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Cyber-physical spatial temporal analytics for digital twin-enabled smart contact tracing

Zhiheng Zhao (School of Internet of Things, Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications, Nanjing, China) (Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China)
Ray Y. Zhong (Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China)
Yong-Hong Kuo (Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China)
Yelin Fu (School of Intelligent Systems Science and Engineering, Jinan University (Zhuhai Campus), Zhuhai, China) (Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China)
G.Q. Huang (Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China)

Industrial Management & Data Systems

ISSN: 0263-5577

Article publication date: 16 March 2021

Issue publication date: 30 April 2021

393

Abstract

Purpose

Physical gatherings at social events have been found as one of the main causes of COVID-19 transmission all over the world. Smartphone has been used for contact tracing by exchanging messages through Bluetooth signals. However, recent confirmed cases found in venues indicated that indirect transmission of the causative virus occurred, resulting from virus contamination of common objects, virus aerosolization in a confined space or spread from inadequate ventilation environment with no indication of human direct or close contact observed.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents a novel cyber-physical architecture for spatial temporal analytics (iGather for short). Locations with time windows are modeled as digital chromosomes in cyberspace to represent human activity instances in the physical world.

Findings

Results show that the high spatial temporal correlated but indirect tracing can be realized through the deployment of physical hardware and spatial temporal analytics including mobility and traceability analytics. iGather is tested and verified in different spatial temporal correlated cases. From a management perspective of mobilizing social capacity, the venue plays not only a promotion role in boosting the utilization rates but also a supervision-assisted role for keeping the venue in a safe and healthy situation.

Social implications

This research is of particular significance when physical distancing measures are being relaxed with situations gradually become contained. iGather is able to help the general public to ease open questions: Is a venue safe enough? Is there anyone at a gathering at risk? What should one do when someone gets infected without raising privacy issues?

Originality/value

This study contributes to the existing literature by cyber-physical spatial temporal analytics to trace COVID-19 indirect contacts through digital chromosome, a representation of digital twin technology. Also, the authors have proposed a venue-oriented management perspective to resolve privacy-preserving and unitization rate concerns.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge the COVID-19 Action Seed Funding from Faculty of Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province (Grant No. BK20180749), Natural Science Research of the Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions of China (Grant No. 19KJB580016).

Citation

Zhao, Z., Zhong, R.Y., Kuo, Y.-H., Fu, Y. and Huang, G.Q. (2021), "Cyber-physical spatial temporal analytics for digital twin-enabled smart contact tracing", Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 121 No. 5, pp. 1082-1106. https://doi.org/10.1108/IMDS-11-2020-0634

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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