Covid-19InterviewWRLD3D and SmartCitti Launch Social Distancing App ‘SafeDistance’: Interview

WRLD3D and SMARTCITTI, two leading innovators in the 3D digital visualisation and smart workplace solutions space, have joined forces to launch the social distancing navigation app – SafeDistance.  The app has been specifically designed to meet the needs of people re-entering places of work or education, whilst ensuring that organisations can operate as smoothly as possible, as they navigate through the ‘new normal.’ To learn more, we conducted an interview with the innovators.

1. Can you tell us more about the SafeDistance app?

 SafeDistance is a solution to help organisations and their employees, visitors and contractors return safely to the workplace as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are lifted.

SmartCitti wanted to provide the technology to help organisations work together, to acclimatise quickly and safely – Being able to visualise what is happening around you in a 3D digital twin of the real world means that people can navigate the workplace safely, while adhering to social distancing guidelines.

The SafeDistance Navigation app is designed to be a seamless digital office navigation and planning tool for the post-lockdown workplace. Being able to visualise and anticipate what is happening within an office using a 3D digital twin of the real world means that people can navigate the workplace easily and safely while adhering to social distancing measures.

SafeDistance is a robust tool with 4 key features, including the ‘Indoor Navigation’ tool which guides employees and visitors along the safest route(s) within an office by way of real-time analysis of the environment. The app also includes a live desk allocation tool which also uses 3D digital twinning technology. It helps organisations arrange desks and workstations in compliance with the 2-metre social distancing guideline and other important hygiene guidelines such as regular sanitisation of work areas. The desk allocation feature will prompt regular cleaning checks and will rotate assigned desks periodically to allow for cleaning to be carried out.

The remaining 2 key features of SafeDistance are designed to encourage interaction among employees while also supporting employee wellbeing. The first is ‘Happy to Help’ which lets employees discreetly request help and assist each other. The second is a simple mood selector which employees can use to share their feelings while at work. We recognize that how employees feel while at work is a very useful way to assess the effects of workplace policies especially at a time when there have been so many far-reaching changes to how we work. So, this mood selector can help organisations understand the morale of their employees and take necessary steps at the right time to improve things if necessary.

2. Why did you launch SafeDistance?

We launched SafeDistance as a response to the current pandemic affecting the World. However, it isn’t the main driver behind SmartCitti’s platform. SmartCitti operates at the cutting-edge of digital twin technology and we have our sights set on enabling people to interact and communicate in a safer, smarter & happier environment.

Our ultimate goal at SmartCitti is to help people and communities become happier, and we aim to do this by creating tools that build, nurture and protect communities, while also empowering individuals through information, opportunities and access.

We believe SafeDistance aligns with our goal as its aim is to put people’s minds at ease by helping them feel more comfortable in their offices as they return to work after the lockdown.

3. How can SafeDistance help ensure employee safety while moving around?

 SafeDistance uses indoor navigation to provide real-time environmental analysis, ensuring employees and visitors can be guided around the building and shown the safest route to take.

SafeDistance will alert users if they break the 2m social distance guidelines, which is a valuable feature within a work environment and can help alleviate the need for uncomfortable conversions between colleagues as to whether or not they are standing too close and breaking one another’s personal boundaries.

SafeDistance can also be used to monitor the cleanliness of the office environment, including communal areas such as the bathrooms.

4. How can SafeDistance help business leaders in providing a safe re-entry to the workplace after a lockdown?

An effective and productive workforce needs to feel relaxed and secure in their work environment, by adopting the SafeDistance app business leaders are sending a message to their employees that they support a fully managed back to work programme.

Safe Distance also provides employee’s with an emotional review platform giving them a means to communicate any issues or anxieties they may have about the current situation and workplace environment. Information around employee wellbeing will be invaluable as organisations transition staff back into the workplace, and allow business leaders to quickly highlight and tackle problems.

5. How can SafeDistance support employee mental health and wellbeing?

SafeDistance encourages users to record how they are feeling, using a simple mood selector. This helps organisations to understand the morale of their employees and take steps to improve it at this stressful time – it also encourages employees to be mindful of others. Being able to visualise this emotional data in real time, associated to an accurate location can deliver useful insights as to problem areas so that these can be tackled quickly, helping to reduce anxiety.

6. What training is provided for organizations willing to use the SafeDistance app in order to ensure that the product is used correctly and effectively?

As part of the solution, SmartCitti would engage with the client and assess their training requirements based on the profile and size of organisation.

7. Where do you see SafeDistance in the next 5-years?

We see SafeDistance becoming a key component of an organisation’s business continuity and risk mitigation strategies.

The functionality at the heart of SafeDistance will continue to evolve and add value as part of a wider Smart Office and Smart Building solution; some of the core features are already present in SmartCitti’s standard offerings, such as being able to navigate within a building, using sensors to monitor your environment, being able to book meeting rooms and allocate desks.

SmartCitti sees a world where people’s wellbeing will find its way to the top of the agenda, where IoT solutions and trillions of sensors generate huge amounts of data creating an unprecedented opportunity for organisations and individuals, as well as potential risks associated with user privacy and data protection.

SmartCitti will always put people first. We are not blind to these risks and have policies and strategies in place to protect the best interest of our users. The data boon from the trillion-sensor economy will help us better understand the problems we face in the world today. SmartCitti aims to create ever more targeted and customized solutions for individuals and organisations based on insights derived from this data using advanced machine learning and AI algorithms. The solutions we will develop will use AI to empower users to navigate the world of smart things and give them access to smart technologies whilst always protecting their rights and data.

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