Data analytics applications have practically expanded to all spectrums of individual lives. It never really fails to make our lives easy whether it’s with targeted advertising or speech/advanced image recognition. But this time it has outperformed itself and is literally saving our lives So, its success is not something we need to debate upon. Amidst the COVID-19 scare, data analytics applications are our guiding beacon. how exactly? In this blog, we’ll look into deeper and discover how the contact tracing app, Aarogya Setu app in particular works, and the mechanics that go into building it. 

Julie Swann, PhD, professor and HOD Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at North Carolina State University recently spoke about the COVID-19 scenario. She mentioned that data analytics applications will do the following: 

  1. Develop comprehensive and valuable antibody testing.
  2. Speed up vaccine development.
  3. Identify the level of immunity generated by having the virus the first time.
  4. Enhance drug development.
  5. Preventing the second wave of COVID infections.
  6. Contact tracing.
  7. Identify areas of a micro surge before the outbreak gets out of control.

Data Analytics Applications in Contact Tracing Apps

While the world tries to grapple with the reality of coronavirus, that too without a vaccine, our only hope lies in taking precautions. Social distancing and self-isolation are our safest bets for the time being. And thus, the government is trying its best to enforce that. Contact tracing apps are an attempt in the same direction. 

What are Contact Tracing Apps? 

As the virus spreads through coming in close contact with an infected person, the solution lies in taking immediate precautions if that happens or not coming in contact in the first place. What contact-tracing apps essentially do is that they let you know if you’ve been in contact with someone who later reports as coronavirus positive. In case you’ve been in such a situation, the app instructs you to take precautions and quarantine yourself. The app aims to quickly dismantle the infection chain. 

So, if an individual test positive, a message will be sent to people who’ve been in close contact with him/her in the last 28 days based on their anonymous IDs. These people will however not know the identity of the COVID-positive individual. The entire process is elaborate and requires sound data analysis of raw data to make conclusions. That’s precisely what data analytics applications do. 

Data Analytics Applications in Arogya Setu App

If we see it clearly, data analysis is our only hope as of now. With no vaccine in sight, our only saviour is the data (information) we have of the “hotspots” (so that we stay confined/away from that area) and infected people (through geotagging so that we take precautions if we happen to come in contact with a COVID positive individual). 

Aarogya Setu app is our support system as it promotes the idea of precautions, self-isolation, and social distancing. The app banks on an active Bluetooth connection to decide whether or not you have been in close contact (6feet precisely) to a  COVID-positive individual. All the data is encrypted and the app uses data analysis to tell if you’ve been near a hotspot. 

How does Aarogya Setu App Work and What Data it Leverages to Draw Conclusions?

1. The Aarogya Setu app starts by asking your mobile number to sign you up. It then sends you a privacy notice to inform you that the app will collect and use certain data. 

2. It will then request access to your device location following which you need to switch your Bluetooth on for 120 seconds. 

3. Your Bluetooth and GPS needs to be continuously switched on for the app to work. As it needs to keep collecting your data and analyse it to draw meaningful conclusions. 

4. The app also requires additional data such as full name, gender, age, travel history of the last 30 days, and professional details.

5. Aarogya Setu also entails a self-assessment questionnaire wherein it asks: 

  • Gender and age
  • cough, fever or difficult breathing symptoms
  • diabetes, hypertension, lung/ heart disease
  • International travel over the last 14 days.
  • Questions pertaining to recent interactions with COVID-positive individuals if you are a healthcare professional and have examined a COVID-positive case without protective gear.

6. The app will then leverage the collected data and use data analytics to put the person under low risk or high-risk category.

7. The app confirms that your data will only be shared with the Government of India and will never disclose your name/number to the public at any given time. 

8. In order to draw conclusions, the app continuously collects your location data. It also keeps a record of all the places you came in contact with other app users.

9. The app suggests that the Government will only upload and use your personal information in “anonymised, aggregated datasets.” (Anonynimsed: removal of personally identifiable information from data sets). This is further utilised for COVID-19 management by generating reports, heat maps, and other statistical visualisations. 

10. Aarogya Setu app continuously seeks personal information, location details, and health data. This raised data privacy concerns. What will be shared, with whom will it shared, and what can be the potential purpose were the common questions.  All of this was mainly because the government was silent until now on the security practices of the application. A recent update, however, confirms that the app is now open source. The decision of making the source code public will aid experts to detect the vulnerabilities of the application. More and more people will be able to rely on the app as the developers can now spot issues with the code if any.

Data Analytics Applications to Combat COVID Around the World

  1. QuadMed (Sussex) recently announced leveraging data analytics to learn more about COVID-19 risk factors. For instance, to determine the segment of people who are most likely to contract the coronavirus, scientists can study the links between individuals’ age/health conditions and COVID-19.
  2. The Italian health system aims to leverage data analytics to identify complications, allocate resources, and pluck clues from medical records. It finally aims to personalise the services for each patient and predict the duration of their hospital stays. Scientists strive to utilise data analytics and enhance the effectiveness of decisions for patients. 

Data analytics applications are no longer limited to taking the world to a new technological level but are practically saving lives. And thus the right time to learn about it and leverage the opportunities it brings is right now! Here’s a resource to help you with the same – Springboard’s courses on data science, data analytics, and Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning are 1:1 mentoring-led and project-driven. The best part is they are industry focussed and comes along with a job guarantee, especially designed for technology enthusiasts, like you, to serve them with a career that matters. Apply Now!