COVID-19 has added a fog of uncertainty into our world, resulting in a change of lifestyle where complacency is a luxury we cannot afford. Mistakes can lead to drastic economic sacrifices, negative impacts to mental health, and avoidable deaths.
Quickly isolating infected individuals and people who have been in locations of interest is key to minimising the spread of COVID-19. Therefore, it is critical for us to have sufficient and accurate location data to allow for effective containment.
As New Zealand goes back into Alert Level 1, life goes back to “normal” and normal means “not scanning”. From national statistics, the majority of New Zealanders have not been scanning enough, with under 10% of the adult population in New Zealand actively using the COVID Tracer app. We have been complacent.
Additionally, as fear for breach of privacy spreads amongst the already uneased population, it has become a war between being complacent versus being compliant.
So how can we contain this virus without having enough data?
To better understand the contract tracing behaviour of Australians and New Zealanders, we have sent out a survey to the community for feedback.
In 24 hours, we received 102 responses. Our survey shows 56% of our respondents indicated they sometimes or rarely use the COVID Tracer App. As positive Covid cases continue to grow and the rapid growth of interest locations being announced daily, 54% of the respondents found it challenging to keep track. This makes it difficult for users to identify if they are a potential close or casual contact, which leads to a delay in self isolation.
For people who have not been actively using the COVID Tracer App, Lenny makes life easier by integrating their bank transactions with a real-time stream of the COVID locations of interest. Users can then check whether any of their transactions match the time and place of the location of interest and export the locations to the Ministry of Health. Location data can also be synched to the COVID Tracer App.
Lenny offers an alternative solution for those who do not have location history enabled on mapping services such as Google Maps.
Limitations of mapping services
-Users must have location tracking enabled at all times, location history is also not available -prior to enabling the feature.
-It may be undesirable to enable location tracking as this data is usually processed for advertising, recommendations, optimising commutes, etc.
-Users must have a compatible device for this feature to work.
Advantages of Lenny
+Banking transaction data cannot be deleted, users do not need to enable features themselves.
+Lenny does not store the user's location data. All processing serves a single purpose and is never done without the user’s consent.
+As long as a debit or credit card is used for a purchase, location data is available for use.
+Users can be more selective of which data Lenny can process.
Lenny also makes logging of locations more accessible. For example, a QR code may be located in an area that is difficult to reach or crowded. Users may feel more comfortable to use Lenny as an alternative.
How do we control or avoid the spread of Covid-19 is top of mind for every person on the planet today. This has been our primary goal as we kicked off this challenge, which motivated the creation of Lenny.
According to a survey we conducted on 21-22nd August 2021, we see 26.5% of respondents cross-checked bank transactions with locations of interest and 67.6% of respondents who indicated it would be useful to have a solution like Lenny, that helps automate that process. This shows there is a potential to triple our user base as we introduce Lenny to the market.
But like many businesses with a solution, we must expand to new markets, attain brand awareness and product adoption. For such businesses, the key to success is to choose the most appropriate go-to-market strategy.
Risk is a major factor to consider when entering new markets. When looking at distribution channels, we have decided to go with the Indirect Distribution Channel instead of Direct Distribution.
Given the urgency for solutions that help gather data to identify infected individuals and isolate those who might be infected; as an initial phase, we would like to leverage existing partners such as retail banks and the Australian/New Zealand Government to access our user base before expanding further.
From the Bank of New Zealand 2020 Annual Report, more than 75% of the customers are digitally active and engaged. While in Australia, the ANZ app is helping 3.2 million customers stay on top of their day-to-day banking.
Above are examples of the scale of our potential user base that have already been established through major banks. Therefore, it is most appropriate for us to partner with these financial services and in return, offer them additional capability to enhance customer experience in the current competitive environment.
To drive further reach across the population, we will look at partnering with the Ministry of Health of New Zealand and Australian Department of Health.
As citizens are looking towards the government for guidance, this is the perfect opportunity to raise awareness and increase uptake for Lenny. Stating clearly that Lenny is not a replacement for the Covid Trace App but rather a perfect fallback option for those who may not have been actively scanning - a proven complacency in the world of post-Covid.
Lenny utilises multiple datasets to enhance the user experience of location logging. Done by focusing on shortening the time to complete contact tracing by making it easier for users to report accurate location data in a timely manner.
COVID locations of interests are sourced from CRISPER (COVID-19 Real-time Information System for Preparedness and Epidemic Response). The use of real-time streaming for locations of interests is crucial for optimising the accuracy and timeliness of checking whether users may have been exposed to COVID.
Akahu is New Zealand’s open finance platform. Lenny uses Akahu to extract the locations of the user’s bank transactions in the last 14 days.
GLN Hashed Exposure Events
To allow the use of our solution in the case you haven't purchased anything at a location, we've reversed the GLN hashes published as part of Current Exposure Event locations for NZ Covid Tracer App. That allowed us to build a database of Global Location Numbers of Locations of Interest, and generate QR codes which users can scan into their NZ Covid Tracer app after the fact. We have evaluated the threat model for the hash reversal and deemed there's no risk in publicly disclosing the GLNs of those locations, since you can manually traverse those locations by physically travelling there. We hope that in the future, GLNs for all the NZ Covid Tracer QR code locations will be disclosed.
We use the Mapbox API to map all potential exposure sites based on payments a user has made at that location, and whether the business was a recently listed COVID-19 site. The overlapping data allows us to present the user with a visual representation of their movement.