Adam Fowler, VMware Platform Architect and Herald Maintainer, found his week turned suddenly upside down. An unexpected but welcome email meant he needed to rearrange his schedule, find matching shoes, arrange for travel to Glasgow, and be ready to take the stage. All so that he could accept OpenUK’s top software project award for Project Herald.
OpenUK, a not-for-profit industry organization, advocates for the three “Opens” that comprise open technology: open source software, open source hardware and open data. Each year, the OpenUK awards recognize and celebrate U.K. leadership in the field of Open Technology. On a whim last August, Adam submitted Project Herald for consideration and was rewarded for his submission when he accepted the top award in November.
Project Herald was released by VMware Fall 2020 on GitHub as the COVID-19 pandemic tightened its grip on the world. Herald started as an open source Bluetooth protocol, intended to improve the accuracy and efficacy of contact tracing using mobile devices. It helps to solve risk estimation problems by detecting nearby phones, providing regular distance readings, and furnishing a common packet header to allow international interoperability. Within four months of its initial release, Herald formally became part of Linux Foundation for Public Health.
With the power of the open source community behind it, Herald continues to evolve and improve. The Australian Government’s CovidSafe application, and the Alberta Trace Together application, are among applications that were developed in cooperation with the Herald community contributors. Today, Herald can be found on more than 7 million phones. In August 2021, GovTech Singapore donated the OpenTrace code and name to the Herald Project, greatly expanding and enhancing the project’s capabilities.
We’re proud of Adam and the entire Herald team and the outstanding work of LFPH — and we look forward to the next six months. If the past is any indicator of the future, there’s sure to be more exciting news to come.
Hear, Hear for Herald!