Under Alert Levels 2 and 3, all businesses and services are required to display the official NZ Covid Tracer QR code posters in a prominent place at or near the main entrances to each of their premises. But how many people appreciate the technology behind the system?
NZ Covid Tracer is a Ministry of Health app that allows users to create a digital diary of places they visit by scanning the official QR code displayed on the business’s premises. This helps contact tracers to quickly identify and isolate anyone who may have been exposed to Covid-19 – the app will automatically alert someone if they have been in the same location as that of a Covid-positive person.
For businesses, helping their customers play their part in the ‘team of 5 million’ is important, as is being notified if a Covid-positive customer has been on their premises. However, behind the scenes, there are other reasons for businesses to get a Covid-19 poster.
Embedded in every poster is a globally unique location identifier (a global location number, or GLN) that is linked to the legal entity identifier (the NZBN, or New Zealand Business Number) of the business generating the poster. The more locations a business has, the more unique GLNs are created underneath their legal entity identifier.
Rather than being a random number of no use to a business beyond Covid-19, this number is an ISO-compliant, open-standard identifier issued by the not-for-profit standards body GS1 New Zealand. GLNs are already widely deployed locally and globally to power supply chains, traceability and electronic transactions.
LAYING DOWN DIGITAL INFOSTRUCTURE
Dr Peter Stevens, chief executive of GS1 NZ, says their partnership with the NZ Government enables the GLN to be able to be used in many businesses’ applications, such as electronic data exchange, electronic parcel ship-to notices and for e-procurement.
“New Zealand is in effect ‘laying down’ public digital ‘infostructure’ that will enable businesses to more easily exchange information, simplify ecommerce, and enhance business productivity in the future,” he notes.
“The business value of such an infostructure has been proven offshore in many settings, but particularly in Scandinavian countries who have successfully implemented e-invoicing for small businesses to support productivity growth. The prime ministers of Australian and New Zealand announced e-invoicing as a key trans-Tasman initiative in February 2019, and this is expected to reap in order of $30 billion in value for businesses over the next 10 years.”