Webfox director and developer James Simmonds is urging thousands of businesses across the country who are using his free Covid Register to make a donation to help with ongoing development costs.

The Napier contact tracing and visitor logging solution now getting about 50,000 check-ins a day entered the market ahead of the Government’s Covid Tracer app, finding favour with Auckland’s Skytower, Te Papa in Wellington, restaurants, churches and sports clubs.

However Simmonds says there’s been significant confusion since the Ministry of Health entered the market with its Covid Tracer app because it only works with QR-codes based on the New Zealand business number.

Webfox has received hundreds of emails and calls from entertainment venues, churches, organisers of sports, construction companies and businesses who want a more location-based system to keep track of those who enter and leave.

To date only 10,000 of 800,000 eligible business have adopted the Government’s Covid Tracer with 450,000 people downloading it and only around 30,000 using it more than once to scan official QR codes.

It’s simply a diary and a scanner, only reading the official business number generated QR-codes, and not intended to replace existing contact tracing processes. Attempts are being made to integrate with other contact tracing solutions.

James Simmonds and his wife came up with the idea for their Covid Register QR scanner and app while at a restaurant prior to Level 4 lockdown when they observed a clip board and pen being passed around to record personal details for compliance.

This was a health risk in itself and clearly a way of contact tracing, so Webfox set out to provide location-based contactless records as a free public service which has found its niche wherever there are check-in desks.

To date several hundred thousand users have registered for the locally-produced app.

If anyone is found to have been infected by Covid-19 who may have been in any of those locations the data collected can be exported to the Health Department database to assist with contact tracing.

“The last thing we wanted to see was people having to download an app and register just to get a coffee, when you can just scan the code with your smartphone camera and maybe download the app for future use.”

Covid Register manages QR code log-ins and has an inbuilt diary to keep personal records.
“It’s going nuts all-round the country and most of our time during the Covid-19 period has been spent keeping up with the changes.”

Simmonds says the Government’s Covid Tracker complicated things for hospitality or professional services providers. “Unless you have registered with your New Zealand business number it says ‘invalid format’.”

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