Given the rising number of coronavirus cases in the country, the contract tracing feature is a must. While there are plenty of apps addressing this issue for smartphones, including the Aarogya Setu App, there wasn't any solution for feature phones until now. Aiisma, India's consumer to business data marketplace, has designed an Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) feature for contact tracing in rural areas.
Aiisma claims that it's the only app in India to utilise the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) feature for contact tracing. This feature is for non-smartphone users who have feature phones and might not support 3G, 4G or 5G connectivity. Unlike apps installed on smartphones, feature phone users will be propagated with options, of which they can select one. This will be facilitated by their service provider.
Basic handsets too share the location information via cell towers with the telecom service provider. If the user gives consent, this feature using USSD will gain access to information and share it with Aiisma ecosystem. Available for free, currently this feature is available only in the English language but the company is working on introducing it in local languages in the next two-three weeks.
The company claims to ensure anonymity and privacy. Aiisma said that the tracking feature keeps the person's details anonymous, thus ensuring the privacy of data and identity. The anonymous feature will release a trigger function that will alert any Aiisma user who might have come into close contact with the infected person and maybe potentially infected. The aim is to create a digital fence of sorts against COVID19 and help authorities and citizens overcome it. For positive carrier identification, Aiisma is talking to the government. The company explains, "at this time symptom mapping is a feature that doesn't require specific information about positive carrier so that is operational. If symptoms are pointing to a possible infection, an alert is sent out."
Aiisma belives 70 per cent of the country's population lives in rural areas and this can be a great way of contract tracing for such areas. The company already has a contract tracing app for smartphones. Here the infrastructure in the back-end of the app and mobile remains the same, the service is accessible for feature phones.