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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
Dec 29, 2017

Today's senior citizens expect to have as much freedom of movement as possible, in order to protect the quality of their later years, and care providers strive to offer them that freedom as they age, while still providing safety when required. Technology is allowing some facilities to provide the best of both worlds—the freedom to go where they choose, while also ensuring they can obtain assistance if they are hurt or in an unsafe location.

Several senior-care facilities are using a new Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and low-frequency (LF) RFID-based system, the Elpas LoneProtect BLE app, so that they can ensure their residents are accounted for and do not wander off grounds or into unauthorized areas. The same technology can be provided to more independent seniors living in a residential environment, who are more autonomous but want to be able to summon help if they are injured or otherwise require assistance.

Elpas's David Fensterheim
Securitec One, a security system company in Medina, Ohio, is piloting the technology with its own customers, such as assisted-living facilities and home health-care providers, under the brand name EV2.

The system solves a persistent problem that real-time location system (RTLS) technology users have encountered, explains David Fensterheim, Elpas's professional services and product management VP. Although RTLS solutions—with a network of fixed readers to talk to a tag—can provide information regarding the movement of a particular patient or staff member throughout a facility, the technology isn't much help once a resident moves out the door. In fact, RTLS technology that provides coverage outdoors, such as in a garden space, can be prohibitively expensive for the installation of a network of readers.

Elpas is a Tyco Security Products company that, for several decades, has already been providing nurse-call and RTLS solutions to hundreds of facilities worldwide. The Israel-based technology firm sells its products to health-care and senior-services companies via systems integrators, for the purpose of managing the movements of their residents or patients.

The RTLS solution includes an Elpas Shield Tag that transmits a signal to RFID readers via active 433 MHz frequency each time it comes within range of an LF 125 KHz exciter, thereby providing data about that individual's movements into or out of a private room or public area (such as a dining hall), or if he or she walks out the front door.

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