Q&A: NearForm CCO Larry Breen on contacting-tracing apps

Contact-tracing apps have long been touted as the key to getting coronavirus infection rates under control – and remote workers safely back to the office. But few of the apps have been successful so far. NearForm's Larry Breen explained the challenges of getting to success.

COVID-19 contact tracing app
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Since the outbreak of COVID-19, governments around the world have highlighted the importance of contact-tracing apps to monitor infection levels, let people know when they may have been exposed and as a pre-cursor to a safe return to the office.

However, getting a contact-tracing app right is not easy – just look at the British government’s lengthy (and expensive) failed first attempt to launch an app in England as evidence. From privacy concerns to issues around centralized vs decentralized models, there have been few countries to release an app that was both successful and had widespread adoption.

One company that's been working to build functioning contact-tracing apps is NearForm, which has offices in Dublin, London and New York City and says it's in the “accelerated solution delivery business." While the nine-year-old company has previously worked with heavy hitters such as Netflix, Uber, Walmart and IKEA, it recently turned its attention to working with governments and health services to develop apps for nation-wide track and trace programs.

NearForm CCO Larry Breen LinkedIn

NearFormChief Commercial Officer Larry Breen.

On Sept. 10, Scotland launched its NearForm-built "Protect Scotland’ app," which saw 600,000 downloads over a 24 hour period. (That number now stands at over 1 million.) NearForm has seen similar levels of success in other countries its worked with; around half the population of Gibraltar has downloaded its "BEAT Covid Gibraltar" app since it launched June 18 and the Republic of Ireland saw over a million downloads of its contact tracing app within two days of its July 7 launch.

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