Free new app makes contact tracing simple

Published 10:32am 11 September 2020

Free new app makes contact tracing simple
Words by Jodie Powell

The genesis of a new contact tracing app sounds like the start of a corny joke – it’s anything but.

Nathan Schokker and Sandy Lokas walked into a pub for a beer a few months back … and came out with the concept for free contact-tracing app SafeVisit.

“We were having a laugh about the check-in process,” Nathan recalls.

Smart solution

The Moreton Bay pair decided the process left a lot to be desired and, over a couple of cold beverages, determined they would design a platform that was simpler for businesses and users.

“We talked about the key features and how to make it smarter and better,” Nathan says.

Three or four days later, using Sandy’s web and software design and development capabilities, they’d created Safe Visit.

Free new app makes contact tracing simple

Proof of concept

Knowing they needed to test SafeVisit, Nathan and Sandy decided to use the guests at a Brisbane Junior Chamber of Commerce meeting they were hosting as guinea pigs.

“Most of our audience were stereotypical millennials and we knew they wouldn’t hold back with their feedback.

“It went off without a hitch. The venue was using another system and we ran ours in parallel. They were blown away by what it could do.”

That was July 31, and SafeVisit went live on August 1.

Thousands of visitors

Forty days later, Nathan says it’s clocked 60,000 unique check-ins and been adopted far beyond the hospitality and retail industries, simplifying the record keeping process.

“It’s being used by tourism operators, accountants, the legal profession, medical people, information centres, cricket clubs, soccer clubs, netball clubs, mechanics, markets, festivals, expos, museums, and bus and transport companies to track drivers when they visit the depot,” Nathan says.

Free new app makes contact tracing simple

Free for business, users

He says the company decided, from the outset, that SafeVisit should be available free to businesses and that none of its data would ever be sold.

“We both own and operate our own small businesses and we know that small businesses cop the rough end of the stick when it comes to businesses and compliance.

“Given how much businesses have had to deal with this year, we wanted to make it free – it’s a community service to get it out there.”

Nathan believes the key to easing COVID-19 restrictions will be reliable, timely contact-tracing.

Free new app makes contact tracing simple

Record-keeping streamlined

“Part of the guidelines from Queensland Health have stipulated is they want venues to be able to produce records within 60 minutes. With SafeVisit, you can access them within 20 seconds.”

Safe Visit is easy for business operators to use – Nathan says the average sign-up time is 45 seconds – and also simple for visitors to venues.

“For a first-time user to a SafeVisit venue you scan the QR Code, enter your first and last name, email address, residential address and phone number.

“For every other visit you’re then part of the Safe Visit ecosystem, so you don’t have to enter your details again.”

Security a priority

Nathan is quick to reassure sceptics the system is safe and secure.

“There’s two aspects to the data. For the user, when you show up again it’s not data on our site, it’s on your device. Some people will always access the internet on their device in private mode though, so they would have to enter details again.

“Secondly, the data for contact tracing is only used for contact tracing. It will never be sold or used for marketing or mailing lists and it’s all stored in Australia, under our federal laws for cyber security.”

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