Graeme Scott, chief executive and founder, Synoptic, explains the technology behind mooted COVID-19 certification. 

There’s no doubt that COVID-19 Certification is an important step to reopening venues and hospitality, however at Synoptic, we believe that more than just proof of test or vaccination status is required to effectively manage risk. We have created the Synoptic Reactivate software which uses a personal owned responsibility model where a user is in control of their data, but connected to their friends, families, companies and wider society.

Synoptic’s Reactivate software can detail whether a user has been vaccinated against COVID-19 and the length of time since this vaccination has taken place, helping determine whether an effective antibody response has yet occurred.

For businesses, Reactivate can be used to manage the COVID-status of their workforce. The app allows employees to report symptoms, order tests and record results. This enables them to notify both their employer and wider social network of any changes to their health status and, within a dedicated dashboard, managers can see the health status of their employees, teams and the wider company. This provides employers with invaluable insights – they can view which of their employees have symptoms, have taken a test, or how many days they have left in isolation.

Reactivate is also designed to enable large events and gatherings to continue in a covid secure way, creating and building upon existing covid certification processes. We have created software which can securely connect a registered attendee database with NHS test and trace infrastructure. This means that a network of contacts – for example fans sat in a particular area of the stadium or staff working in the same location – associated with a positive case can be immediately and automatically notified via the app or a text message, and tests sent to their home addresses.

For businesses such as hospitality and events, COVID-19 certification can play an important role in the unlocking process. However, to be successful, any scheme needs to do more than simply display a negative result and/or vaccination status. Should just one person with an infection slip through the net; contract COVID-19 post vaccination; or become infected after a test has been logged, the shortcomings of a basic certification scheme become clear. To minimise the risk of spread resulting from hospitality or events venues, we need to combine covid certification with a more comprehensive system that maps out and analyses risk, helping informed decision making.

This is where Synoptic comes in. Our Reactivate software ensures that in addition to COVID-19 certification on entry to an event, workspace or hospitality venue, infection risk is being monitored during and after the event. Using Bluetooth technology our software manages the visibility of risk by connecting all staff and attendees and provides critical insights in real time. This means that those who may have been exposed to COVID-19 can be notified and advised to isolate until they have received a negative test result.

The personal owned responsibility model we employ is crucial to this, by empowering the user to manage their data, more like one does in a social networking app, it provides the unique ability to have a user-consent driven input which allows organisations to effectively manage risk while ensuring all Government reporting requirements are met.

In creating a COVID-19 certification scheme, we also need to be cognisant of the administrative burden placed on businesses and venues, many of whom will have struggled financially due to the effects of lockdown. Our Reactivate software directly addresses these administrative burdens, providing the user with a management dashboard that can not only enable analysis of certification, but also provide a clear and real-time overview that enables swift decision making. In feedback from our pilot scheme with schools across Cambridgeshire, Headteachers reported that the Reactivate app significantly cut administrative burden and we believe this will be critical for any enhanced certification scheme. The reality is that many businesses lack the expertise or the administrative capacity to analyse significant amounts of COVID-19 data and Reactivate helps to significantly ease that burden.

We believe that by utilising Synoptic’s enhanced risk-management approach, we can avoid the limitations of a basic certification-only scheme, ensuring that businesses, hospitality venues and events can successfully resume operations as we continue on the roadmap out of lockdown.