationally to manage the quarantine compliance through phone tracking and wearable device tracking, including the release of the person from quarantine after 14 days (based on a daily video health check including temperature uploads). This dramatically reduces the manpower required to manage safety and health risks for the country.

Telenor Connexion provides GSM connectivity to Amber’s wearable tracking solution, which has enabled home quarantine compliances with real time temperature and heart rate readings to manage the health of the persons in quarantine during the incubation period of COVID-19.

With Telenor Connexion’s Managed Connectivity, Amber gets access to over 500 mobile networks globally. Telenor Connexion’s Global SIM card allows the solution to be standardized, no matter where the product will be sold or used. The advantage for Amber is that they have one single point of contact for support and monitoring, one contract, one consolidated invoice, one API, one roadmap – for many countries in the Caribbean where it is being used and might end up being used in the future.

Results

Amber Groups Covid19 Pandemic Management Solution is a critical component in managing the global pandemic and helping to lessen the spread of Covid19 in many countries in the Caribbean.

Andrew Holness, the Prime Minister of Jamaica, has commended the Amber Group on multiple occasions for its contribution through the pandemic management solution provided to the Government at no cost.

Dushyant Savadia, founder and CEO, Amber, says: “I am very proud of my team at the Amber Group, especially the effort and commitment it took to design, build and provide an entire end-to-end pandemic management solution to the Government of Jamaica, all done in a matter of weeks. There were no blueprints and we had to ensure integrity, robustness and usability of the solution which is why several other Governments have since adopted the technology.

This is a good example of IoT in smart cities.

We are grateful for Telenor’s participation in providing their GSM telecommunications solution which helped in retaining connectivity to the wearable trackers consistently using multiple networks, which ensured no loss of data from the wearables.
Dushyant SavadiaFounder and CEO, Amber

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