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Contact Tracing Tech as a Solution to Foster Operation and Customer Security

By October 30, 2020No Comments

Summary of the Problem

According to the McKinsey Canadian consumer sentiment survey report, consumers consider masks, barriers, cleaning procedures and other COVID measures of a business when deciding where to do their in-store shopping or in-bank errands. 

As conscientious customers think through their protection, how can retailers and financial institutions rely on technology to design foolproof systems to guarantee clients’ safety and security? 

Health and Security Challenges

Health Concerns

COVID- 19 is the most pressing health challenge of the 21st century. As of the time of writing this, in Canada alone, there are over 189 387 cases with 9 664 deaths and 159 351 recoveries. Of these cases, 20 372 are active cases, with 20 700 in mild condition and 172 in critical condition.

Projections show that infection rates are bound to increase with mandate easing to over 91 000 cases and over 32 000 cases without mandate easing by February 2021. Notably, governments embrace mandate easing due to the economic and social impact of COVID control measures such as limiting movements and social distancing.

As frustration over the pandemic increases, several careless or bad actors have taken steps to avoid the government-mandated measures. Bad actors with COVID-19 (knowingly or unknowingly) could significantly impact the operation of a business.

Unscrupulous Competition

On the other hand, business competition can take a dark turn. A business can find itself in a situation where your competitors can not beat you on strategy, quality and business model. Covid-19 out-break can sabotage a business process, tools of work or harm your reputation. 

Theft and Robbery 

All forms of businesses are vulnerable to theft, burglary and robbery incidents. Commercial spaces such as malls, retail stores, restaurants are more susceptible to crime than other forms of businesses. COVID crime trends indicate an over 100% increase in crime, especially break- in major cities in Canada as compared to last year. 

Scenarios Based on the Identified Challenges 

Scenario 1 – Bank Customer Super Spreader

Currently, Canadian banks have implemented internal rules prohibiting staff from visiting more than one branch or office, but they haven’t had any way of enforcing the same for the public. This rule has been implemented to ensure that if an infected staff visits a branch, then only one branch is impacted and not multiple branches.

This rule hasn’t been extended to customers because there is no way to enforce it. Currently, the staff asks customers on entrance if they have any symptoms and generally asks them to use the hand sanitizer and ensure they are wearing a face covering.  A bank app can be updated to track a customer’s location using geolocation services on the phone. There are limitations to using a feature like (feature can only run while the app is in use and requires the customer’s consent).

A carless customer happens to be an asymptomatic carrier of Covid-19 and visits multiple branches within an area. Imagine the impact of exposing your customers and how such a person endangers your staff and clients’ lives. Imagine the possible loss of lives, reputation and revenue from having employees in multiple branches in quarantine or sick.

Scenario 2 – Competitor Dirty Tricks

It’s known that establishing customer habits like a daily coffee pick-up point is expensive but also rewarding. The customer’s routine is based on a ritual of experience and taste. If a negative connotation is associated with their favourite brand, for instance, then it will impact their practice, and the customer will look for other experiences to replace it.

A disgruntled customer/employee can infect staff or employees of a competitor or branch. The business impact caused by the news coverage in a particular area could have a prolonged effect on sales and customer trust in the brand.

Scenario 3 – Theft and Robbery Systems

A robbery has occurred, and it is hard to identify the perpetrator since they were wearing a mask. Further, the camera surveillance recording is limited to image resolution and doesn’t capture the perpetrator’s image. 

Shortcomings of Existing Solutions

Presently, the solutions for enforcing contact tracing is based on installation of app by willing participants on their phones (e.g. as of this writing the government of Canada’s Covid Contact Tracing app has only had about 7.6% install rate). This approach is focused on getting people to quarantine after the exposure and doesn’t allow for any enforcement (e.g. alert if person visits multiple locations). App based approach is further limited since there is no geolocation tracking in the app or identification of when they might have come in contact with the a patient. The contact tracing solutions doesn’t allow for near real time look and alerting capability.

To protect customers, employees and business a requirement can be implemented after an understanding of movements between locations that could expose and impact the business operation. The requirement to limit visits of clients to limited location can be unequivocally communicated to clients, perhaps owing to a lack of enforcement mechanisms (until now).

Most businesses use surveillance cameras and alarm systems to protect against theft and heavy-duty doors. But well-equipped individuals bent on achieving their criminal goals can override and overwhelm these security features. 

Furthermore, camera technologies are also prone to mistakes, and facial recognition is known for making racial mistakes. It is even harder to identify people wearing masks  for analysis or at the time of the crime to record witness testimony that might be material to the criminal’s prosecution. 

Description of Ideal Solution

So, what does an ideal solution look like? A viable system should have the following components – 

  •  It should have the ability to extract and record information of the people within multiple facilities (e.g. several branches of the same bank) and store the data in a central database.
  • The system should have the capacity to read its data and cross-check it according to predetermined rules and instructions. 
  • Have the capacity to send out an alert when a particular set of conditions have been met. 
  • Be free from any form of built-in bias and not prone to error.
  • Maintain the dignity and privacy of individuals in the process of collecting data. 
  • Quick implementation and seamless to the existing operation

The Solution

LenzVU A Shoppers Health Safety, Security Monitoring and Analytics Device

Having in mind the COVID bad actors and security challenges, Tribute Kiosk designed the LenzVU. LenzVU presents an anonymous view of people visiting bank branches and retail chain stores and correlates the data in real-time to alert if a person is detected as having visited multiple locations. 

Tribute Kiosk’s LenzVU with accuracy identifies and records anonymous cellphone’s hardware ID at a distance without any bias. LenzVU enables you to correlate the data to identify other locations within your organization that the device was also present.

Tribute Kiosk’s LenzVU detects all the customers’ visitors to a branch, mall, store etc. If the device detects a customer from one of your branches or stores at a second facility, an alert is sent. 

LenzVU tracks the cellphone signals and associates it with a unique cellphone hardware ID. Cellphones generally require users to unlock them with biometrics like fingerprint or face recognition, allowing a cellphone to identify a person (in case of prosecution).

Taking images or pictures of customers would pose a privacy concern, but a unique hardware ID provides an anonymous way to ensure customers’ privacy.

Further, Tribute Kiosk’s LenzVU has a feature that allows businesses to register employee’s devices in the system with ease. With the record of employee devices, businesses expecting known traffic can even receive an alert when unknown devices enter a restricted area. Businesses use this feature to protect themselves from unauthorized visitors or security breaches. 

LenzVU can further provide an insight into how many devices were present at the time of the crime. Such information again enables authorities to assess potential witnesses that they can contact.                                          

Product Brief


With LenzVU, you’re able to understand your customers better and protect your business operations.

Network protocols like WIFI or Bluetooth require the devices to broadcast their presence to establish a connection. To protect users’ privacy, cellphone manufacturers have methods to broadcast fake hardware addresses instead. 

Our lenses (sensors) allow for the hardware ID to be identified anonymously. The Tribute Kiosk lenses also approximate the distance of the cellphone from the sensor. Having multiple lenses at a location allows for the triangulation of the cellphone to an area.

Our data mining engine actively correlates the data from multiple locations, and in near real-time, alerts are sent out based on the rules set.

Suppose a business wishes to provide a facility for staff or customers to register their devices; LenzVU has a setting that allows the hardware information of a cellphone to be registered. This is done by through a configuration on your dashboard. Your lens at your location would then provide an SSID that allows for customers, employees or visitors to connect to it and enter their name, phone and email address to register. The lens securely stores the device id to the information provided. 

Data in the LenzVU system is stored with industries best  and can only be accessed by administrators you appoint. The device empowers your team to draw strategic insights from customers’ behaviour in your physical space, such as the shopping floor, bank hall, among others. As a retailer, you will be able to make evidence-based decisions based on the analytics from your LenzVU.

Usage Approaches

You can integrate LenzVU into your workflows and use it in many ways. Here are two examples.

  1. Many organizations learn how to respond to security incidents only after suffering an attack. To reduce costs and damage, it’s essential to have an incident response plan in place before an attack occurs. 

You can use LenzVU during the detect, assess, and diagnose stages. Here are examples of how LenzVU can be useful during the three initial incident response stages:

  • Detect. Review the first indication of an event investigation. For example, you can use the Security Center dashboard to review the initial verification that a high-priority security alert was raised.
  • Assess. Perform the initial assessment to obtain more information about the suspicious activity. For example, get more information about the security alert.
  • Diagnose. Conduct a technical investigation and identify containment, mitigation, and workaround strategies. For example, follow the remediation steps described by the Security Center in that particular security alert.
  1. Use LenzVU recommendations to enhance security.

You can reduce the chances of a significant security event by configuring a policy and then implementing the recommendations provided by LenzVU.

  • An alert policy defines the set of controls that are recommended for location within your organization. In LenzVU, you define alerts according to your company’s security requirements.
  • LenzVU analyzes the security state of your locations. When LenzVU identifies potential security vulnerabilities, it creates recommendations based on the security models’ controls. 

An organization needs to define the minimum acceptable levels of security goals. Defining these expectations early helps a team understand the risks associated with security goals, identify and create policies. Setting a meaningful security bar involves clearly defining the severity thresholds of security incidents and helps to establish a plan of action when incidents are encountered. For example, all known alert incidents with a “critical” or “important” severity rating must be logged and reviewed with a specified time frame.

To track key performance indicators (KPIs) and ensure security tasks are completed, incidents should be clearly labelled as security and marked with their appropriate security severity. This tracking allows for accurate monitoring and reporting of incidents.

Establishments can use threat modelling in environments where there is a significant security risk. As a practice, it allows teams to consider, document, and discuss the security implications of incidents in the context of their planned operational environment and in a structured fashion. Applying a structured approach to threat scenarios helps a team more effectively and less expensively determine risks and establish appropriate mitigations. 

Benefits of LenzVU

LenzVU is a simple, elegant, and lightweight in-store solution that allows you to –

  1. Provide a Safe Shopping Experience for Your Consumers

  • Have a central anonymized consumer data storage where the data from all the stores in your chain is stored.
  • Assign the number of stores individual shoppers, in your network can visit as a COVID preventive measure.
    •  Receive an alert when customers who have exceeded your limit enter a chain store.
  • Extract de-anonymized consumer data for health and security reasons such as a crime or COVID contact tracing.

          2.  Gather Shoppers/Consumer Analytics for Strategic Business Decisions

  • Understand high and low traffic moments in your stores
  • Document the number of people visiting your stores against your sale records to get the rate of conversion.
  • The volume of traffic in and out of your store
  • Get the average time spent per shopper in any of your locations.
  • Busy and Slow periods within your store

How it Works

Our simple SaaS based solution is easy to implement.

Step 1: Setup your company profile

Work with Tribute Kiosk technicians to ensure that the LenzVU device is set up in all your store locations.

Step 2: Ship the lenses to your address

Tribute Kiosk can also train your technical team and work with them to jointly set up monitoring parameters suitable for the nature of your business for – 

  • Analytics and Reports

Customize the dashboard according to the metrics and dimensions relevant to your business. 

  • Safety and Security Monitoring

Our technician can also assist in installation and configuration of the lenses and provide onsite support. Tribute Kiosks LenzVU collects the hardware ID of a mobile phone user who enters your retail store.

Please contact us to review and discuss the solution.