In an emergency, the key elements are knowledge of location and of the situation in order to give the right and timely response to prevent serious injury, fatalities. This is possible only through real-time tracking of personnel. The ability to track mobile assets and personnel is one of the most beneficial applications of iOT technology. Particularly in petrochemicals, refineries, shipyards, steel plants and large construction project sites where hundreds of people are spread over a wide geographical area it can get complicated.
RFID tags, Bluetooth LE (BLE) protocol sensors and devices designed as wearables (wrist bands, cards) or built into helmets, work clothing make tracking feasible. The wireless signal emitted by these sensors connects with strategically placed Beacons / Gateways. When viewed through the service providers’ tracking App on the mobile device or web browser the location of personnel on a real-time basis is trackable. By establishing virtual zones and geofencing, the system can be set up to generate alerts when someone wanders into unsafe zones or secure zones to which they are barred from entry.
Another related area where IoT technology could be employed is tracking the location of life-saving equipment viz., Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) used in O&G drilling. Also, Automatic External Defibrillators (AED) have been made mandatory at work places in some countries. By attaching sensors to these types of equipment and have a monitoring system in place it is possible for health & safety professionals to monitor their availability at the designated location using mobile devices. Similar use cases are present in the health care sector as well to track oxygen cylinder kits, ventilators, ECG kits and similar equipments.
Protecting lone workers is another area IoT Tech can be effective. Approximately 15% of all employees are lone workers according to Berg Insight, a global M2M / IoT market research firm. Many a time that work could be in dangerous places due to the nature or location of the work whether that be working with hazardous materials, working alone, after hours or visiting others’ homes. Their location and other information can be gathered from mobile apps, sensors, GPS devices and SOS-enabled wearables where smart phone can’t be used. Biometric sensors worn on the body can measure heart rate, blood oxygen levels and signs of fatigue.
There are several providers of the technology, hardware and software platforms for these types of solutions around the world. Some of them use RFID while others use the BLE which is a more recent development. One of those who have been in the IoT field for quite a while is Kontakt. They offer a variety of personnel tracking solutions for different industries in addition to other iOT solutions and hardware. DOKO and Litum offer relatively simple employee tracking and access solutions more suited to office and warehouse kind of environments. On a similar scale, QuicSolv and Aware 360’s Platform have personnel tracking IoT solutions.