In June 2020, the United Nations Technology Innovation Labs programme launched 1point5, a social distancing app aimed at helping the world get back to work safely while the COVID-19 pandemic remains an ongoing reality. As part of the project the UN tapped Kunai, a product development consultancy based in Oakland, CA, to become an institutional contributor to the project, developing the Safe Teams Feature of the social distancing app.
1point5 is a free app that promotes social distancing awareness. It detects other application users' phones and alerts them when they are within socially distant ranges. Kunai contributed to build version 2.0 of the application which includes a Safe Teams Feature. This feature allows app users to create Teams by scanning a QR code on people's devices who users choose not to socially distance from. This allows Team Members like coworkers or family members to have alerts muted when they are within a social distanced range, but still receive alerts from other app users who are not included in their pool. The app is open source and available for free on Android.
"Social distancing saves lives, and the 1point5 app is a clever piece of technology that allows people to know when they're too close," said Maurizio Maria Gazzola, UN-OICT Chief, Strategic Solutions. "Our vision is to #MakeTechInclusive and to demonstrate how brilliant technologists can quickly address pivotal issues related to health and safety during COVID-19 with ensuring the strictest privacy standards."
As private sector tech-companies, developers, and like-minded companies to find solutions and tackle current and future crises, Kunai's effort is a clear example of using tech for good to keep people safe and solve problems at scale. Because the 1point5 app does not collect or store any personally identifiable information, it gives individuals the piece of mind that they are not being tracked or their information is being shared.
"We are excited to partner with the United Nations Technology Innovation Lab to develop 1point5, a timely, groundbreaking social distancing application. It is an example of how public and private organizations can come together to solve large scale issues during this pandemic, while still protecting individuals' privacy," said Sandeep Sood, CEO of Six15. "We hope this app is able to give people the piece of mind to return to a more normal life in times of extraordinary change."
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