Case Study: One monitoring and alerting system for multiple sites with varied device and user requirementsDecember 05, 2017
Onsite system for lone workers
This company had recently consolidated its business structures to capitalise more on its size through things like central purchasing arrangements. At the same time, its operations still spanned a number of different sites, each with its own speciality and particular environment. The company had been considering a lone worker system with indoor positioning for a long time, a situation which became more pressing after a workplace ‘man down’ accident.
The staff member was able to activate their phone and all was well. If the staff member hadn’t been able to, however, and had remained hidden up in a gantry, the story might have been different. The head of health & safety was keen to get a solution in place as soon as possible. The initial requirement was for the main site, an onsite system for 5-10 lone workers, with immediate alert activation and indoor positioning.
One solution for multiple sites and varied devices
During the discovery process with the customer, we at Isle Systems learned that all of the customers’ sites were different, which meant that the lone worker requirements and the device requirements were varied too. The company also saw that they could run one over-arching Isle Systems solution – to take care of the monitoring, alert management and communications – and centrally manage all their sites, which delivered significant financial and efficiency savings.
Furthermore, because the Isle Systems solution is very flexible and can support a range of different devices, the company was able to instruct each site to choose the devices which best suited the operational conditions and requirements of their own site. One system, multiple sites, different devices.
A range of technologies to handle escalating alerts
Isle Systems have been providing lone worker monitoring, alerting and communications solutions for over 12 years, and during this time we’ve developed a pretty intimate understanding of the science behind supporting the lone worker. It’s a very varied, very complex and no customer situation is the same, which is why we cater to a broad range of requirements.
One complicating factor that emerged from the discovery process was that the customer’s sites contained a lot of metal and heavy machinery, which caused issues with poor signal. The Isle Systems technology is different when it comes to delivering alerts to responders: it’s not reliant on any one communication protocol and falls back to other protocols. Others rely on a data connection, so if you’re in a ‘marginal’ signal situation this presents a problem, as it’s a single point of failure in what is a highly critical business process.
Furthermore, short range devices only work within circa 200 metres and need boosters and repeaters, which can be very expensive to install and maintain. This is much less of a problem with mobile phones. The Isle Systems alerting process uses WiFi data, then mobile data, then SMS, all before triggering a phone call. This offered the customer a considerably more flexible and resilient approach.
Site-by-site tailored solutions and project management
The main site invested in the back office, cloud-based alert monitoring, management and communications platform. For its own site it also invested in ‘ruggedised’ devices for 30 users and battery powered beacons (simple to deploy and low maintenance costs) for the indoor positioning. The main site then delegated the analysis and selection of devices to the other sites, based on their own specific requirements. For example, in one other site, mobile phones are not permitted, so that site invested in dedicated lone worker devices for 50 users, with 30 beacons.
We’re still in the prolonged roll-out of devices for the other sites. The implementation process and project management is the same for each site, even if their specific devices are not. Isle Systems provides spreadsheets for the site to fill in the user and responder information, their numbers and their specific devices. Isle Systems then processes the data and installs the software on the devices, and provides the materials and documentation.
Our approach is about making our solutions work for the way you work rather than having to mould your work practices around a new system. The customer also wanted to be as self-sufficient as possible in this project, so we took a ‘train the trainer’ approach to allow them to manage their own rollout themselves.
Lone worker peace of mind
The customer’s evaluation committee universally agreed that the Isle Systems solution offered the best solution both to cater to their immediate requirements and to expand their protection through the other sites over the long term. The customer now has peace of mind from having the system in place, and they can bring on other sites when they’re ready, with the freedom of selecting devices to suit each environment. They can simply add people in as they go and manage this process themselves.
The company is now also looking at adding Push-to-Talk solutions so that they can improve their communications both between lone workers and with responders and other members of staff.
Get in touch to discuss your specific lone worker protection requirements.