Kiana Digital Contact Tracing Solution FAQs

What is Contact Tracing?

Contact tracing is a decades-old, well established tool for helping control the spread of infectious diseases. It has been used successfully in efforts to contain Ebola, SARS, MERS, tuberculosis, and other disease outbreaks.  It is now a critical part of the fight against COVID-19.  In practice, contact tracing begins with those who test positive for COVID-19. Those with whom they have had close contact are then identified, as they may have been infected too. These contacts are notified and supported through a period of quarantine—until they develop symptoms, pass the window of risk, or are proven not to have been exposed. Widespread testing enables optimally effective contact tracing

The CDC (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends an intensive contact tracing program as part of a plan to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in communities.

Contact Tracing, whether digital or manual, involves the following steps:

  • Identifying people who are sick (have symptoms) or have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Identifying people who came in close contact with a potentially infected or infected person.
  • Notifying those contacts of their potential exposure and length of exposure
  • Referring contacts for testing
  • Monitoring contacts for signs and symptoms of COVID-19, and the need to quarantine or work from home.



How Does Contact Tracing Technology Work?

The Kiana Contact Tracing Platform provides a COVID-19 exposure discovery platform which can be deployed quickly and easily in buildings and on campuses, using the existing WiFi infrastructure.  Using a person’s smartphone or other connected device, the network reports each device’s location and proximity to other devices.  This information is used to identify any person who has been in contact with a COVID-19 positive person, and for how long that contact lasted.  This enables reaching the people who have come in contact with an infected person so that they can immediately be tested and quarantined if necessary.

The Kiana Contact Tracing Platform also identifies the COVID-19 positive person’s location and the locations (zones) where exposure has occurred, allowing surgical cleaning of affected areas.

The CDC (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends an intensive contact tracing program as part of a plan to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in communities.



What Role Does Technology Play in the Contact Tracing Methodology?

Many organizations and schools have already implemented a manual process or methodology to conduct contact tracing.  Kiana’s Contact Tracing Platform automates the actual identification of which people came in contact with a “person of interest” (COVID-19 positive), by using their mobile device MAC  (Media Access Controller) address interaction with other devices.  Each device’s MAC address is “unique”, thereby allowing each individual to have a unique identifier.  Not only are the individuals identified, but the location AND length of time of this contact is also recorded.  The list of people, who came in contact with the infected person, and their exposure time, is reported to the school or Human Resources administrator, so that the appropriate actions can be taken.  This is all done automatically, without the need for additional apps, or questioning students/faculty regarding with who they have been in contact.  This “digital contact tracing” not only saves time and money, but also protects the privacy of individuals.



How is the Administration Staff Notified that Someone has Tested Positive for COVID-19?

Students, Staff or employees report when they are either sick or have tested positive for COVID.  Reporting may be via phone, online, or through a school’s own application.  Self reporting is paramount to the health of the campus / facility and should be a campus culture that is incorporated into the training and orientation programs.



How are Students / Faculty Notified if Someone on Campus has COVID-19?

The administrator can run a report at any time to discover which people have come in contact with a person who has reported themselves as having tested positive.  They can also determine the length of time that the people were in contact.  Kiana provides a web application that connects the internal directory of the client, to the list of MAC IDs provided by the platform.  The information is pulled from the client’s own directory system so it will pull the emails and phone numbers and associate them with the list of MAC IDs.   Then it is up to the client how they wish to contact people.  This process is purposely not automated, as there are many regulations regarding automating health related messages.



How is Kiana’s Solution Different from Other Contact Tracing Providers?

There are both “manual contact tracing solutions” and “digital contact tracing solutions”.  Manual tracing has obvious disadvantages in that the person who is doing the job ends up coming in contact with potentially infected people.  Also, it is useful for only the contacts that a particular individual can identify, and many people refuse to be contacted or report associations.  It is also very slow, tedious, and expensive.

Digital contact tracing solutions are much more reliable, and can be deployed more quickly, efficiently, and easily.  Types of digital contact tracing solutions include

  • QR code registries (used with NZ COVID Tracer app. For more information, go to the website)
  • Bluetooth tracking apps, e.g.: Apple-Google Contact Tracing App
  • GPS based location tracking apps
  • WiFi based solutions like Kiana

The problems associated with these types of solutions may include:

  1. False Positives May Be Reported:

Because Bluetooth can usually penetrate walls, if you and an infected person are in the same building but separated by a wall (and would never come into direct contact with one another), you could still be falsely alerted. This could also happen if you’re practicing social distancing but remain out in the open. It all depends on how strong the Bluetooth signal is in different locations.  And Bluetooth apps only determine proximity to another device; however COVID being transmitted by air may linger in a space long after an infectious person leaves, meaning that a person entering this space will not be notified that an infected person was just there. This will inevitably lead to less engagement by individuals as they will find these apps unreliable aids.

  1. Lack of Widespread Adoption:

When it comes to contact tracing apps, at least 60% of a population has to have them downloaded in order for the solution to work effectively.

  1. Cyber Security & Privacy Concerns:

One thing that has been a major roadblock for convincing people to use digital contact tracing solutions has been the uncertainty about who gets to access their data, and what it might be used for.

  1. Incomplete Coverage:

Apps are only made for mobile phones, and leaves out entire categories of devices such as laptops, smart watches, and other wifi enabled devices that people may carry.

  1. Bluetooth Tracing Reveals Less Detailed Information:

About a person’s location compared to a GPS based location tracking app, but it still leaves devices open to cyber attacks, especially if mistakes are made on the developer’s part.


How is Privacy Protected and Maintained?

Kiana’s commitment to privacy and data protection is evidenced in products that are built from the ground up with privacy in mind.  Data from a site is secured in transit and at rest and can be encrypted for additional privacy guarantees.  Kiana is GDPR and CCPA compliant, and complies with regional and country privacy rules wherever deployed.

Kiana’s solution requires that people keep WiFi devices on their person on a regular basis, for which the WiFi sensors detect and report each phone’s or device’s MAC ID and position.  This information is employed to identify devices that have been in contact with the “device of interest”, within a defined contact zone and for how long. This information can then be used to identify persons of interest (i.e., infected person), the people they contacted and the length in time of contact. This enables reaching the people infected and sending alerts to others who may have been exposed to the virus due to proximity and may have spread the virus. This can all be done while respecting people’s privacy since no PII (Personal Identifiable Information) is exposed off campus and the MAC ID information can be encrypted when sent to Kiana’s platform for analysis.



Who Owns the Data That is Collected, and How is This Data Protected From the Outside?

The data is owned by the WiFi owner.  Even Kiana does not have access to Personal Identifiable Information (PII), since it is all encrypted.  Data may also be deleted after its useful timeframe at the discretion of the Campus / Company management.


What Additional Software, Hardware and Infrastructure Do I Need to Purchase and Deploy in Order to Implement Kiana’s Solution? How Difficult Is It to Get Started?

No additional hardware or software is required, as the solution leverages your existing WiFi equipment.  Training, Support and deployment configuration is included as part of the per person price and is provided as a remote service with no need for onsite personnel outside of normal IT assistance. The system is web-based and remote training is provided to facilitate deployment and set up to designated IT personnel. Typical set up support includes uploading digital floor maps and identification of WiFi access point locations on the maps. Once done, the system begins collecting data immediately.


How Does the Kiana Solution Work?

  1. Kiana collects all MAC addresses
  2. Employee who has tested positive or feels ill self reports to HR/Health Administration
  3. Administration runs contact tracing report identifying other MAC addresses that have been exposed
  4. Kiana identifies mapping between exposed MAC addresses and employees/students
  5. List of employees/students exposed returned to HR / Health Administration database
  6. Exposed students / employees are notified

How Do Students and Users Get Connected?

Students, faculty, staff and employees get connected by simply logging in to the WiFi network.


Can I use my school’s CARES Act funds to pay for this solution?

You may be able to use a portion of your allocated CARES Act education funding to support the cost of your digital contact tracing. Please discuss with your financial team and review the federal government guideline:


How Can I Request a Demo and Get Started With a Pilot Project?

Email us at:

Call us at: 800-761-4522

COVID-19 Contact Form

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