Concerned Wellington businesses create privacy-first contact tracing app for anonymous check-ins, to help hospitality venues open at Level 2
Businesses scramble to put appropriate contact tracing systems in place as they prepare to reopen their doors to customers at Level 2, possibly this week.
Wellington, 11 May: With a Ministry of Health contact tracing app still under development, two concerned Wellington businesses have burnt the midnight oil to create the country’s only privacy-first contact tracing app, Rippl, to help hospitality businesses enable their customers to record all visits quickly, simply, and anonymously.
It’s the brainchild of digital agency PaperKite and PosBoss, a cloud-based till system used by thousands of hospitality businesses across the country. Rippl was put together as a labour of love in just three weeks. The companies estimate they’ve put $150,000 of labour into developing the app which will be provided to all New Zealand businesses for a nominal fee.
“We saw an urgent need to help businesses meet their requirements to record all customer visits under Level 2 and we wanted to come up with a smart, simple solution that protected everyone’s privacy,” says Antony Dixon, Client Success Director at PaperKite. “Pen and paper recording, while accepted by the government is antiquated, ineffective and unsafe, in our opinion. Pen and paper systems will lead to queuing and close contact, the opposite of what we need to achieve.”
“We also wanted to address very real privacy concerns,” says Rob Holmes, PaperKite’s Technical Director and chief solution designer. Most contact tracing solutions, including the apps in use by Singapore and Australia, enable a mass collection of individual data, using unproven technology. Customers don’t have clarity on who owns that data, how it will be used, nor the full implications of the technology on personal freedoms. This is not acceptable in our view, so we came up with an alternative.”
Customers registering at a venue using Rippl are not required to enter any personal information. Instead, they scan a venue’s QR code and the app keeps an anonymous private digital log of their visit. If there is a Covid-19 outbreak associated with that venue, health services can send a message to the relevant users’ app which will ask them to make contact with the health authorities. The app enables fast, contactless customer check-in at any business and requires no administration for businesses.
The Rippl app has seen a large number of registrations from a broad range of businesses preparing to open their doors, possibly this week.
Jonny McKenzie, Founder of PosBoss, and creator of the Safe Hands Initiative to support hospitality businesses get up and running during Level 3, says smart, safe solutions are needed to build customer confidence during Level 2. “Hospitality businesses across the country are some of the hardest hit by Covid-19 so we wanted to make it as easy as possible for them to open their doors at Level 2,” McKenzie says.
“At Level 2, most businesses will be operating at 15 to 50 percent revenue on pre-coronavirus levels. We want to help these businesses get back on their feet and it’s extremely important that venues keep their own staff safe while also building confidence with their customers who might initially feel uneasy about visiting them. We’re really proud of what we’ve achieved with Rippl and believe it will provide the confidence kiwis need to safely visit their favourite restaurants, cafes and bars from Level 2.”
PosBoss first worked with PaperKite to create click-and-collect app, Regulr, which is enabling businesses to conduct contactless payment during Level 3. It’s free for businesses and the uptake in use has been incredible, McKenzie says. “We’ve gone from being used by 60 venues to being used by 600 venues and downloads have gone from 5,000 – 65,000, all in just two weeks. It’s kiwi created and is free for venues to use unlike rapacious international food delivery apps such as Uber Eats which can take up to 35 percent of the value of a meal ordered via their app.”
Brian Campbell, owner of the Miann group of high-end dessert restaurants in Auckland, will be using Rippl at his four restaurants. “It’s a welcome solution to an industry preparing to welcome back customers in a more restricted world. It’s super easy to use, it meets the government’s requirements around contact recording and, most importantly, it will keep our staff and customers safe.
“After almost two months confined to home, there is a real need to encourage customers back to our restaurants, cafes and bars. Showing that we can ensure their safety is a fundamental part of that and Rippl really helps with this.”
How it works
Rippl is a contactless app-based solution, with a built-in scanner, for users to check in and out of venues they visit, by scanning the venue’s QR code. Venues register with Rippl to get their unique code, and staff verify that users have checked in on their Rippl app before they can be served. Rippl users check in and out of venues offline, without the need for internet access.
Users never share any personal details with Rippl. Instead, upon registration at a venue, Rippl keeps an anonymous, encrypted, private digital log of visits. Should health service contact tracers need to alert Rippl users about a potential Covid-19 outbreak at a venue they have visited, affected customers are sent a message via the app asking them to contact officials. At no time prior to this request do the health service have any knowledge of Rippl users’ check-ins or personal details.
Businesses can register here, buy a unique QR code for their venue, then print and display it in their premises. Businesses wanting to use Rippl are being asked for a nominal payment of $35 for the next three months if they register before Wednesday 13th May. After this, registration is $49.
For more information on how Rippl works for customers and business visit: https://www.paperkite.co.nz/rippl/
Note to Editors:
For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Caleb Hulme-Moir, Mana Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org, +64 (0) 220 698 065
PaperKite is a creative digital agency based in Wellington, New Zealand. Founded in 2010, they’ve been producing and consulting on ground-breaking digital experiences for a wide range of kiwi consumer brands and organisations, including BP, Coca-Cola Amatil, HELL Pizza and the New Zealand Defence Force. Nic Gibbens founded the company to embody his passions for mobile, human-centred research & design, and creating superior digital products that make the world a more interesting place.
Jonny McKenzie established posBoss to help owner operators in the hospitality industry move from cumbersome onsite based Point of Sale (PoS) systems to the cloud. Based on his 8 years of being an owner operator himself, the goal of posBoss is to provide owners more control and hospitality styled support. posBoss now services venues all across Australasia with growth plans into the the pacific islands, South Africa and South East Asia to continue delivering their customer focused ‘here for hospo’ offering.