If new GPS Duress Devices come on the market, we stress test them to see if we should add them to our stable of “best of breed” devices. If a Lone Worker Smart Phone App is appropriate in your environment, we have that too. All our solutions use GPS for location reporting.
We know that all the Lone Worker devices we recommend actually do what they say they do. We have solutions which will work in our out of cell cover with different levels of functionality to suit your risks.
You may require a mix of network capable products in your remote/isolated workforce. For your staff the processes will be the same, and the monitoring escalations will be the same which keeps it simple, but you will only need to deal with one supplier.
Cost of duress device hardware varies, depending on what network it is on, and what level of functionality it supplies. The risks you’re exposed to when Working Remote or Isolated will define your requirement, but typically it will include; SOS button, man down, no movement, automated welfare checks.
If Lone Workers go into buildings where GPS can’t locate them, we have solutions which are compatible with indoor locating beacons. Or we make sure the duress device sends updated location frequently enough that we can see where they entered the building. Battery life is also an important consideration which is affected by location update frequency and level of functionality in use. GPS updating drains batteries fast. The best solutions can safely accommodate a 20hr shift with all functionality.
All duress device hardware recommended by Guardian Angel has been SAR tested and certified (Saturation Absorbency rating). This ensures it is safe for your Lone Workers to wear all day if need be.
The duress devices we recommend, have all been integrated via API from the supplier servers to our response software, meaning we do not rely on SMS or emails. When the SOS from an inReach hits the Garmin servers in USA for instance, it also hits our NZ monitoring station.
You may already have duress devices in use, which can be switched to Guardian Angel for monitoring and support.
Some of the things you need to be aware of to choose the best device for your Lone Workers:
Cell based duress devices:
If you’re looking at a cell based duress devices, and your staff enter buildings where the satellites can’t see them, you need to know it updates location (and sends this to the server) every 1 – 2min so that we can find them inside.
When the device goes into alarm, it should increase the frequency of the location updates to around every 15sec. This is so that if they’re running, driving or floating down a river we can still find them!
Getting the location of where they are only when the device goes into alarm is not useful in a lot of incidents. On this note, also check that it’s at least 65 IP rated (67 is even better!)
A lot of inferior devices run out of battery in just a few hours if the polling is set to 1min. You want to know it can do at least 15hours on 1min polling. The location accuracy should be minimum +/- 5m
Any device you ask your staff to wear should be SAR tested and certified so that you and them know it’s safe for them to wear. Ask to see the certificate and check that it’s from a certified ridgey didge lab! (not mail ordered!)
There are a number of devices on the market that say they are 3G but actually, they are 2G with a 3G SIM card. Watch out for those. There is no longer voice on 2G in NZ, and soon enough there will be no 2G at all and your device won’t work at all.
Changing settings over air makes managing the devices so much easier. If we need to alter the tilt angels and delays etc, we want to be able to just log on and send the updates to the device over air. Having to gather them all up and plug them in to a computer to update them is painful and well…. It just won’t happen!
Satellite devices to protect commercial Lone Worker should only be on the iridium network. And the devices should be able to keep sending the SOS or message until it’s received by a satellite.
If a worker does need help, to us, it’s vital that he gets a confirmation that the message has been received and help is on it’s way. Inferior devices do not send this confirmation.
Our out of cell cover lone workers are on a minimum 10min tracking plan. With some solutions, this gets very expensive so it’s worth checking the available data plans.
We regularly update settings on devices to suit different roles. You want to be able to log onto a platform, change the settings and push it out to selected devices in the field. Having to gather up the devices to sync them to a PC to get them updated is painful.
Hybrid solutions work on Cell and Iridium networks. They communicate from a pendant to a bridge. In New Zealand, the frequency it can legally operate on is different from overseas. It needs to be on the 915-928 MHz frequency.
The iridium network is the only reliable network for lone workers and you also need to know that the messages are stored until a satellite connection is established.
The pendant as well as the bridge (or base station) should have GPS so that we can find the worker. The range on good solutions is around 2km from bridge to pendant (terrain dependant).
IP ratings should be minimum 65. And as per all other solutions, you want to be able to update configurations over air.