CIL supports Tharsus with launch of social distancing system

09 June 2020 4 min. read

CIL Management Consultants has supported Tharsus with a strategic market mapping exercise for its social distancing product, Bump. The wearable is designed to help businesses get employees back to work as Britain’s lock-down eases.

The UK’s measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 look to be easing in some areas as June gets under way. While non-essential businesses gradually reopening after spending the last few months closed down, there is still a long way to go in terms of getting back to ‘normal’, however. In order to prevent the changes simply resulting in a second wave of Covid-19, collaboration and coordination will be necessary on the part of businesses to protect the health and wellbeing of staff.

Bump is a wearable product designed to help businesses get back to work as stringent lockdown measures are lifted, while keeping employees protected by observing social distancing rules. It has been designed for use in workplaces such as building sites and warehouses and notifies the wearer – by issuing a sound or light alert – when they come within two metres of another person. Its central reporting and data analytics functionality also helps management teams identify locational pinch-points and employees training requirements.CIL supports Tharsus with launch of social distancing systemCreated by technology firm Tharsus, Bump’s creation was supported by CIL Management Consultants. Tharsus took the idea of Bump from initial conception in the first few weeks of the Covid-19 crisis, to production just eight weeks later, an agility CIL played a key role in supporting, providing insight and analysis into the corporate landscape and mapping the scale of the market opportunity.

Jon Whiteman, Partner and Industrials lead with CIL, said, “With some form of social distancing expected to be in place for at least a year, products like Bump provide a crucial service in supporting business and helping the economy ramp back up again. CIL is proud to have advised such an innovative and agile company which is using its expertise to help industry navigate the current landscape.”

As well as alerting wearers, the Bump system can be used by employers to monitor the interactions taking place, providing additional insight into movement throughout the workplace and the intelligence to inform social-distancing measures. The data produced by Bump is limited to the time, severity and frequency of interactions, fully encrypted, and only available to individual wearers and their employers.

Tharsus CEO, Brian Palmer, said, “CIL has supported Tharsus many times over the years and once again they provided great clarity and insight to the challenges and opportunities presented to us. The timeframes were tight from inception to product launch, but CIL were quick to respond and delivered high quality analysis within days.”

Workplace monitoring

The news comes as employers look to introduce a range of new digital monitoring of their staff in the wake of Covid-19 – a trend that has not been universally celebrated. Privacy experts fear that the situation may be leveraged by some bosses to further infringe on the privacy of their workforce, or enforce new measures unrelated to the coronavirus pandemic altogether. Research from Data & Society has found that data collected by monitoring technologies has historically been used to inform automated assessments about workers’ behaviours, qualities, or fitness for employment, increasing the potential for workplace discrimination.

The rise of remote working amid the lock-down could also see these technologies encroach on workers’ home lives. An example recently reported by came from a client alert of the law firm Ropes & Gray. It recommended that “employers might consider rules that, at least for the near future, do not allow employees who report to a physical workplace to engage in leisure or other activities with [anyone] other than co-habiting family members.”

Requiring contact tracing and location tracking could very well be used to enforce these kinds of restrictions, especially in countries or regions without extra legal protections against employer GPS tracking or regulation of off-duty conduct. Meanwhile, the increasingly precarious nature of employment could see few workers able to resist such measures being enforced – whether or not they are made explicitly mandatory.