New Zealand businesses already using COVID-19 contact tracing apps

As we prepare to return to shopping malls, the hairdresser, and our favourite restaurant, the Government is still considering its options around contact tracing technology.

But some Kiwi businesses aren't waiting and they're already adopting a range of digital solutions if COVID-19 cases pop up.

It's a digital sign-in at Fletcher Building's residential sites. Thousands of staff across New Zealand are checking in and out of work using a mobile app.

"In the most basic sense, contact tracing, especially for businesses, is not all that hard," says Putti Apps CEO Bruce Howe.

"Really you've just got to keep a track of people coming and going from your premises."

The Team Safe app allows health and safety reporting and access to digital forms keeping connected with the workforce by smartphone.

There's another app called Rippl, developed by Wellington-based tech company PaperKite, which is ready for use at businesses including bars and restaurants. It can be used at multiple venues, customers can quickly check-in and it's anonymous with the focus on personal privacy.

"Scan a QR code at that premises, and it gets logged in your phone as an event. But there's no private details captured. You don't have to fill out any forms, digitally or otherwise," PaperKite client success director Antony Dixon says.

That prevents situations like the Subway worker who used a customer's details for inappropriate personal contact.

Wellington City Council is rolling out Rippl across its sites, and offering three-month licenses to local businesses and organisations.

Australia already has a nationwide tracking app. The New Zealand Government is still considering a range of solutions, including QR codes.

"And then they're the ones holding that data. So if they become positive with COVID, then actually it's through then that we access that information, rather than the other way around," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.

Ensuring keeping us safe doesn't come at the expense of our privacy.