The News: Cisco and ServiceNow announced the integration of Cisco’s indoor location services platform, DNA Spaces, with ServiceNow’s contact tracing and workplace safety application. The vendors announced that their new collaboration is aimed at improving COVID-19 contact tracing efforts. You can read more details about the integration here.
Cisco and ServiceNow Integrate for Workplace Contact Tracing — An Opportunity and a Challenge
Analyst Take: At Futurum, we have been discussing the good and the bad of contact tracing as a means of tracking individuals’ proximity to one another (usually through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi) using personal devices. The good news is that it is considered one of the most effective ways to slow the spread of infectious disease, the bad news is that any discussion around contact tracing inevitably brings up privacy concerns. Our analyst team discussed this topic at length in a recent episode of the Futurum Tech Webcast: Contact Tracing Apps — What Do They Mean for Privacy in the Era of COVID-19?
Negatives aside, as employees return to work at the physical office, contract tracing seems to be one of the most logical ways to keep everyone safe in terms of being able to alert staff if a coworker has tested positive and who may have interacted with that employee. In the case of the Cisco and ServiceNow integration, users will integrate Cisco’s indoor location services platform, DNA Spaces, with ServiceNow’s contact tracing application. As employees return to their office, this combination will help organizations better understand the degree of employee interactions, as well as allow human resource departments to make informed decisions and take immediate action in the event of a positive case.
Cisco has been on the forefront of helping companies adjust to the social distancing policies that have come with the global pandemic. Cisco’s DNA Spaces platform includes Cisco’s wireless and enterprise geolocation technologies. In the context of contact tracing, the platform offers businesses location-based data and real-time insights about how employees move about their physical office. This integration will allow joint customers of ServiceNow and Cisco to seamlessly import location-based data into the ServiceNow Contact Tracing app and identify potential interactions with an affected employee. Proximity reporting will come from Cisco’s DNA Spaces and ServiceNow’s Safe Workplace Suite, which also provides visualizations of collected data, as well as a map that brings in aggregated public data on infection rates.
The combination of Cisco’s DNA Spaces with ServiceNow’s contact tracing and Safe Workplace Suite is a smart move by both vendors who have spent the last six months shifting their solutions to help customers adjust to changing needs during the global pandemic. With this integration, however, there are a few factors to keep in mind. First, all employees will have to be on the same Wi-Fi network in order for contact tracing to be accurate. Employees will have to be logged into the same Wi-Fi network either on their laptops or mobile devices and it will be up to individual employers whether they want to give their employees the option to opt-in to contact tracing or not. It’s important to note that this is not unique to just this integration, these are factors to take into consideration with all contact tracing scenarios. Second, participants will have to be customers of both Cisco and ServiceNow in order to use this offering. This could no doubt serve as a barrier to adoption, but could likewise mean more customer acquisition opportunities for both Cisco and ServiceNow. Overall, I feel the combination of these platforms is a robust offering that will greatly benefit users during this pandemic and for the future as well. And, seeing how Cisco has been laser focused on rolling out new solutions during this global crisis, it will undoubtedly not be the last of this type of announcement.
Futurum Research provides industry research and analysis. These columns are for educational purposes only and should not be considered in any way investment advice.
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Sarah most recently served as the head of industry research for Oracle. Her experience working as a research director and analyst extends across multiple focus areas including AI, big data and analytics, cloud infrastructure and operations, OSS/BSS, customer experience, IoT, SDN/NFV, mobile enterprise, cable/MSO issues, and managed services. Sarah has also conducted primary research of the retail, banking, financial services, healthcare, higher ed, manufacturing, and insurance industries and her research has been cited by media such as Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, VentureBeat, ReCode, and various trade publications, such as eMarketer and The Financial Brand.