Sanitary company Van Marcke develops contact-tracing app
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    Sanitary company Van Marcke develops contact-tracing app

    CEO Caroline Van Marcke; ahead of the game. © Van Marcke

    The race is on among app developers to come up with an app to make contact-tracing simpler and safer for personal data.

    It comes as something of a surprise, then, to find that one of the companies making raid progress towards that end is none other than Van Marcke, a company better known for its bathroom fittings, kitchen appliances and heating equipment.

    Van Marcke has developed the app for the use of its own employees. It allows the user to record details of every contact: name of the person, duration of the contact, whether social distancing was observed, whether physical contact was made.

    The app records those details to be recalled should contact-tracers need to contact an employee who turns out to have been in unwitting contact with an infected person.

    Compare it with a list that you fill in manually of all the people you meet, but then digitally in an app,” said IT manager Stijn Hoegaerts. He developed the app in record time on the basis of the new IT platform that Van Marcke recently used to create apps very quickly.

    The advantage is that it is linked to our personnel register and that it must only be completed by one person at a meeting of, for example, four people. The other three also get the information.”

    The data in question is not stored centrally, and is erased automatically from the app after three weeks. The company checked with the data protection authority and was assured there was no breach of the rules.

    The app cost only €5,000 to develop, and is now available to all 1,600 employees in Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the US.

    Alan Hope
    The Brussels Times