“I think that from June we will be able to deploy it on an individual volunteer basis,” said the CEO of Capgemini.
The contact tracking application, envisaged by the government as part of the fight against the coronavirus, should be ready for the second half of May, according to Orange and Capgemini, key players in the project.
“We actually have a schedule that allows obtaining an application in the second part of May,” said Thursday Marie-Noëlle Jégo-Laveissière, Orange’s director of innovation, on the occasion of ” a press conference on the financial results of the telecom operator.
“We will be ready to deliver the application in a kind of demonstrator around mid-May,” said Capgemini CEO Paul Hermelin, Thursday on France Info. The latter however estimated that it would take “a few more weeks to have (an application) robust” and this in order to minimize the risk of hacking of sensitive data. “I think that from June we will be able to deploy it on an individual volunteer basis,” said Hermelin.
This calendar excludes for the moment that the application can be ready for the start of deconfinement on May 11, a goal that the government itself had recognized difficult to achieve.
Discussions with Apple
The project, currently called StopCovid, is coordinated by Inria, the French computer research institute. Capgemini was chosen to be the “prime contractor for IT architecture”, explains its CEO. Orange also plays a central role, being in particular responsible for discussions with Apple to obtain the unlocking of certain functionalities of the brand’s smartphones.
“This technical discussion (…) is intense,” said Stéphane Richard, CEO of Orange, referring to “daily” meetings. “It is not done, it is in progress, but the dynamics of discussion is not bad,” he said.
Orange also plays a central role in the project by being responsible for verifying that the different technological “bricks” provided by the different players work well together. The operator is also reflecting on the use of another electronic object than the smartphone to allow contact tracing in the event of contamination, added Jégo-Laveissière. This project “is a little bit longer,” she said.
Many European countries are considering distributing a smartphone application that would allow a person who discovers that he is infected with the coronavirus to warn the people he may have met in the previous two weeks.
European countries do not all have the same technical approaches to these highly controversial projects because of their possible impact on the privacy of citizens. But “I am hopeful that we will be able to converge quickly on all this,” said Stéphane Richard.