Cyprus-based award-winning development firm Dynamic Works creates one of the first COVID-19 preventative apps that logs who the user has been in contact with over the last fourteen days. The firm has also made the source code available via the open-source GNU GPLv3 license.
NICOSIA, CYPRUS - 16 APRIL 2020 - DW Dynamic Works, the developer of the award-winning CRM, Syntellicore as well as a host of other flagship websites and online tools today announces the launch of CovidGuard, the Bluetooth-based app which tracks the people you have been in contact with over the last fourteen days.
“CovidGuard is a major leap forward especially as a preventative tool during this COVID-19 pandemic,” said George Georgiou, the Managing Director of Dynamic Works. “As there is no vaccine nor cure right now, the only way to combat Coronavirus is to stop it from spreading, and we believe we have the mobile application which can drastically prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
How CovidGuard Works
Once someone has been confirmed as being COVID-19 Positive, meaning they have Coronavirus, whether they are asymptomatic or not, governments all around the world follow a simple protocol which is to question COVID-19 Positive patients. First on the agenda is to ask them who they have been in contact with over the last fourteen days. This has presented a challenge to both medical professionals and government officials alike as most patients simply do not remember who they have been in contact with other than their immediate family.
Here's a detailed infographic on how the CovidGuard mobile app works to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
To alleviate this issue, Dynamic Works had a proof of concept for the proposed creation of the mobile app on Sunday, 22nd March 2020. The central idea behind the app was to create a log of who the user had been in contact with. The app would also use the app-to-app approach, meaning for it to register contacts, it would need to come into contact with other users of the app. Bluetooth would be the primary connection protocol when it comes to communicating with other users’ devices. The important aspect to take note of is that the Dynamic Works Team (later on dubbed as the CovidGuard Team) did not want the app to track the user’s whereabouts but would rather log the time and date it came into contact with every other CovidGuard app user.
“When it comes to tracking the whereabouts of individuals, we have to be very cautious as no one wants an app who will then disclose where they’ve been. We looked at different systems and discounted the GPS method as this would produce far too many false positives,” said George Georgiou. “For instance, if a user is on the first floor of a building and there is another user on the tenth floor, GPS will flag the two users and create a log. This simply doesn’t work as these two users may never have come into contact with each other. We needed to find a way to connect app to app and create a network, which is why we went with the Bluetooth approach.”
It took just five days for the app to be developed and launched. Dynamic Works collaborated with iOS Development Specialist, Michael Mavris as well as UI/UX Specialist, Alex Cican to make up the “CovidGuard Team”. From the proof of concept (22nd March 2020) to the launch (26th March 2020), the CovidGuard Team had produced an app which potentially has the capability to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
CovidGuard Code Available Via Open-Source
Once the testing phase, which took just a few days to complete, was over, the CovidGuard Team decided to take an unprecedented approach and make all the source code available via the GNL open-source license. The source code, which is released under the code name “CoFight-19”, is available on GitHub and can be found here. The code package of CoFight-19 includes both client-side and server-side code. iOS, Android and CFML and SQL code is available with full documentation and tips on how to compile and customise it. Client-side apps can be published through Apple App Store and Google Play.
“CovidGuard isn’t something that should belong to just Dynamic Works or the CovidGuard Team,” said George Georgiou. “Success can only be truly guaranteed when people install it and we want CovidGuard to be successful. The more people who install it, the closer we get to achieving our goal of containing Coronavirus. Thus, by making CovidGuard available via the open-source channel, we’re allowing anyone to build on it, which includes developers in other countries. CovidGuard should not have an owner. It's a community-driven contact tracing solution that actively fights the spread of one of the worst viruses we’ve known in our lifetime.”
CovidGuard and the Cloud
Once the COVID-19 Positive patient has been identified, the user simply clicks on the Upload to the Cloud button. This triggers the log to be uploaded to the cloud. It’s important to note that the uploading to the cloud feature can be configured by the development team who compile the code.
When it comes to the data being collected, CovidGuard simply attributes the mobile number of the user with an ID. Therefore when the data is downloaded from the cloud, government officials are presented with a log of mobile numbers. These government officials then contact the list of people the user has come in contact with.