ACT chief minister Andrew Barr confirmed this week support for the delivery of new contact tracing and social distancing technology, Smart Badge, to help Canberra attract new business events to the region in the current environment. The funding is part of ACT government’s new Tourism and Hospitality Package, aimed at further assisting members of the Territory tourism and hospitality workforce.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said: “Trialling this technology will help position Canberra as a safe destination to stage a meeting or conference. It is an important step in identifying new ways of operating, to support the business events sector and all the businesses that benefit from delegate spend in our city.”

CEO of the Canberra Convention Bureau Michael Matthews said: “We’re pleased to see that ACT Government, through VisitCanberra, recognises business events as a major economic driver for the region and is taking steps to help support our industry by making the Smart Badge technology available to meeting planners.

“Being able to provide this contact tracing and social distancing technology to meeting planners looking to organise events in the capital is an important part of attracting events once again to our destination.

“Canberra, with its open spaces and congestion-free areas, offers highly controllable environments to deliver events and trace delegate movement. This technology further assists by allowing delegates peace of mind that in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak contact tracing would be accurately and rapidly actioned, and that they can feel comfortable attending in-person events with the live social distancing alerts.”

The wearable device, developed by new Australian company Smart Badge, provides triple action technology to help organisations work safely during the pandemic. The wearable ‘badge’ – worn as a watch, lanyard or helmet clip – is registered to the wearer by a QR code and maps their location within the set area of an event.

The badge alerts the wearer through a discrete vibration, flash and/or a beep when they are within 1.5 metres of another wearer infringing on social distancing guidelines. The device also importantly has instant contact tracing capabilities allowing meeting planners to rapidly respond in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak.

Additionally, the technology can manage capacity control limits of an event through automated wearer mapping and using LED columns to alert guests when a room or venue is at maximum capacity based on proximity regulations. Future developments post COVID include geo-mapping and movement tracing, with a focus on delegate welfare and allowing a safe return to in-person meetings.

The Smart Badge technology will be available free-of-charge to meeting planners with a confirmed event in Canberra.