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BLE and RFID System Aims to Bring Security to Seniors

Elpas' LoneProtect tag forwards data to a user's smartphone via Bluetooth Low Energy and to a back-end server via RFID, so that seniors can have their movements and any incidents managed by a care facility, or by their own loved ones.
By Claire Swedberg

The technology can be used as an access-control system as well. Elpas' Eiris Alarm Management and Tracking Software—which can be cloud-based or reside on a local server—identifies the tag's ID number and confirms that the patient linked to that particular ID is authorized to leave. If so, the front door lock would automatically release for that person.

But for Elpas, and for senior-care and retirement facilities, there is another challenge: monitoring people's movements outdoors. This year, the firm developed its LoneProtect app and tag to provide seniors with freedom of movement outside of a building, and to allow them to request help when needed.

Securitec One's Terry Mack
The LoneProtect tag is a pendant that can be worn around a person's neck, though the company plans to release a tamper-evident wristband in the future as well. A user's personal information, such as his or her name, photograph and/or medical requirements, can be stored in the Eiris software, along with the unique ID number encoded in the pendant.

The tag comes with a BLE radio, an active 433 MHz tag, a 125 KHz LF RFID chip, an antenna and a battery. It also features an accelerometer sensor to identify if an individual falls. The tag has a pull-down cord, along with two buttons (one on each side) that enable a user to signal an emergency.

Users of the LoneProtect app will carry an Android-based cell phone or tablet (an iOS version of the app will be available in the future, Fensterheim notes). The pendant tag is paired with that phone via a Bluetooth connection, while the phone runs the LoneProtect app. The phone receives the pendant's ID via a Bluetooth connection and communicates with the software via GPRS, linking the transmission data with the phone's GPS-based location.

While the individual is inside the facility, the tag can receive transmissions from LF RFID exciters installed around egresses, such as doorways. It then transmits that exciter ID, along with its own, to the software via 433 MHz RFID readers, and to that individual's phone or tablet via BLE.

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