SSD - Smart Social Distancing

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Objectives of the service

Project : Smart Social Distancing

Due to the COVID-19 crisis and as part of preventive measures, organizations with buildings or campuses in which many people meet have to take special measures in order to re-open or ensure safety. New social distancing regulations force them to manage and document the number of their visitors.

The proposed Smart Social Distancing (SSD) app is a cost-efficient alternative to other entrance control solutions e.g. employing extra personnel to monitor and count people entering and leaving the facilities. By ensuring that visitors, employers, students etc. comply with the social distancing regulations, the regular works and operations can be kept up and a potential lockdown can be avoided.

Our data privacy-compliant social distancing tool for organizations allows operators to monitor compliance with social distancing regulations. It captures solely data that is required to reliably monitor visitor numbers only in specified indoor/outdoor areas by using a Galileo-based geo-fence. The tool can trigger automatic warnings when a pre-defined number of people being present in a specific area is exceeded. It also documents the captured visitor numbers and warnings in a web-based backend so that organizations can prove compliance to regulations.

Users and their needs

Key Users: Students and employees in large office buildings who need to keep social distance.

Key Customers: Larger corporate clients and educational institutions in Germany.

User Pains: Employees and students seem to have difficulties to meet the required social distancing regulations.

Customer Pains: European entities tighten the regulations regarding infection prevention which causes huge compliance challenges for companies and educational institutions. They need a solution with quick deployment that offers a high level of data privacy.

User Gains: Students and employees receive a tool that supports them with social distancing while guaranteeing data privacy.

Customer Gains: This tool allows educational institutions and companies to open up for the regular school/work life again while supporting social distancing compliance. Historical data can be used for documentation purposes to demonstrate compliance with regulations.

The initial target market is the German market with European and international market as potential markets in further steps. The platform has the potential to also be interesting for other venue types with visitors (e.g. shopping centers, museums) and in case of future outbreaks.

Service/ system concept

System Architecture: Three technical concepts are assessed. The green colour shows Technical Concept 1 (Geofence with Galileo and Bluetooth Location Tracking), the red colour shows Technical Concept 2 (Galileo and Hub Sensor) and the blue colour shows Technical Concept 3 (Smartphone-Based Collection).

As shown above, different technical concepts are evaluated in order to select the one that offers the optimal trade-off between data privacy/economy and positioning accuracy.

The protoype is adapted to the user needs and the use cases the application covers. Therefore, further features such as the geofencing and location sharing feature are developed. The tool could provide feedback about the number of people that are present in one specific area and if a defined threshold is exceeded or not. Apart from that, the web-based backend is adjusted and enriched with the required feature so the monitoring of the social distancing can be recorded historically. The focus is also on geofencing and setting up the social distancing tool.

Space Added Value

Satellite Navigation: The Galileo signal is used to create a geo-fence. This geo-fence is essential for the solution as it allows triggering data collection only in case of specific situations. Once a person crosses the geo-fence which defines an enter of the premises, the solution starts tracking the distance of this user to other users on-premise.

In technical concept 1), we integrate Galileo into the positioning algorithms for GPS/Galileo outdoor positioning. In sum, Galileo is used for data privacy and for the reliability of social distancing measurements.

Satellite Earth Observation: The map material of the outdoor maps (OSM) is partly derived from satellite pictures. We also work in the alignment of the map material we receive from the operator (e.g. CAD building plans) and we work with current satellite images. Thereby, we position the data to the correct geo-coordinates as shown on the satellite pictures since existing map material often lacks of sufficient accuracy.

Current Status

The BDR has been performed in January 2021. First activities have been performed:

  • Won first pilot partners (zoo, university, and software company)
  • Conducted interviews with potential customers to analyse user/ customer needs, constraints, service requirements, success criteria and selling points of SSD tool
  • Started to assess existing technical concepts 

Prime Contractor(s)

Status Date

Updated: 27 January 2021 - Created: 27 January 2021