Breadcrumbs

University of Waikato shows how large organisations can tackle contact tracing

29 May 2020

University of Waikato
University has stepped up amid contact tracing pressures.

While many businesses across the Waikato have adopted some form of contact tracing as part of Alert Level 2 guidelines, one of the region’s largest organisations has stepped up to the challenge, developing a solution that has spurred interest from other organisations looking to adopt a similar approach.

The University of Waikato, home to more than 1,400 employees and more than 10,000 students, has created a contact tracing initiative called ‘Check in before you step in’, which has been implemented in more than 4,000 individual locations across both its Hamilton and Tauranga campuses.

Using QR codes, staff and students have been able to check into all buildings on campus by scanning the codes on their phones as if taking an image.

Chief Information Officer for the University, Eion Hall, says while QR codes have proven to be a popular solution for contact tracing, the level of work and implementation required for a large organisation like the University is a huge logistical feat.

“The project was really challenging in that we were all grappling with what alert level two would look like, for the country as well as for the University, and trying to develop a solution that could flex in response to changing requirements within incredibly constrained time frames,” he says.

Eion Hall
University of Waikato Chief Information Officer, Eion Hall.

“Layered on top of the technical solution was the complexity of defining our trackable spaces on campus, and establishing appropriate privacy and security protocols to manage the information we would be collecting from staff, students and visitors to assist with contact tracing if the need arose.”

Mr Hall says the University made a conscious decision early in the project to design a system where users ‘opted in’ and controlled when they provided information, and what information they shared.

While staff and students are still making a gradual return to campus, Mr Hall says the ‘check in’ system will help the University do their bit in keeping people safe on campus.

“It’s a Government requirement for all tertiary providers to have a contact tracing process in place through the different alert levels. ‘Check in before you step in’ is a great way for us to do our part and keep everyone as safe as possible.

“Our outcome was only possible through extensive effort and deep collaboration between the Information Technology team and other parts of the University, such as Property Services, Communications and Marketing, as well as our external technology and print partners such as Datacom and Gravitas.”

To kick-start the campaign, the University released an informational video featuring Waikato Students’ Union President, Kyla Campbell-Kamariera, and a Border Collie named Ella – Junior Advisor to the Vice-Chancellor Professor Neil Quigley.

Ella, Professor Quigley’s dog, has gained popularity among staff and students during Covid-19, having featured regularly in the University’s communications to staff and students.

Organisations wishing to know more about ‘Check in before you step in’ are welcome to contact the University of Waikato at [email protected].


Latest stories

Related stories

New Tauranga aquaculture facility set to harness seaweed's potential

A brand-new aquaculture facility is now operating in Tauranga thanks to a $13 million algal…

University of Waikato marine scientist awarded women’s global fellowship in climate change

Dr Shari Gallop, a marine environmental scientist and University of Waikato Senior Lecturer based in…

ChemQuest winners

Chemistry knowledge put to the test

Students from Tauranga Boys’ College took out the top prize at the University of Waikato’s…

Discover AI and help shape New Zealand's future

Do you ever wonder how Siri or Alexa pull information from the web, turn on…

Tauranga academic appointed to prestigious taskforce

Associate Professor Taciano Milfont from the University of Waikato's Te Kura Whatu Oho Mauri School…

Info Evening encourages more social work students to become sought-after graduates

With added pressure on social services in the wake of the Covid-19 disruption, the sector…

Kīngitanga Day celebrations go virtual

The University of Waikato commemorated its special relationship with the Kīngitanga in a new way…

Waitaha/Waikato Scholarship sets Shayla up for success

Former Te Puke High School head girl and 2020 Waitaha-A-Hei/University of Waikato Scholarship recipient, Shayla…

“Don’t sit on the sidelines” urges former Mount Maunganui College head girl

Former Mount Maunganui College head girl, Ella Carlsen, received a University of Waikato Pacific Excellence…

It’s Armageddon for University Esports

This weekend (25 & 26 July), the University of Waikato is keen to show esports…

Rare giant squid caught in the Bay of Plenty will assist MPI research

A giant squid caught off Whakaari/White Island, will be used by University of Waikato marine…

tga

University of Waikato Tauranga Campus wins top Australasian award

The University of Waikato Tauranga Campus scooped a top award for its innovative learning environment…