Care homes trial
Wyld’s location tech tested for social distancing
Ian Ritchie: chairs Wyld Networks
Location technology developed for concerts, sports events and transport hubs is being tested for use in providing social distancing alerts as Britain slowly returns to work.
Wyld Networks is trialling a monitoring app with a company that promotes innovations in healthcare as a means of combating the spread of the coronavirus.
The company, whose chairman is the Scottish entrepreneur Ian Ritchie, says that if the trial in care homes in Scotland is successful it could be rolled out to offices and other places where physical contact is restricted.
The company has signed an agreement with Highland Health Ventures (HHVL) to test its mobile mesh technology to help protect residents, staff and visitors at care homes.
HHVL is an independent company that has a collaboration agreement with NHS Highland for the purpose of developing new ideas in healthcare.
The Wyld technology will provide digital access and anonymised social distance monitoring and alerting through a mobile app and a mesh wireless network of connected smartphones and IoT (Internet of Things) devices.
Cambridge-based Wyld and HHVL have already started the first project for implementation in a care home in Scotland, while the technology may also have broader applications in helping other businesses get back to work.
Statistics from the National Records of Scotland (NRS) show that more than half of the recorded coronavirus deaths in Scotland over recent weeks were in care homes. Data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) also reports that 12,526 care home residents have died due to Coronavirus in England and Wales during the four months to May.
We hope the system can be adopted more widely– Alastair Williamson, Wyld Networks
Wyld Network’s CEO, Alastair Williamson, said: “Our mesh technology was originally designed for applications such as major sporting events, music festivals, retail centres and transport hubs to deliver relevant, location-aware information.
“But it quickly became clear that our Wyld mesh could play a vital role in protecting residents, staff and visitors in care homes, hospitals and hospices.
“We hope the system created with Highland Health Ventures will provide a model that can be adopted more widely to deal with the current crisis, as well as deliver real post-COVID benefits.”
Frances Hines, research, development and innovation manager at NHS Highland, said: “Supporting innovation across the healthcare system is more important that ever and will be central to securing transformation and improved care.
“Creating the conditions for more collaborative approaches to innovation and enabling the adoption of cost-effective new technologies will be key, and we are pleased to be working together with Wyld and HHVL to deliver innovative potential solutions for care homes.
Dr David Heaney, director of HHVL, added: “HHVL was established to assist innovative companies interacting with the NHS and with our collaboration agreement with NHS Highland, we are now involved in selected projects which are introducing and deploying technology into healthcare settings.”
How it works
Wyld’s innovative mesh technology harnesses the power of people’s mobile phones without relying on connections to cellular or Wi-Fi networks.
Data simply finds the quickest and easiest route by hopping between phones to deliver notifications, alerts and other content quickly and reliably, while also accurately measuring social distancing.
The Wyld system is able to create virtual geozones around the care home and particularly sensitive or quarantined areas to control access as well as dynamic personal two-metre geozones around everyone with the app.
All staff and visitors will have to download the mobile application and input COVID-19 test results and enter any symptoms into a self-diagnostic algorithm embedded in the application to create a risk profile. Residents without a smartphone could be given electronic wristbands or similar.
Anyone approaching a geozone will be sent a message instantly to let them know if they are allowed to enter. By using Wyld’s real-time data analytics platform, care home managers will be able to contact and advise anyone who has been in close contact with someone who is tested positive with COVID-19 or develops symptoms.