NextNav, LLC, the leader in 3D geolocation services, today announced contact tracing apps for hospitals, research facilities, government agencies and universities are eligible to use its Metropolitan Beacon System (“MBS”) Z-Axis services at no cost during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. MBS location services, including Z-Axis, are offered metro-wide and not limited to specific buildings, an essential feature for public health and safety applications.
COVID-19 contact tracing “opt-in” apps may help communities across the country track the spread of SARS-CoV-2, but tracking devices in urban, high-density multi-story structures where the virus may spread rapidly is extremely challenging. NextNav’s MBS Z-Axis service offers precise altitude determination (less than 3 meters) enabling floor-level determination in major urban markets across the country.
The NextNav MBS Z-Axis solution will give app-makers specific altitude location data for the first time on even existing popular handsets. NextNav believes that its unique capabilities are complementary to other pioneering efforts led by tech giants, including Apple, Facebook, Google and other platforms. Due to the airborne and surface transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2, knowing where carriers have been inside structures is essential: virus particles can linger in the air and on surfaces long after a carrier has left the vicinity, creating a path for infection even when direct contact with a carrier did not occur.
“This pandemic has been devastating, but we believe one way to mitigate the impact going forward is through contact tracing and we know our highly precise vertical capabilities (Z-Axis) will provide critical data to precisely locate these phones in urban areas dominated by dense, high-rise structures,” said Ganesh Pattabiraman, co-founder and CEO of NextNav. “We want to reach out to app-makers, hospitals and public health officials addressing this tracing issue and offer our solution that will reliably offer them 3-meter, floor-level accuracy in cities. Controlling the virus transmission starts with knowing who has it, where they might have been and then providing tools to health officials to take proactive steps to minimize the spread.”
NextNav’s MBS Z-Axis SDK will be made available free of charge to eligible app-makers through December 2021. NextNav is offering the service in San Francisco and Atlanta initially and is rolling out to additional regions later this year.