Around 90 tourism industry representatives participated in the social distancing technology trial, with their lanyards vibrating to alert them when someone was closer than 1.5 metres. Image supplied.

It seems as though we’ll be contending with social distancing for quite some time, and, let’s face it, it can be hard to determine whether that bloke at the grocery store is actually standing 1.5 metres away from you.

Technology to assist with social distancing has been trialled at a recent event at the National Convention Centre Canberra (NCCC).

The ‘smart e-badge’ technology was used at a Canberra Region Tourism Advisory Forum briefing, where around 90 guests wore lanyards that alerted them when another person was within 1.5 metres.

Attendees included ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr and Canberra Airport CEO Stephen Byron, according to the Canberra Convention Bureau.

The e-badge was developed by Harry the Hirer, and ‘discreetly vibrates’ to alert the user when social distancing is not being adhered to.

The NCCC’s general manager Stephen Wood said there is “great potential for this technology to assist in reinstating confidence for meeting planners and attendees looking to organise and attend events in Canberra”.

“As one of the largest purpose-built meetings and events venues in Canberra, we’re thrilled to be trialling this technology for the first time in Australia,” he said.

Although not a fail-safe method for enforcing social distancing, the badge is being touted as an “additional tool” to ensure people feel safe when attending public gatherings, alongside sanitising, handing washing and signage outlining COVID-safe practices.

The Canberra Convention Bureau’s CEO Michael Matthews said the initative would individuals control their own environment and personal space, which could be particularly useful in the ACT.

“[It] presents another tangible, practical measure to help people feel comfortable in participating in events,” he said. “I see application for venues, institutions, and galleries to use the platform to assist with gatherings, tours and staff.

“Canberra is a modern city with many open spaces that are congestion free and offer highly controllable environments to plan events and delegate movement.”

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