COVID-19: TN tracks home quarantine movements via app

Coronavirus: TN tracks movements of home quarantine people through a mobile app

The mobile application, a brainchild of engineer-turned-IPS officer Rohith Nandan, was developed by Pixxon Ai Solutions Pvt Ltd in just about 48 hours.

To curb incidents of those under home quarantine violating established guidelines, the Tamil Nadu Government has launched a mobile application to track the movements of more than 15,000 people who have been advised to lock themselves up in their respective homes.

The mobile application, a brainchild of engineer-turned-IPS officer Rohith Nandan, was developed by Pixxon Ai Solutions Pvt Ltd in just about 48 hours. All those under home quarantine will receive an SMS from the government to download the app available on Android Play Store and need to install it by validating their mobile number.

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The launch comes on the heels of police booking four people, including a father-son duo, under various sections of IPC for violating home quarantine rules. As per data released by Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday, 15,492 people are under home quarantine.

Rohith Nandan, currently the Superintendent of Police in Sivaganga district, told DH that the app will allow officials to keep a tab on those who are under home quarantine after having returned from abroad.

“Most people are law-abiding citizens and they follow the rules. When incidents of people escaping quarantine caught my attention, I decided that an app needs to be designed to monitor those under home quarantine. Once they download the app, they will be geo-fenced and their movements can be monitored,” he said.

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If those using the app move 500 metres or 1 km from their location, the control room will get an alert and the person concerned will immediately be contacted. “They will be asked whether there is any change in their symptoms and whether they needed medical attention. They will also be advised not to step out of their homes,” Nandan said.

Explaining the functioning of the app, T Muthu Kumar, Chief Technology Officer, Pixxon AI Solution, said the app will use GPS to track the movements of those under home quarantine. Amazon Web Services helped the company by providing the server required for the purpose.

“Though it is available on Google Play Store, the app can be used only be those enlisted by the government for home quarantine. Those eligible will be able to register using their mobile number which is already stored in our database. The app will track the movement of each person under home quarantine every 15 minutes and will send their location details,” Muthu Kumar told DH.

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Since the database has all details about the persons recommended for home quarantine, police can knock at their doors and ask them to download the app and register themselves if they don’t do it on their own in a few hours of receiving the SMS, Kumar added.

Namachivayam, Head of Technology at Pixxon AI Solution, said the app has been designed in just 48 hours. “The app will also allow the users to update about their health status so that health care providers can take a call on their health. But the primary purpose of the app is to ensure that those under home quarantine don’t step out,” Namachivayam said.