How Effective is an ENS?
One infection can be averted for every one to two users of the system.
In combination with other non-pharmaceutical measures like social distancing, an ENS can be a powerful tool to help stop the spread of infection. According to research published by a team at Oxford University, an ENS can be effective at any level of uptake with a general rule that one infection can be averted for every one to two users of the system.
While an ENS has a positive effect even at low levels of adoption, the more people who participate the more effective an ENS becomes. In fact, the same research estimated that even if an ENS was the only method being used to contain the virus, an adoption level of approximately 60% could completely stop the spread of COVID-19. When deployment of an ENS is combined with other measures, such as wearing masks and practicing social distancing, as is typically the case, the adoption level required to stop the spread is much lower.
Bluetooth ENS Interoperability
A reliable, interoperable ENS that expands coverage to all population groups is an essential element of any safe-return solution. Recognizing the need for expanding existing smartphone-based ENS, more than 130 Bluetooth® member companies have joined the Bluetooth SIG Exposure Notification Working Group (ENWG) to define a standardized method for adding support for wearable devices while preserving the same privacy and security protections of the ENS. The ENWG is open to all Bluetooth SIG member companies and serves as a centralized forum for discussion on the effective use of Bluetooth technology in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
“It is incredibly inspiring to see the Bluetooth community’s collaboration in finding and creating innovative ways to leverage Bluetooth technology to address the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mark Powell, CEO of the Bluetooth SIG. “We are grateful for the dedication and commitment of the Bluetooth members and proud of their work on this important effort.”
Additionally, the standardization that Bluetooth® technology provides is critical to ensuring that wearables created by different manufacturers will not only work with all existing smartphone technology but will also be compatible with and able to communicate with one another.
“Bluetooth® technology is the best solution available today for contact tracing and other safe-return solutions. It is reliable, easy to deploy, data privacy friendly, and available on 100% of smartphones worldwide. It is no wonder Apple and Google also chose Bluetooth technology for their contact tracing API, and we fully agree.”
– Ege Akpinar, Pointr
Moving Forward on the Path to Recovery
Technology is one of many critical tools needed to stop this pandemic, and it is a key factor in executing a safe reopening. A reliable, easy-to-deploy ENS is an especially important part of any safe-return strategy, and by providing a solution for key population groups that are currently unaccounted for, we can enable a higher level of exposure notification participation. This is paramount. The more people who can participate, the more effective the solution will be, and the sooner we can make significant steps toward global recovery.
An initial draft of the ENS specification is expected to be released and available for review within the next few months. For more information on the importance of adding wearables to an ENS and to stay informed when drafts of the specification are released, visit bluetooth.com/ens.
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