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Community COVID management solution

KPMG developed a mobile app for self-reporting COVID-19 symptoms, providing asymptomatic users with a digital pass for campus access.

An informed response to the threat against health and safety

Like many institutions, this nationally recognized university suddenly faced the unprecedented challenge of how to enable the safe return of its students, faculty and staff in the face of the almost overnight appearance of the COVID-19 pandemic. Balancing safety with its mission to provide a rich learning environment would require the university to monitor the health of every person who would access its campus and to deliver information and other resources to the community to help people make informed decisions. The client chose KPMG to develop a feature-rich mobile app to help them respond to the challenge.

Challenge: Getting back to school

With more than 33,000 students and 10,000 faculty and staff due to return to campus in just a few weeks in the midst of the COVID pandemic, a nationally recognized university needed a way to balance the safety of its community with its mission to provide a rich learning environment.

Solution: App-based tracking

We helped design and deploy a mobile app that enables users to self-report COVID symptoms and provides asymptomatic users with a digital pass that allows them to enter classrooms and other campus facilities, including sporting events. It provides automatic contact tracing of individuals who test positive and automatically handles public health reporting requirements.

Results: Fast deployment

By using leading technologies and our own proprietary tools and accelerators, KPMG was able to design and deploy the first release of the app in just six weeks. With the university reporting 100 percent user adoption, its students, faculty and staff were able to return to campus safely.

Testing, tracing and technology: reopening colleges during COVID

Speed to Modern Tech Podcast Series, Episode 2

Host Tori Weldon dives into the problem of safely reopening campus and how a progressive web application helped bring back in person learning.

Enabling technologies

  • Progressive web apps
  • Virtual private cloud
  • API management
  • Cloud and on-premise integrations
  • Reporting and analytics


There were four key requirements that we had to address:

Speed — With classes set to resume in just a few weeks, the project had to move quickly from inception to deployment. We had to consider skill and resource constraints post deployment, too — there wouldn’t be time, for example, to assemble a university DevSecOps team to manage the app or its infrastructure.

Flexibility — The rapidly changing nature of the pandemic — especially in the first few months — meant that design flexibility was essential. Initial feature requirements were a constantly moving target given how quickly public health recommendations were evolving, and it was assumed that they would remain equally dynamic post launch.

Scalability — More than 33,000 students and 10,000 faculty and staff would use the app daily, so scalability was essential. The app would have to handle high volumes of traffic at peak times — between 7am and 9am, for example, as users would complete their morning check-ins.

Adoption — To be effective, the app had to be used by every student and employee who would access the campus each day. This meant that it had to be relevant, compelling, easy to obtain and use, and accessible from anywhere.

Our response

Given these constraints, we designed and developed a mobile progressive web app using the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Lambda “serverless” infrastructure. AWS was the cloud service provider already chosen by the client.

Higher education, research and other not-for-profits

Unlike native mobile apps, which are written in complex languages such as Java or Swift and can require lengthy approval cycles before being added to a platform’s app store, progressive apps are developed using open web standards (HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, etc.). They are easily downloaded from a website and can be installed in seconds on virtually every current mobile operating system, including iOS and Android. And they can be updated remotely with new features or content without any user action required.

KPMG handled the complete design and development process, including architecture and design, UI/UX design, the development of all front-end and backend system components, agile project management and Scrum team staffing, testing and cloud operations, including tuning and optimizations.

The technology

The mobile app wasdeveloped using the Angular 2 framework, an open-source solution designed to speed development of progressive web apps using HTML and JavaScript.

On the backend, we employed our suite of digital accelerators to quickly integrate the app with several of the university’s existing systems, including its on-premise Active Directory for Single Sign-On, its cloud-based Student Information System and its care management system for COVID-19 test scheduling and reporting. Tableau is used for detailed reporting and analysis.

The back end was developed in a Virtual Private Cloud hosted in AWS, accessible only via an API gateway after authentication with Active Directory. In addition to speeding development, AWS S3 object-based data storage and Cognito solutions provide secure, role-based data access, especially important given the sensitive personal health information that the system is handling. And by using the AWS Lambda serverless model, including its Relational Databases Service for MySQL, the university doesn’t have to deal with any servers or system administration — provisioning, monitoring, scaling, replication, backups, patching, etc., are all managed “behind the scenes” by AWS as part of the subscription.


Working closely with the university’s team, KPMG was able to design and deploy the first release of the app in just 6 weeks. With the university reporting 100 percent user adoption, its students, faculty and staff were able to return to campus safely.

On the heels of this app, we were asked to develop a separate app designed specifically to handle visitors to the university’s sporting events, including football games in its more-than-50,000-seat stadium. By integrating with the university’s ticket sales solution, the app was designed to provide day-of access to tickets only to users who report no COVID symptoms.


Because we’re platform and technology agnostic, we were free to help our client choose the right technologies to solve its business challenge instead of trying to mold the challenge around a specific solution.

Our teams of technology professionals are skilled and experienced with a diverse array of leading platforms and technologies such as those used in this app. They’re backed by our strategic alliances with leading solution providers, including Microsoft, Salesforce, ServiceNow, Oracle and Google, which help to train and certify our professionals.

Our ability to handle the entire process, from requirements gathering through design and deployment, using leading project management practices such as agile, helped to speed deployment and reduce risk for the client. We also were able to use our own suite of proprietary tools and accelerators, which helped to shorten the development cycles.

Speed to Modern Technology

Over the last dozen-plus years, we’ve built a leading technology organization designed specifically to help information technology leaders succeed at the pace business now demands.

Unlike business-only consultancies, our more than 15,000 technology professionals have the resources, engineering experience, battle-tested tools and close alliances with leading technology providers to deliver on your vision — quickly, efficiently and reliably. And unlike technology-only firms, we have the business credentials and sector experience to help you deliver measurable business results, not just blinking lights.

Meet our team

Accelerating business transformation requires speed of insights and deep expertise.

Our professionals immerse themselves in your organization, applying industry knowledge, powerful solutions and innovative technology to deliver sustainable results. Whether it’s helping you lead an ESG integration, risk mitigation or digital transformation, KPMG creates tailored data-driven solutions that help you deliver value, drive innovation and build stakeholder trust.

Image of Werner Vanzyl
Werner Vanzyl
Director, Architect, Lighthouse, KPMG US

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