Woolworths trials voluntary contact tracing at 12 supermarkets

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Woolworths trials voluntary contact tracing at 12 supermarkets

Also expands pre-booking app use.

Woolworths is trialling voluntary contact tracing at 11 supermarkets in Victoria and one in NSW using QR codes that customers scan with their smartphones upon entry.

The trial, which Woolworths is calling the QR code contact tracing initiative, means customers can scan a QR code at the entrance to check in and register their contact details.

"After scanning the QR code, the customer is taken to a simple form to enter their name, phone number and email (optional)," a Woolworths spokesperson told iTnews.

"The form is securely hosted on the cloud, the information is protected and resides in Australia at all times."

Woolworths said that all details entered by customers “will be encrypted, securely stored and only used to let customers know about a confirmed case in the store or to notify relevant health authorities and their nominated agencies for the purpose of contact tracing.”

“While checking in and sharing contact details will be voluntary for our customers, we encourage shoppers to make use of it in our trial stores,” Woolworths Supermarkets general manager for Victoria Andrew Hall said in a statement.

“Contact tracing is an essential step in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and we want to do our bit to support the broader public health effort.”

The 12 Woolworths stores participating in the QR code contact tracing trial are Tarneit Gardens, Williams Landing, Hogans Corner, Altona North, Hoppers Crossing, Williamstown, Point Cook Town Centre, Featherbrook, Sunshine Market Place, Braybrook and Millers Junction (Altona North).

The lone store trialling the technology in Sydney is the Woolworths Metro store in Surry Hills.

iTnews was seeking more information on the IT systems that support the contact tracing capability, data collection and storage at the time of publication.

The retailer also said that a separate trial of technology that can be used by customers to pre-book an arrival slot to enter a store is now being expanded.

iTnews reported mid last month that Woolworths was using technology repurposed from the smart parking industry to let customers know about wait times to enter stores, as well as allow customers to beat the queue by pre-booking their intended arrival time.

Hall said more than 35,000 customers had made use of the Q-Tracker since trials started a short time ago at its Taylors Lakes, Hampton Park, South Melbourne and St Helena stores.

Most of these uses appeared to be to check queue lengths and wait times to enter stores, though Hall said “hundreds have booked in shopping times at our trial stores.”

“Based on the positive feedback from customers, we’ve expanded the booking function to a further 40 Melbourne stores,” Hall said.

“We’ll continue to look for new and innovative ways to build on our existing COVIDSafe protocols and procedures to ensure they’re as robust as they can be.”

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