IoTrace: A Flexible, Efficient, and Privacy-Preserving IoT-Enabled Architecture for Contact Tracing

Pietro Tedeschi, Spiridon Bakiras, Roberto Di Pietro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Contact tracing promises to help fight the spread of COVID-19 via an early detection of possible contagion events. To this end, most existing solutions share the following architecture: smartphones continuously broadcast random beacons that are intercepted by nearby devices and stored into their local contact logs. In this article, we propose an IoT-enabled architecture for contact tracing that relaxes the smartphone-centric assumption, and provides a solution that enjoys the following features: it reduces the overhead on the end user to the bare minimum - the mobile device only broadcasts its beacons; it provides the user with a degree of privacy not achieved by competing solutions - even in the most privacy adverse scenario, the solution provides k-anonymity; and it is flexible: the same architecture can be configured to support several models - ranging from fully decentralized to fully centralized ones - and the system parameters can be tuned to support the tracing of several social interaction models. What is more, our proposal can also be adopted to tackle future human-proximity transmissible diseases. Finally, we also highlight open issues and discuss a number of future research directions at the intersection of IoT and contact tracing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9475175
Pages (from-to)82-88
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Communications Magazine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
SPIRIDON BAKIRAS is an associate professor of cybersecurity at HBKU-CSE. His research interests include security and privacy, applied cryptography, and spatiotemporal databases. He held teaching and research positions at Michigan Technological University, the City University of New York, the University of Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He is a recipient of the U.S. National Science Foundation CAREER award.

Funding Information:
AcknoWledgMents The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers who helped improve the quality of the article. This publication was partially supported by awards NPRP 11S-0109-180242 from the QNRF-Qatar National Research Fund, a member of The Qatar Foundation. The information and views set out in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the QNRF.

Publisher Copyright:
© 1979-2012 IEEE.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'IoTrace: A Flexible, Efficient, and Privacy-Preserving IoT-Enabled Architecture for Contact Tracing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this