Some discussions are going on after PM announced that we need to pay for MySejahtera app backdated from April 2021 (not 2022). Many techies wonder what the final price is? Some citizens wonder why do we need to pay for a CSR project.
I don’t have many details on the original deal, but, KPISoft is a company with a track recording building HR system, and they build MySejahtera based on the same engine. They turn it into a contact tracing app. This CSR project has an initial duration of one year.
The cost to develop an app
When we talk about the cost, many will just look at the development cost. The app development cost aside, there are few things we need to consider:
1) storage – we need a database to store the check-in, check out activities of the business activities. This is massive. Like really big data.
2) bandwidth – the bandwidth to upload the data and download the data by other ministries and agencies for analytics and decision making.
3) maintenance and support – a dedicated team to ensure the app is working fine on as many devices as it can support.
Why it seems MySejahtera is using some old technologies?
The technology behind is certainly not the most sophisticated if you see it from a tech point of view. That’s the whole purpose. We want to make sure the most people are able to use it no matter what type of smart phones you are using. So far, My parents, my friends, and the uncles aunties at the market, are able to use it with minimum frictions. It serves its purpose.
We should look at contact tracing as a whole and not just looking at MySejahtera app, which is only the front face UI. It will be good to see the tracing, vaccination, reporting, and testing, are all linked and centralised into one single app.
Some other considerations will be using technologies like Bluetooth tracing. Bluetooth is more privacy-preserving and less invasive compared to GPS. This way we can give users and venue owner more control about their surrounding, for instance, notifying people when the maximum number of people allowed is reaching its limit in a place, especially in a large confined space.
Room for improvements
We need to strike a balance between the speed and the reliability. For example, when we were having 20k cases per day, then there is no point to keep reminding us that we are in the red zone. Most of the places are in red zones anyway.
Something more helpful will be the change of status. It gives us some encouragement if we go from red to yellow or yellow to green. And alert us that we should be more alert when it goes from yellow to red.
That is something relatively easy to implement, and will really benefit users. At this point of time we are kind of knowing and seen what is the best and worst case.
Of course, a checkout reminder will be nice, so that I wouldn’t be seen staying overnight at a restaurant.
I personally don’t have any concerns with the app. We start to see more data released by the government and also more ministries are using data to make decisions. This is a good and healthy sign.
As an app, I hope MySejahtera provides more features to the location owners. When an outbreak happened in a place whether it’s a restaurant, hair salon, they are the ones who suffered.
As we are slowly moving towards endemic. We need to be aware on the security features to protect our personal and privacy data. I hope to see the developers to quickly solve the problem of updating the vaccine cert. There should also be some penalty mechanisms for impersonating identity just to get entrance to a venue.
Additional rules such as including a photo, that you can only change once every 7 days will be nice too.
It takes everyone’s effort to unite and adapt to the new normal as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, let’s hold on to our opinions until there is more information available. I do agree that few things can be improved here and there. For example, notifications on status change and reminders to checkout. So that you won’t stay overnight at mamak.
There are also other discussions in the interview. Including the best practices of contact tracing and what are our next steps. Check out the Astro Awani page for the full interview.