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Taipei City’s Smart Technology for COVID-19

Image sources: taiwannews.com.tw

In the push for smart city programs around the world, the Taipei City Government’s rebranded digital pass enables a quick vaccination appointment and, shortly, could incorporate digital proof of COVID-19 vaccination status, adding to the city’s array of diverse and smart COVID-19 containment measures.

Known as the “Taipei Card” until last year, TaipeiPASS was designed as a one-stop solution for 80% of municipal services, from paying taxes and parking tickets to utility bill payments, access to the library resources, and a citizen hotline. In addition, citizens can remotely cast a vote, file a complaint, report an offence, and enjoy exclusive dining and shopping discounts at stores.

Since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, the tech-savvy among the city government have delved into digital technology initiatives to contain the spread of the virus. A year later, the service has been revamped for COVID check-ins that enable contact tracing. Also, QR codes are displayed at business and event registration counters, making it easier for people to check in and for the City Covid Response Team to track the footprint of the coronavirus.

Commissioner of Taipei’s Department of Information Technology said that in addition to the check-in, a data analytics model of citizen flows at places of business will be adopted in the service to prevent COVID-19 transmission. As for those less familiar with smart devices, the city is allowing them to check in with a registered Taipei EasyCard.

As the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination program is being rolled out, the digital pass has also tapped into the country’s COVID-19 vaccination registration and reservation system, streamlining the process of scheduling a jab. The system is the scheduling method that requires the least effort. Taiwan also plans to incorporate digital proof of vaccination status is underway, with the hope that post-pandemic life will be made easier as the restaurant and tourism sectors get back on their feet.

Individuals who have lost their job or gone out of business since the start of Taiwan’s first major COVID outbreak in mid-May have been able to apply for pandemic relief subsidies through the platform. This reduces the risk of exposure to the virus by circumventing a trip to government agencies. With the service portal, users can pay local taxes, water bills, parking, medical, and tuition fees. The platform also supports various forms of digital payment.

As cyber-attacks become increasingly sophisticated and ransomware continues to pose a threat, the platform was built with the highest standard of data security. The system was built on dual protections — Public Key Infrastructure as well as on Zero Trust Network —the toughest access controls to protect data during transmission. Additional security layers are implemented as the city government leverages cellular and wireless technologies to connect and improve infrastructure to ensure a desired quality of life for residents and visitors alike.

Taiwan has been actively utilising technology to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 infections. As reported by OpenGov Asia, Taiwan’s Centers of Disease Control (CDC) is collaborating with and Taiwan AI Labs to create Taiwan Social Distancing App for reducing the spread of Covid19. This community project uses Bluetooth technology and alerts users if they are exposed to confirmed COVID-19 cases. The app aims to reduce the exposure risk of the COVID-19 cases.

According to the app’s introduction page, they are sure that the app will play a key role to encourage people to keep a daily routine with lower nonessential physical contacts. Disease modellers and epidemiologists with AI algorithms join AI Labs to fight the spread of new infections for flattening the curve.

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