June 10th, 2020

Innovations That Matter – Episode 03

As designers, we’re intensely curious about innovations of all kinds, and even more so when human ingenuity is borne out of sudden change. We decided to lend our expertise in highlighting and evaluating promising innovations borne out of the COVID-19 crisis. In this series, we’ll be using 3 different categories to rate these exciting ideas. First will be innovation, or how new or disruptive the idea is. Next, we’ll look at feasibility to check how realistic the idea actually is in practice. Finally, will be scalability, to see how capable an idea is to reach a wide audience.

In this episode of Innovations That Matter, we review:
1. Digital Platform Helps Limit Office Exposure Risk [Link]
2. New App for Antibody Clearance Level [Link]
3. Airport Offers Contactless Entry At Terminals [Link]

Watch Episode 02 here.

Find more COVID-19 insights here.


Hello everyone, this is David Bulfin, Senior Designer at BOLTGROUP returning for another episode of Innovations That Matter, where we explore, analyze and rank some of the great ideas that are emerging in response to COVID-19. Here we go.

Two weeks ago, Maptician, a Georgia based startup, released a new digital platform focused on optimizing an office space to limit exposure risk. As office managers begin to be confronted with the implications of reopening, the developers saw an opportunity. Anticipating the new and emerging needs to keep people safe, their software analyzes workplace floor plans to identify trouble spots. By taking into account areas like conference rooms, break rooms, and hallways, the software then makes suggestions for new interior design layouts, seating charts, and even staggered employee schedules. Their system also introduces the ability to monitor and manage capacity restrictions, and even offers contact tracing awareness should someone fall ill. For innovation, Maptician Flex gets a score of 4 out of 5. Our team likes that this powerful piece of software is using a clever combination of existing technology paired with some totally new data driven analytics. I’d be very curious to see how this tool would break down the space in our design studio. On feasibility we’re giving this solution a 4 out of 5 because the data it outputs seems to be actionable and realistic. Finally for scalability, Maptician scores high at 5 out of 5. The tools this system offers seem relevant to us regardless of an office space’s size or layout. We think it will be interesting to see how systems like this start to influence interior architecture over time.

Later this month a new mobile app called COVID Precheck will become available to the public and offer an antibody clearance level somewhat in line to the processes we’ve become accustomed to with the TSA’s screening methods. The totally voluntary process looks like this. When an individual gets a blood test to test for the presence of COVID-19 antibodies, a positive status can be added to the app. That information is kept private and secure via blockchain encryption, and can be used as a clearance level used help workplaces, businesses, and other high exposure places determine an individual’s risk to the local group. The benefits to both the individual and the group are interesting here. By using the app’s QR code to signify their antibody status, the individual can use that status to more easily interact with others and return to slightly more normal activities with ease. For businesses, workplaces, and venues using the service, they are offered the ability to have better knowledge about their role in stemming the spread of the virus. As a novel and compelling way to combine health and technology this gets an innovation ranking of 5 out of 5 because it has the chance to increase both intelligence and freedom for the sake of public health. On feasibility, the COVID Precheck concept also gets a 5 out of 5 since we see the tool as easy one to deploy, adopt and use. That being said, at present we’re ranking scalability at 3 out of 5 solely out of an abundance of caution that this service stays true to being private and voluntary. We love the idea, but also know that without careful cultivation, tools like these can begin to wade into some grey territory.

In India, the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport has become one of the first major travel hubs to offer completely contactless entry in their terminals. Rather than hand over items like passports, boarding passes, and travel itineraries, their new arrangement now involves the use of high definition cameras installed at each gate. Passengers hold their documents in front of the camera to be inspected and are remotely allowed through by security personnel. In regards to innovation, this clever system gets a 3 out of 5 ranking from us. The changes seem to be well thought through to achieve the delicate balance between convenient speed and diligent precaution. While today’s layout is a proof of concept, we can imagine this becoming an even more innovative solution as these systems are integrated into something a bit more unified and plug and play. Feasibility ranks at 5 out of 5 because all the solutions employed in this system are readily available today, requiring only the installation and training necessary to get underway. It’s for those same reasons, that our team has given a score of 3 out of 5 for scalability. While everything needed to deploy this system to many other airports already exists, we’ll be curious to see how this great idea evolves into something that’s ready to go out of the box.

That’s it for now. Keep your eye out for our next video where we’ll share another 3 cool innovations you need to know about. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you next time.

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