SupplyAlly app helps to distribute 4.2M masks.
As governments across the globe grapple with COVID-19, Singapore’s Ministry of Trade & Industry (MTI) and People’s Association (PA), work with Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech) to build an app in four days.
Minister-in-charge of GovTech, Dr Janil Puthucheary said the mobile app, named SupplyAlly, was delivered on time to be used by volunteers at residents’ committees and community centres, with minimal training for volunteers to start using the mobile app.
Chow Ruijie, a software engineer at GovTech said there is no need for volunteers to input their personal information, or identity card details for authorisation. The camera on the mobile phone is then activated, and volunteers can begin scanning the identity cards of individuals who show up to collect their reusable masks.
“The QR code login method solves a very fundamental design problem in that it doesn’t require PA to register every single volunteer before deploying them,” he said. “If a new volunteer shows up, PA can just pass him or her a barcode to authorise the use of the app. This speeds up the onboarding process and grants PA more flexibility in managing volunteers on the ground.”
Because the QR codes are permanently affiliated with the device that scanned them, they can even be discarded without fear of someone else using them for unauthorised logins, said Ruijie.
Users concerned about data privacy also have nothing to worry about when their identity cards are scanned with SupplyAlly at the mask collection points.
No personally-identifiable information is stored by the SupplyAlly app—instead, a timestamped digital signature is generated, indicating that the app has ‘seen’ the identity card barcode before.
Since its launch, SupplyAlly has allowed PA to manage hundreds of volunteers and distribute 4.2 million reusable masks. Owing to the app’s lightweight build and minimal integrations, it could process transactions extremely rapidly—”up to 4,500 transactions per second, with a 50-millisecond response latency”.
Although mask distribution was the first operation that relied on SupplyAlly, the GovTech team notes that the mobile app is relevant to other situations requiring large-scale coordination of manpower and accounting of resources or supplies.
“By leveraging cloud technologies and working across multiple development environments while adopting an agile approach to software engineering,” stated GovTech.