Open Banking fintech Adatree has created a Covid hotspot analysis that turns contact tracing into real time alerts

- October 12, 2021 3 MIN READ
Adatree, Shane Doolan. Jill Berry
Adatree co-founders Shane Doolan and Jill Berry
Consumer data right (CDR) startup Adatree, which is powering fintechs in open banking, has built a real-time capability alert system to warn people if they’ve just bought something at a Covid-19 exposure site.

As NSW opens up once again, with Victoria to follow within weeks, and politicians saying we must “leave to live” with the pandemic amid ongoing infections, Adatree CEO and co-founder Jill Berry has created the free Covid Hotspot Alert that leverages card purchase data with data-matching AI technology.

The banking data is cross-mated using AI with Covid location data from health authorities. Once a user provides consent for Adatree to collect its data for matching, the service will continuously analyse data in the background and alert users when they are at risk.

The Covid alert project is complementary to government QR code check-in systems and does not replace them.

Berry was inspired to create Australia’s first non-financial services use case of CDR from personal experience.

“A friend of mine visited an exposure site in Sydney, but didn’t receive an alert of it being a location of concern until a week later,” she said.

“Covid Hotspot Alert is our way to help keep the community safe – think of it as your personal contact tracer.”

The free service sends users who made a card purchase at a hotspot venue or suburb a text message alerting them of their exposure.

It’s initially available to NSW residents outside of Greater Sydney, but Berry plans to introduce Victoria and Queensland by the end of the month, and says it has the capability to expand quickly into other states where hotspot alert data exists.


Data for good

Berry said it’s the country’s first example of data for good to help keep the community safe and better informed.

“Using our technology for better consumer outcomes is currently one of the biggest priorities, and as part of our company DNA, we wanted to use our pioneering and regulated technology to support what the government is already doing,” she said.

“Despite our Governments taking strong measures to keep the community safe, there are opportunities to improve the alert system using technology. For instance, not everyone scans the QR code to check in – some people simply forget – and contact tracing is a manual process, so it’s understandable that receiving results can be slow and delayed. It is also difficult for people to keep up with the long list of exposure sites.”

Currently, the public experiences NSW Health Alert delays of up to four days behind exposure sites warning customers and staff, due to its manual nature.

Covid Hotspot Alert provides a faster and more reliable solution to those delays – in 0.03% of the time of a manual contact tracer.

The Adatree founder said technology companies have an obligation to use technology and data for good.

“At Adatree, we are champions of using the Consumer Data Right to benefit the public, not just for commercial purposes,” Berry said.

“As one of only a handful of companies who are active data recipients, Adatree is pleased to provide this free service to help fast-track contact tracing results.”


CDR potential

The move was praised by digital economy minister Jane Hume.

“It’s really exciting, and a terrific initiative by Adatree. It may be the first but I’m confident this won’t be the last,,” she said.

“Open banking is already up and running, and thousands of Australians have already consented for their banks to safely and securely share their data with an accredited third party to deliver a better service.

“We’ve said from the outset that the Consumer Data Right is about empowering Australians, putting them in charge of their own data. Here we can see a prime example of that – Australians using their data for health and community protection.”

The service is currently in its Public Beta Phase, and users can join the waitlist via covidhotspotalert.com.au.

Once accepted, they’re sent an email linking to a consent registration form which grants Adatree access to use their data only for the purpose of receiving hotspot alerts.

People can revoke their consent at any time if they choose to do so. Once registered, users will only receive a text message when somewhere they have made a card purchase is later deemed a venue or location of concern.

Adatree is a fintech B2B company at the forefront of Open Banking and is Australia’s only accredited and active intermediary of the CDR.

It was co-founded by former Tyro Payments and Volt Bank employees, Jill Berry and Shane Doolan in 2019.

​The initiative comes ahead of the government’s plans to roll out CDR into the telecommunications and energy sectors.

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