Ways to Leverage IOT Technology to Protect People - Maven Academy
Maven Musings

Ways to Leverage IOT Technology to Protect People

Published by Director, Maven Academy - 1 year ago

When a catastrophic incident occurs in a petrochemical industrial complex, emergency evacuation of the personnel has to be done without any delay. Under such circumstances, location information of personnel is key for timely response to prevent serious injury or 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 deployed over a wide geographical area, reaching out in the shortest possible time and rescuing them can get seriously complicated if their precise location is unknown. 

Radio-frequency Identification (RFID) tags, Bluetooth LE (BLE) sensors, and devices designed as wearables (wrist bands, cards) or built into helmets as well as work clothing make tracking feasible. The wireless signals emitted by these sensors connect with Beacons / Gateway that are strategically placed around the industrial complex constantly updating their actual location. 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. Additionally, 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 access.

Another related area where IoT technology could be employed is tracking the location of life-saving equipment such as Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA), widely used in O&G industry, and Automatic External Defibrillators (AED) that have been made compulsory in certain 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.

According to Berg Insight, a global M2M / IoT market research firm, approximately 15% of all employees are lone workers. Many a times that could mean the work could be hazardous in nature due to the nature or location of the work involving either working with hazardous materials, working alone after normal hours, or visiting others’ homes. Using suitable IOT applications, their location and other vital 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 offers 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 solutions based on IoT technology.

You may study these solutions in detail through the above links and if you have any additional queries please bring it up for discussion in the forums. We would also like to hear your feedback and introduce other similar solutions providers and your experiences using these applications.

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