CALGARY -- A Calgary company says it has developed technology that could help medium-to-large companies keep their workers safely on site through the pandemic.

Tektelic Communications engineers refocused their work on a safe alert panic button, and a warehouse freight tracing app, combining the two into a small wearable device they call the Distance Guard Device. (DGD).

The DGD tracks how often, and how close wearers come in contact with others also wearing the device. The developers envision companies like warehouses, meat packing plants and hospitals outfitting employees with the devices, which can then be used to trace any close contacts in the event of a COVID-19 infection in the workplace.

“It also has  the ability to do proximity awareness of those contacts,” said Tektelic vice-president Barney Barnowski, “so whether or not you are within six feet, three feet away from another person will be able to a capture that distance, and create that trace, but also be able to provide you with a little bit of notification that you are getting within the proximity of another person.”

The DGD is not designed to replace either the federal or provincial contact tracing app; rather it is aimed at helping employers keep better track of their employees' health and physical contacts within the workplace.

Introducing such devices to a workplace comes accompanied with privacy concerns, Barnowski conceded.

“A lot of the concern is around data privacy and privacy of where people are, but really only your HR manager or the HR organisation should have access to this data,” said Barnowski “So say someone does in fact, end up with COVID-19. That's when they can open up the database and trace through the tree of who you've been in contact with and for how long.”


The company is ramping up production to fill orders from around the world.

“All the devices are manufactured here in Calgary, and then shipped around the world to our global customers," said Telktelic marketing manager Jack Stuart  "We're at a point now where we're able to confidently fulfill large volume orders that we can ship out globally ... within a couple weeks. (after receipt).”

The Tektelic DGD  devices, which are worn like a company nametag,  operate on a battery which requires a recharge every three to six months,  and costs between $30 and  $40 per unit.