The current health crisis has lead Royal Caribbean to file a new trademark for something that sounds like a contact tracing bracelet concept.
Royal Caribbean has filed a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for "Tracelet".
The trademark lists the description of the trademark simply as:
A tracelet seems to be made of rubber or silicone, which is exactly the same material as the cruise line's WOWBands, which debuted in 2014 as RFID wristbands.
The exact purpose of a tracelet was not explained in the trademark, and it is not clear if it will be used for contact tracing at all. The name seems to indicate it could be used for that purpose.
The trademark was filed on October 19, 2020, and is intended for cruise ship services. The trademark lists it as jewelry, as well as"Receptacles" and "Horological Instruments".
Trademark applications usually quite vague in regard to their intended use, so it remains to be seen precisely how it will be used, if at all.
Royal Caribbean registed a trademark for its own brand of face mask, but ended up deciding not to do anything with it.
Wearable devices for all guests
While the trademark is vague, Royal Caribbean's new rules clearly indicate that a wearable device will be provided to all guests.
"Contact tracing is an important part of our enhanced protocols to keep all our guests and crew safe. Each guest will be provided with a wearable device that allows rapid tracing in the event it is necessary."
Based on the description provided by Royal Caribbean, the device may work with the TraceTogether app.
"The TraceTogether App installed on their smartphones or keep their TraceTogether token with them for the duration of their sailing"
Contact tracing part of new cruise protocols
Contact tracing is a major component to the cruise industry's plan to restart cruising, as outlined in the Healthy Sail Panel's 74 recommendations.
The blue ribbon panel of health experts recommended Royal Caribbean "identify all potential cases on board using robust contact tracing". Part of mitigating the spread of an infection onboard is to determine who else might have been exposed. Contact tracing is one of the critical methods of identifying who these individuals might be.
The Panel also made a recommendation to employ different methods of collecting contact tracing data, including "collecting potential exposure data from cruise line-provided wearable devices."
"Potential contact tracing methodologies include, but are not limited to: identifying guest location/exposure by pulling transaction data, collecting information about potential exposure from applications utilizing Bluetooth technology, collecting potential exposure data from cruise line-provided wearable devices, using video analytics and facial recognition to determine exposure risk, and conducting interviews with suspected cases."
It remains to be seen if tracelets will be those wearable devices, and how they will function, but the trademark indicates a potential direction for the cruise line in developing an overall strategy.