Are There Any RFID-based Lone-Worker Systems?

By RFID Journal

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Ask The ExpertsAre There Any RFID-based Lone-Worker Systems?
RFID Journal Staff asked 10 years ago

If so, can you please provide some examples of how they are used?

—Name withheld


Yes, and we have written about a number of them.

The Peoplesafe solution, offered by Rocksure Systems in the United Kingdom, uses real-time location system (RTLS) technology from 9Solutions. The use of RTLS enables Peoplesafe to enhance its lone-worker services by overcoming the lack of coverage from GPS satellite and mobile networks within buildings. Lone workers can suffer from slips, trips or falls as a result of their environment or task. Without the RTLS technology, locating those employees would be difficult if they were indoors, since the GPS signals would not penetrate brick, glass or metal structures. Peoplesafe offers several different types of RFID tags—some designed as ID badges, for applications involving the tracking of personnel, as well as others built to monitor equipment or other assets. All of the tags are battery-powered and include a Bluetooth radio transceiver powered by a cell battery. The ID badge tag has a button that, when pressed, can be used, for example, to indicate a need for assistance. The new solution from Peoplesafe provides a manager with access to live information—because the RTLS technology has been integrated with Peoplesafe's lone-worker devices and Vision Web application—thereby allowing a manager to be made aware if an employee has raised an alert, and also to confirm that individual's location via the Bluetooth connection (see RFID News Roundup: Peoplesafe Adds RTLS to Portfolio of Worker-Safety Products).

Elpas, part of Tyco Security Products, introduced a Man-Down Emergency Call Transmitter in 2012. The active RFID tag is designed for the monitoring and protection of lone workers, prison guards and security personnel who may be subject to attack or injury in high-risk workplace environments. It is built into a holster that clips onto a belt and uses the same technology as Elpas' Quad-Tech Personal Badge (see RFID News Roundup: Visonic Technologies Intros Hybrid Tag for RTLS and Access Control). The Man-Down Emergency Call Transmitter leverages a 433 MHz active RFID tag for real-time zone location, and includes an infrared receiver for room and sub-room tracking accuracy, as well as a 125 kHz low-frequency (LF) passive RFID transponder for instant doorway and pinpoint location visibility. The transmitter provides RTLS visibility down to sub-room-level accuracy, along with duress-call signaling via two emergency call buttons on either side of the unit for manual wireless duress alerting. An onboard tilt sensor can automatically initiate an alert in the event that, for example, a prison guard is attacked and knocked down. Additionally, if a prisoner were to grab a holster and yank it off, a pull cord would enable automatic alerting.

Crystal Ball offers Mobile Track, which monitors workers' whereabouts via the GPS module built into their cell phones. In 2009, it added a version with Near Field Communication (NFC) RFID functionality. While GPS tracks the phone's location, NFC data identifies the time when a worker arrives at a specific location, and again when he or she leaves. Lycamobile, a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) with more than 30 million customers across 16 countries, is using the system to manage its representatives (see Cellular Service Provider Manages Its Reps Via NFC).

GuardRFID offers a personnel-safety system for the oil and gas market, along with a tag that has additional functionality for lone workers. These tags can be worn like a standard ID badge, but have configurable buttons that can be used to support a duress call, bidirectional communications, on-tag annunciation and "Man Down" detection, all in a thin form factor (see GuardRFID and Focus FS partner to deliver Personnel Safety and Accountability solutions for the Oil and Gas and Industrial Markets).

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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