Visitorbay was an Edmonton tech start-up with a simple mission: to replace the logbooks you’d find at the reception areas of offices, which were often filled with illegible signatures and contact info.
It was a smart, yet somewhat unexciting technology. Put it in the “mostly harmless” category.
But, when offices went on lockdown in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, VisitorBay co-founders Brett Carrier and Ricardo Casanova found that their product could do a lot more than be a simple replacement for the logbook. It could help office administrators track who was coming in and out of the offices, do COVID-19 screening, and it would also save records, in case there was a need for health officials to contact trace.
“We adapted, and we began to refocus on the COVID situation,” says Casanova.
The app went from being piloted in a couple of Edmonton office towers, to being used in a variety of settings.
“There has been lots of interest from various offices, and from clinics and care homes, as well,” says Casanova.
Not only does the app track who comes in and out of the office, it has an emergency mode. If the office needs to be evacuated ASAP, it sends the info of who is in the facility to the administrator, so it’s basically a virtual roll call.
When a visitor arrives at the office, the app brings up a questionnaire — many businesses are using the basic Alberta Health Services COVID-19 form. Once it’s filled out, it notifies the host that someone is waiting.
“It eliminates the awkward interactions that can happen at the front desk,” says Casanova.
As COVID numbers rise in Alberta, I think the province should …
14%A) Keep with its current plan of action
38%B) Institute a "short, sharp" two week lockdown
48%C) Institute a lockdown that remains in place till there's a significant lowering in the number of new cases