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CYBRA Edgefinity IoT to Be Deployed for Worker Safety

More than a decade after an apparent murder led to RTLS development, the technology is being offered to help prevent injuries, as well as track assets and analyze operations.
By Claire Swedberg
Jul 23, 2018

Several water utilities are preparing to adopt a lone worker safety system from CYBRA that was developed as a solution for monitoring objects and people, which includes applications to prevent accidents at worker sites and to get help to workers when they need it. The Edgefinity IoT Safety and Security Solution has a long history that began with a 2005 presumed murder in New Jersey.

The Internet of Things (IoT)-based system was developed by CYBRA, led by its senior safety and security system architect, Ben Jakubovic, who had tragically experienced, first-hand the limitations of simple proximity card access-control systems in protecting workers at job sites.

Ben Jakubovic
In 2005, Jakubovic's colleague at the Passaic Valley Water Commission (PVWC), senior chemist Geetha Angara, was killed at the Totowa, N.J., facility—presumably the victim of a murder. The case still remains unsolved. After workers discovered her disappearance and called authorities, Jakubovic was one of those who rushed to the site to help find her.

Jakubovic, who served as a PVWC commissioner and a liaison to the Passaic County Sheriff's office, knew the security system in place all too well—after all, he had designed it for the utility where his term had ended just a month prior to the tragedy. It consisted of proximity-card access-control units at the gate that could tell investigators who was onsite at any given time, based on worker badge scans as individuals entered.

However, Jakubovic says, the system provided no way for rescue personnel or investigators to determine where everyone was at the time of Angara's death—and, more importantly, it was unable to identify that she was in trouble while there was still a chance to save her life. In fact, it took 25 hours to find her body at the bottom of a 3-million-gallon water tank within the 16-acre facility.

Jakubovic was so haunted by the system's failings that he sought a better solution. He wondered if an RFID-based system would enable the locations of workers at utility sites to be captured automatically.

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