GE launches blockchain-based ‘Wellness Trace’ app to protect airport visitors from COVID-19

General Electric Co. and the Albany International Airport announced the launch of the first blockchain-based airport-focused technology today to make air travel safer in the post-COVID-19 pandemic world by tracking cleaning in the public areas as well as passenger and employee screening.

The app will also feature the ability to rate nearby amenities, restaurants, hotels and other attractions according to pandemic safety for travelers using community-sourced information.

GE’s Aviation division launched a distributed ledger blockchain app called Wellness Trace App, available on the Apple App Store and Google Play, which the airport has been using to track COVID-19 cleaning protocols.

“The use of GE’s cutting-edge Wellness Trace App is a major first step in our joint efforts to integrate new digital solutions to create safer travel in a post-pandemic world,” said Philip Calderone, chief executive of the Albany County Airport Authority.

In the coming weeks, the airport and GE will unveil advanced artificial intelligence, machine learning and other digital technologies as part of an incubator process to aid in developing further uses of this technology to ensure customer safety.

“Being able to scan a QR code and know the last time that surface at the airport was cleaned may alleviate some of the stress and uncertainty people are feeling as they venture out and bring back a sense of confidence,” said Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy. “Any reassurance we can give people as they travel that they are doing so safely is important.”

GE Aviation officially launched its commercial Wellness Trace App in late June 2020 in partnership with TE Food International GmbH and Eurofins Scientific. This is part of farm-to-table traceability for food safety similar to other commercial supply chain tracking platforms in the marketing such as IBM Corp.’s IBM Food Trust.

Image: GE

The app, secured by blockchain technology, now provides a platform for airports and airlines the ability to track COVID-19 screening for both passengers and employees as well as a set of protocols for tracking the cleaning of objects in the airport and aboard the aircraft to ensure everything is disinfected on a regular schedule.

Albany Airport is GE’s first customer and will become the testbed for the Wellness Trace App’s blockchain-based platform and its machine learning protocols.

The app’s goal is to provide safe travel for the public and build a community similar to Waze, TripAdvisor and Yelp. The app will also offer the unique ability for the public to provide real-time feedback on the cleanliness of their accommodations. For example, if a traveler needs to take a break at a rest stop or grab a bite near the airport, they can check the Wellness Trace for the cleanest restaurants nearby, and the Wellness Trace will offer the cleanest one – and rate them by the most likely to follow COVID-19 protocols.

As a result, travelers can know they’ll be safe when they reach their hotel or receive their food.

Albany Airport initiated a three-month trial, during with its operations staff will use the Wellness Trace to track cleaning and sanitation protocols for key areas and objects around the airport. More than 45 Quick Response barcode stickers have been placed in areas and on objects throughout the airport. Using the Wellness Trace App from a mobile phone or tablet, operations staff will be able to validate the cleaning of objects by scanning each QR barcode.

“We believe the digital vision Albany International Airport is advancing is exactly the kind of template airports and airlines will need to ensure safe, healthy travel through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond,” said Andrew Coleman, general manager of GE Aviation’s Digital Group. “The App is helping them closely track COVID-19 cleaning protocols today, with the potential to track other health screening as the Industry and regulators navigate safe travel in a post-pandemic world.”

Photo: Pixabay

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