Social distancing for retailers using SMS

This post introduces an Auron SMS Server case study that enables bars and retail shops to enforce social distancing rules through the use of SMS.

The case study contains everything needed to setup and test the application. The only things you will need is a windows PC and a couple of minutes. You can use the SMS Server trial version as well as the test and demonstration SMS gateway.

Covid-19, the new Corona virus, is currently wreaking havoc in most of the world. Especially for bars, retailers and other businesses that normally cater to groups of people. Fortunately it looks like more and more businesses are now able to open up again as long as they can keep at least 1.5 meter distance between customers. This is challenging because a lot of businesses have don’t have enough space available to guarantee this distance.

In the case study we propose a kind of reservation system where a customer sends an SMS to request a time to shop and the system automatically schedules the customer to a time slot. An example SMS exchange would look like this:

SMS social distancing example
SMS social distancing example

Basically the reservation system needs only these inputs:

  • The maximum number of customers that can be inside the location (shop or bar) at one time
  • The average length of time a customer spends inside
  • The opening times of the store, shop or bar.

Based on this the system is able to automatically schedule visits. When a customers sends an SMS with a time proposal the system will try to fit the customer in within an hour of the proposal. Failing that the system will inform the customer and ask the customer to try proposing a different time.

To get started setting up such a system yourself please read the full case study here. If you need any help setting this up for yourself don’t hesitate to contact us. Of course we’re also available for any customization if needed.