The rising concern among the campus populace about the campus being turned into a quarantine zone for asymptomatic carriers of coronavirus, fuelled the interest of a team of IIT-B professors to develop the CORONTINE Platform to ensure the strict adherence of quarantine rules. The team consisting of Prof. Manjesh Kumar Hanawal, IEOR, IIT Bombay and Prof. Ganesh Ramakrishnan, CSE, IIT Bombay in collaboration with IIT-B alumnus Ashvin Gami have developed the Corontine Platform (CP).
The Platform solved the problem of tracking potential carriers from a safe distance. This Platform was inspired by one of the ongoing IoT related projects where they remotely tracked objects. The team quickly developed a platform that could be used to track the movement of suspects. Further with the help of Ashivn Gami, who has a rich experience in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, they built a scalable platform that could monitor a large number of suspects and automatically alert the authorities if any of them violate quarantine boundaries.
The front-end of Corontine Platform is an app (Android/iOS) that is installed on the mobiles of suspects. The app collects GPS coordinates from their mobiles and periodically sends it to a server that is under the strict supervision of authorities like the BMC. The administration can track the movement of the suspects and can assign a region (geo-fence) in which each suspect is supposed to be confined. If any of them jumps the geo-fence, the Platform automatically detects it and sends alerts to the authorities about the encroachment.
The Corontine app is installed in the mobiles of all the people quarantined in the Vanvihar guesthouse of IIT Bombay and the office of Chief Security Officer, IIT Bombay, is using it to monitor their movements. It is part of the three-layered security arranged by BMC for the safety of the campus population. Corontine Platform is also being used by the Govt. of Meghalaya to track violators of quarantine rules and the Govt. of Orissa is using the solution as part of a comprehensive solution (COVID-360) provided by Deloitte.
Expansion of use to Feature Phones –
The current version of the Corontine Platform works when suspects carry a smartphone with an internet connection. However, a large section of the population in India uses feature phones on which apps cannot run and do not have internet. Under the directions of a government constituted panel tasked with developing a technology platform to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak, the team is working on an improvisation of Corontine Platform called Mobile Corontine Platform (MCP) that works on the location information obtained by the telecom towers so that the solution can work for all types of mobiles and without requiring internet connectivity. Mobile Corontine Platform will complement the Aarogya Setu app developed by the Government of India to track movement in the lock-down regions and help authorities strictly enforce social-distancing guidelines.
Should you install the app?
The Corontine Platform is not for universal use. It is being used for monitoring potential carriers by authorities, and only people mandated by their local authorities should install it. Further, each state authority has a different monitoring strategy depending on the technology and the man force that they have. People should follow the protocol set up by their local law enforcement authorities. People who are not under quarantine should not install the application, and people whose local authorities are following a different enforcement protocol should not install it.
The Corontine Platform has achieved significant success inside the IIT-B campus. The Platform has a vast scope of expansion, especially given the multiple reports of people across the nation not following quarantine rules. With lockdown easing in multiple districts, the need for following quarantine restriction is much stronger to prevent a resurgence of COVID-19 cases. While the possibility of development is clear, the extent of success of the Platform is still unknown. With the number of rising COVID-19 suspects in the nation, the Platform would become critical in fighting the pandemic in the coming days.