WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – If the pandemic has taught anything, it’s that change can happen at a moment’s notice.
That’s what happened for a Wichita software company and their app designed to help people with social distancing.
“As soon as two people come close to each other, it alerts users,” said Viaanix CEO Jatin “Jay” Talreja.
Since this spring, seemingly forever ago, Viaanix has been developing an app to remind people when they’re within six-feet of someone else using Bluetooth technology.
“It’s just a safer environment. We’re using this at our organization and it just helps us maintain the social distance,” Talreja said. “The stickers and stuff like that just don’t help that much because once you know somebody, you automatically go close to them and talk to them. If you’re in a meeting room. If you’re walking down a production floor, you’re automatically come close to the person and talk to them. It’s just human nature.”
Talreja said as they were rolling out the app, they learned that it would not be provided a home in the app stores for Apple and Google devices.
Instead of mothballing the idea until they could release it to smartphone consumers, they reworked it and are now targeting workplaces.
“There’s several manufacturing companies we’re currently talking to who are highly interested in this particular product. Some pilots are going on and those are looking pretty good,” Talreja said.
They are currently testing out the program at two companies.
Viaanix partnered with a smartwatch maker so they could install the app directly onto the device in order to get around the restrictions. Also, the devices are Android compatible so employers can add other Andriod apps.
While it’s more cost-prohibitive than the initial approach, Talreja said this version of the app does more than just provide a tool to remind of social distancing.
“Say you have 10,000 employees and all 10,000 employees can have a watch and you can maintain the social distance all throughout the facility and also do contact tracing,” said Talreja. “If the company knows that they have an employee who has been infected with COVID, they can go the past 14 days to see who that person has come in close contact with, how long he came in contact and take better decisions instead of just shutting down the whole plant.”
Talreja said right now, companies are looking for the tools to keep the virus from impacting their workplace.
“In the last two months, we’ve seen once the states and companies open up, everybody is going back to work, we’re still seeing a surge of COVID cases going very high,” said Talreja. “Since the flu season is also coming up, it becomes very imperative that companies take decent measures.”
Talreja said the finished version of the app and devices are ready to be rolled out to companies.
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