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确保工作场所安全与健康的 LoRa® 器件:SmartConnect 问答

LoRa, Wireless RF, Events, Smart Healthcare, ESG

Roelof Koopmans

Roelof Koopmans

确保工作场所安全与健康的 LoRa® 器件:SmartConnect 问答A year ago, the number of worker-focused proximity alert solutions could be counted on one hand. The need was not particularly great and the use case was very specific. The construction industry is one such area where the safety benefits are compelling. For over a decade, construction companies have been using forms of proximity detection as a means to interrupt at-risk behavior, with one such example being worker-worn systems to detect infrequent unsafe interactions between workers and equipment.

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Today, the rapid worldwide proliferation of a novel virus has created an urgent new use case for proximity alerts. According to every health organization currently offering guidance to contain infectious diseases, proximity is directly related to risk. The path to re-opening businesses requires that risk to be measured. Human training is important, but companies need certainty. Introducing effective measurement tools to promote safe and secure work environments is only scalable through leveraging modern technology.

新冠增加了工人互动相关性:每次互动都可能不安全,每个工人都面临着新冠病毒无形的威胁。在过去的几个月里,数家公司已经迎接挑战,并创建了以员工为中心的接近警报和接触者追踪解决方案。

DOWNLOAD THE WORKPLACE SAFETY  INFOGRAPHIC

SmartConnect and Contact Tracing with IoT

SmartConnect has been developing technology in the “Connected Worker” space for over three years. Its badge-based solution focuses specifically on improving heavy industry safety, and the current iteration features LoRa® devices. Semtech recently spoke with SmartConnect representatives Shannon Posey, Founder and CEO, and David Freed, General Manager, about how LoRa has enabled its company’s pivot into employee proximity detection and contact tracing for broader enterprise and SMB use cases.

Your current hardware is LoRa-based. Did you evaluate other wireless technologies before using LoRa and what was your decision process?

Shannon Posey: Yes, you could say that we were wavelength and protocol agnostic at the outset, considering every major wireless option and many emerging ones. Bluetooth, UWB, Wi-Fi, LoRa, ZigBee, and Sigfox were the big contenders, for either ranging, backhaul or both. The first version of our Smart Badge used GPS and Wi-Fi for ranging and direct Cellular backhaul, but also featured LoRa. Infield testing quickly showed how badly cell coverage dropped inside a refinery and how Wi-Fi or BLE were unsustainable for ranging or backhaul. But we were pleased by the dependability and reliability of the LoRa-based system.

Can you go into detail on the environmental factors within an oil refinery? How did these impact your hardware decisions?

Shannon Posey: SmartConnect is owned by CertifiedSafety. We work at every safety level within oil and gas and pretty much live at oil refineries and power generation facilities. They are a wireless nightmare with a huge footprint, mostly metal, open flooring, dirty, noisy, and rough. Furthermore, our solution focus was on short-term turnarounds. Whatever hardware we had on site was not going to be installed for long. That’s not even the hard part – facilities also aren’t going to make their network available for us to get our data out. Everything has to be independent, easy to put up and have a robust network that sees through metal.

All of which pointed to LoRa-based networks?

David Freed: There were several characteristics about LoRa devices that we really found critical for the success of our solution. Of course the testing results were impressive, LoRa devices are capable of enabling network connections through concrete and steel consistently. The range was very good and it could handle a large number of badges per gateway. Our concerns centered around packet loss at the update rate we required in critical safety situations.

How has your current Smart Badge hardware adapted LoRa devices to the demanding requirements?

David Freed:是的,第一个重大飞跃是构建我们自己的 MAC 层,而不会影响电池寿命和需要过多的处理。该协议减少了 packet 丢失并在每个网关上处理更多节点,不会因重新传输而使网络不堪重负。我们决定将 LoRa 器件专门用于从标签到网关再返回的回程。然后,网关通过蜂窝为所有连接的节点提供回程 - 但也可以通过 Wi-Fi、硬连线或卫星进行回程。这是一个更清洁的系统,具有我们客户需要的冗余。

That leads us into the proximity detection and contact tracing topic. How did that come about?

Shannon Posey: We’ve been using indoor ranging, geofencing and zone alarms as part of SmartConnect’s safety and efficiency metrics feature set. Proximity detection and contact tracing nests in well with the current system. I understood how important a single point of truth would become, especially as state governors started issuing directives on worker’s compensation.

David Freed: Our T-4 badge is kind of a Swiss Army knife of wireless radios. Where one radio has weaknesses, another can take over with strengths. This was important in establishing the badge-to-badge ranging.

要详细了解 SmartConnect 基于 LoRa 的部署,请观看 7 月 9 日的网络研讨会“在新冠疫情过后的工作场所保护员工”。

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