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  • By Dana Casadei

Varchasvi Shankar

As companies started to shut down due to the coronavirus, Varchasvi Shankar began working on the best and safest way to bring people back to offices and factories. Through Sqwirrel LLC, a subsidiary of Shanker’s company, V2Soft – which he is the founder, president and CEO of – they created the patent-pending app, CompanyTRAK. “What it does is it helps in managing the primary exposure with employees within an organization,” Shankar said. “It’s very neat.” Since their founding in 1998, V2Soft, headquartered in Bloomfield Hills but with locations all over the world, has always been about more than just providing high performance IT solutions. “It’s a passion of mine to build software applications,” he said. “It’s a passion of mine to solve real world problems with technology solutions.” Other ways his company has been able to do just that have been through, a patent-pending social fundraising platform for non-profits. But right now, the focus is on CompanyTRAK. How it works is employees can download the app through their company’s Enterprise App Stores, which Sqwirrel LLC distributes CompanyTRAK to. From there, companies are able to let their employees use the app from their corporate provided devices or personal devices. The app is not available via Apple or Google play stores. Once the app is downloaded, all employees need to do is download it and make sure it’s connected to bluetooth. The app will do the rest. “Say I’m in contact with 10 people in my office for meetings or walking by the hallway, it tracks the people in my company I’ve interacted with over the last 14 days,” said Shankar, who mentioned it only tracks those people have come within six feet of their device. If any employee becomes positive for the coronavirus, they are able to push a button in the app that activates an authorization code to make sure it wasn’t by accident. From there, CompanyTRAK will notify every other individual who has been exposed to that person in the last 14 days. A positive diagnosis notification can be sent out through a company’s human resources department or the app itself. Due to it's geofencing, CompanyTRAK only tracks people once inside the building where they work. Everything is kept confidential. They also consulted with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and legal experts. For employees without a cell phone or one that’s unable to download the app, Shanker has a solution for that too – bluetooth tags that they can carry around while at work. How have companies reacted to CompanyTRAK? Enthusiastically. “I think people are super excited. They all want to do the pilot,” Shankar said. “Any time we tell someone we have something like this they ask if they can use it.” Originally, though, this wasn’t the app the team had planned on releasing. That was ViralTRAK, which they were hoping to have available via the Apple and Google play stores. According to Shankar, those two play stores have policies that no longer allow coronavirus apps to be released to the public unless it comes directly from a government agency. But there is hope the app might be able to reach the public. Shankar said they have already sent it to Governor Whitmer, and would like ViralTRAK to be free for all Michiganders, if released. “I’m sure she has so many other, bigger battles,” he laughed. “At some point, if they come back to us, I would love to release it to the public.” Photo: Laurie Tennent

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