Expleo and QUB provide 'quality testing' for StopCOVID NI app

  • The StopCOVID NI app is the world’s first cross-border tracker device operable between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

    Belfast quality assurance expert, Expleo dedicated more than 1,000 hours to testing the app in Northern Ireland.

    The app was built using the same technology and design as the Republic of Ireland’s COVID Tracker app, which Expleo’s team was also heavily involved in.

    For the Northern Ireland app, Expleo was responsible for ensuring it was user-friendly, reliable and capable of sending and receiving anonymised data to and from both the NI and ROI app versions.

    Users will be notified if they have had close sustained contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19, regardless of which application they are using.

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    Testing was carried out to ensure that a user’s surroundings did not negatively impact the performance of the app, and it was also tested on public transport to ensure that users only received notifications when appropriate.

    Other quality tests included:

    Performance testing – Expleo carried out load testing to ensure that large volumes of people could download the app at the same time without causing it to crash.

    Exposure Notification Distance Testing – As devices have varying Bluetooth signal strengths, Expleo tested varying attenuation values to maximise compliance with requirements.

    Database Validation – Testers ensured that users’ anonymised data, gathered from downloads and registrations, was populated in the database without interfering with the anonymised data of other users.

    Graphical user interface (GUI) testing – Expleo tested the look and feel of the app, ensuring user-friendly navigation; the correct and reliable function of buttons; and that all content and text matched requirements.

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    Dan West, Chief Digital Information Officer for NI’s Department of Health said that the “app is an essential next step to successfully reopening Northern Ireland” and “offers even more protection - particularly for those living in the border regions.”

    Scott Armstrong, director at Expleo added: “We have been very pleased to see such high volumes of people downloading the Republic of Ireland’s version and we hope that the app will be similarly embraced in Northern Ireland so that we can all work together to stem the spread of COVID-19.”

    Researchers from Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) are also providing independent oversight to the StopCOVID NI team, on areas such as cybersecurity and software engineering.

    A spokesperson for QUB said that a vital aspect of building public confidence in the app is that, when the Covid-19 pandemic is declared officially ended, the Expert Advisory Group should provide guidance and assurance that the project has been decommissioned, with appropriate deletion of any remaining data in line with GDPR requirements.

    RELATED: UK Government admits test and trace programme is in breach of data protection law

    To find out more about the StopCOVID NI app check out www.health-ni.gov.uk/news/new-mobile-app-stopcovid-ni.

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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