The new contact tracing mobile app to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 could "potentially" avoid the need for future lockdowns but only if a high number of people download it.
Stop Covid NI will launch towards the end of next week once it has been made available in the Google and Apple app stores, and has been described as a "world first" in terms of how the app can work across borders by one of its designers.
The proximity app will anonymously alert users if they have been in close contact with another user who has tested positive for the virus.
Through Bluetooth, the app will exchange non-identifiable numbers with other smartphones so it can track who has been in contact with who - something which smartphones already do.
Users are not required to enter any personal information and if someone did receive a positive Covid-19 test, it is solely up to them if they wish to enter that into the app.
If you were in close contact with someone who later enters their unique positive test code, you will receive a notification telling you that you were in close contact with that person and offers advice on what to do.
Northern Ireland will be the first part of the UK to have a contact tracing app, while the Republic of Ireland launched theirs earlier this month. Both apps were designed by Co Waterford company NearForm.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Stephen Shaw from Big Motive, the company that designed the app, explained that there is a "real concern" amongst those involved in its development that the general public may not be aware just how useful the contact tracing service could be.
"You're talking about avoiding potential future lockdowns," he stated. "All of the code, information and everything about the app will be open sourced and public.
"Anyone that's worried about it tracking them will be able to access everything about the app and see and check that it's not doing anything untoward.
"The Information Commissioner's Office has been through everything. The higher echelons of the UK Government has scrutinised all elements of it too.
"People can be genuinely confident that it's not doing anything dodgy."
The app is compatible with the contact tracing service available in the Republic of Ireland and is expected to work with the app being created by the NHS in Great Britain.
Mr Shaw explained that this is due to a federated server which is currently being developed for the app.
This server will also allow the app to work with other European countries who have a tracing service in the same format, something Mr Shaw called a "world first".
When asked why Northern Ireland will be the first country in the United Kingdom to launch the app, Mr Shaw praised the work of the Department of Health's (DoH) Chief Digital Information Officer, Dan West, and the app's product manager, Dr Eddie O'Neill.
"Dan West is leading the project and he has been super dynamic and extremely good at bringing together all different aspects like the DoH and the Public Health Agency," he said.
"Along with Dr Eddie O'Neill, the pair of them seem to have a great handle on the subtleties of what technology should be used. The two of them have been instrumental."
Meanwhile, Health Minister Robin Swann has asked his cross-border counterpart to consider new laws and data-sharing agreements to help track international travellers arriving on the island.
Mr Swann has written to Stephen Donnelly expressing concern about the "inability" of both jurisdictions to capture and share information about passengers transiting through one part of the island to the other.
In the letter, Mr Swann told Mr Donnelly that his officials were facing "serious impediments" in monitoring travellers who cross the border having landed in the Irish Republic from an at-risk country.
Such passengers are required to self-isolate in Northern Ireland for 14 days.
Mr Swann said the system was reliant on people filling in a passenger locator form within 48 hours of entering Northern Ireland.
He said if they failed to fill in those forms, the authorities north of the border had no way of tracing them.