Those infected with COVID-19 already pass the 18 million barrier with more than 600,000 deaths. Since the beginning of the pandemic, large technology companies have put great investments and efforts in trying to contribute their grain of sand in a situation of global alert. Apple and Google got down to work to design the API ‘Exposure notification’. Allows a device to trace and record contacts via Bluetooth with other devices. In this way, we can control, once someone confirms having the disease, their close contacts. In the last days, The API has been updated with more information for developers, promoting transparency and interoperability between countries.
The future of the Apple and Google API: data interoperability
The Exposure Notification System (SNE) allows public health authorities to develop applications that increase manual contact tracking efforts while preserving the privacy of their citizens. As of today, public health authorities have used SNE to launch in 16 countries and regions in Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America, with more applications currently under development.
API applications are starting to appear all over the world. In the case of Spain, the Government has given the green light for ‘Radar COVID’. It is the app that integrates this technology, and it will be implemented at the state level giving competencies to each autonomous community. However, the bureaucracy and technical limitations in the middle of August means that the autonomous communities do not manage to configure the apps as soon as the rest of the citizens want.
The API is updated from time to time improving its code, its metrics and its parameters thus allowing a better record of the contacts of our device. The better the API that these applications are based on, the better work these apps will do. These are the main news commented by Google on its official blog:
- When an exposure is detected, public health authorities have more flexibility to determine the level of risk associated with that exposure based on the technical information included in the API.
- Bluetooth calibration values, so important in this technology, for hundreds of devices have been updated to improve detection.
- The API allows interoperability between countries, allowing the contact barrier to cross borders. However, that the API allows it does not mean that the countries implement it, and that is an arduous and complicated task with a lot of bureaucracy and the desire to work.
- To help public health authorities stop creating apps, improvements have been added to create apps and debugging tools for developers.
- The clarity, transparency and control for users. The notification settings on Android include a simple on / off at the top. In this way the user can activate the technology in a simple way.