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Kiwi businesses scramble to adopt automated tracking technology

New Zealand businesses are scrambling to adopt automated tracking technology as alert level restrictions due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis ease and people move around more freely, says WhosOnLocation.

The Wellington-based company runs tracking software for employees and visitors across thousands of facilities and offices worldwide. Founder & CEO Darren Whitaker-Barnett says domestic enquiries jumped by 112% during the lockdown and the company is now anticipating explosive growth over the next 12 months.

"Interest is coming in from all sectors, but particularly those with high numbers of visitors, contractors, vendors, and suppliers as part of their daily operations such as government, local bodies, and multinational corporates," he says.

"We have also fielded a huge number of enquiries from hospitals, aged care and nursing homes, and the manufacturing sector, particularly food manufacturers and construction."

Whitaker-Barnett says that while many smaller businesses and retailers are now using manual paper-based tracking or static QR codes printed and displayed in reception areas and entrances, they lack the necessary information security protections.

"And organisations with multiple locations and a constant flow of people with a health and safety compliance obligation to meet will struggle to address the wider duty of care challenges that go beyond these methods," he says.

"Ninety five percent of our customers use us for much more than visitor name gathering and arrival notifications. Should the visitor be permitted on-site in the first place? Do they pose a risk to our people? Are they aware of current site hazards? Did they agree to our visitor policy? As we return to work implementing systems to manage these issues has now become much more appealing," Whitaker-Barnett says.

Before Covid-19, WhosOnLocation had a growth forecast of 50% including international markets in Europe, the UK and USA where the company has active sales operations. Whitaker-Barnett says even that outlook now looks conservative as the pandemic lays a platform for exponential growth in New Zealand and overseas.

"Our revenue was up 31% in April compared to the same month in 2019, and this was at a time when businesses weren't operating for the large part. The impact of the pandemic is unprecedented to the extent we are now unable to forecast forward revenue growth over the next year," he says.

"In the last four months, we entered into two new global channel partner relationships which will expand our ability to reach new markets exponentially,"says Whitaker-Barnett.

In response to the crisis, the company has released an enhanced pandemic visitor screening toolset, a new working from home option for its mobile app, and contact tracing for those businesses returning to work. 

"Automated people tracking will become the norm for larger organisations in the future and our focus is on releasing a robust and secure touchless visitor sign-in option in the coming weeks that addresses the complex needs of organisations around the world."