Cyber-physical spatial temporal analytics for digital twin-enabled smart contact tracing

Zhiheng Zhao, Ray Y. Zhong, Yong Hong Kuo, Yelin Fu, G. Q. Huang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Physical gatherings at social events have been found as one of the main causes of COVID-19 transmission all over the world. Smartphone has been used for contact tracing by exchanging messages through Bluetooth signals. However, recent confirmed cases found in venues indicated that indirect transmission of the causative virus occurred, resulting from virus contamination of common objects, virus aerosolization in a confined space or spread from inadequate ventilation environment with no indication of human direct or close contact observed. Design/methodology/approach: This paper presents a novel cyber-physical architecture for spatial temporal analytics (iGather for short). Locations with time windows are modeled as digital chromosomes in cyberspace to represent human activity instances in the physical world. Findings: Results show that the high spatial temporal correlated but indirect tracing can be realized through the deployment of physical hardware and spatial temporal analytics including mobility and traceability analytics. iGather is tested and verified in different spatial temporal correlated cases. From a management perspective of mobilizing social capacity, the venue plays not only a promotion role in boosting the utilization rates but also a supervision-assisted role for keeping the venue in a safe and healthy situation. Social implications: This research is of particular significance when physical distancing measures are being relaxed with situations gradually become contained. iGather is able to help the general public to ease open questions: Is a venue safe enough? Is there anyone at a gathering at risk? What should one do when someone gets infected without raising privacy issues? Originality/value: This study contributes to the existing literature by cyber-physical spatial temporal analytics to trace COVID-19 indirect contacts through digital chromosome, a representation of digital twin technology. Also, the authors have proposed a venue-oriented management perspective to resolve privacy-preserving and unitization rate concerns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1082-1106
Number of pages25
JournalIndustrial Management and Data Systems
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Analytics
  • Contact tracing
  • Cyber-physical systems
  • Digital twins
  • Spatial temporal correlation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Industrial relations
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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