Lone Worker App or Device?

Lone worker device and smartphone app

When clients get in touch with us, one of their first questions is often; “should we choose a lone worker app for our employees or a dedicated device?”

This post will explain the differences, why one isn’t necessarily a ‘superior’ option and why a lot of our customers choose a mixture of both apps and devices.

The lone worker solution industry has been fast to cater to the markets growing demand for lone worker apps. Most solutions are now available on all major operating systems (IOS, Android and Windows). Their popularity is so great that that latest update to the BS 8484 lone worker standard included a section on them. A lone worker app can often be seen as the ‘cheaper option’ when compared to a dedicated device. Nevertheless,  there are many reasons why they have become increasingly popular – and they don’t involve cost.

Lone Worker App Benefits

Apps are easy to roll-out to your workforce. Most lone workers will already have a mobile phone, so it’s possible in most cases to be up and running within a week. They don’t require employees having to remember to charge a separate device and carry it with them and they seem like an altogether more convenient option. Our lone worker app connects to our Alarm Receiving Centre when a Red Alert is triggered, exactly the same as devices do. This means that users still get the same fast response and great service.

So why wouldn’t you use a lone worker app and in what situations are dedicated lone worker devices more appropriate?

Risk Profile

It’s all about risk profile. Lone worker apps are a great solution for low-risk or occasional lone workers. However, wouldn’t be appropriate for high-risk, public-facing lone workers. Devices are more discreet looking and faster to activate in an emergency situation.

In order for us to be able to advise clients on which option is best, we must first know what type of lone workers they have. Matt Hill from Yorkshire Water has some great advice here on categorising lone workers by risk.

If your lone workers all perform the same job, in the same way, this will only need doing once. This is rarely the case though, and it’s why so many of our clients end up with a mixture of devices and apps.

Network Coverage

Another thing you must consider is mobile phone networks. This is the second obstacle to implementing lone worker apps. If your lone workers only carry out their jobs in defined areas with a strong network coverage then this isn’t an issue. But some lone working roles are based in the countryside or other remote locations where receiving a mobile phone signal may be quite difficult. In these cases we recommend a dedicated lone working device, specifically made for such situations, like the Spot Gen3. Alternatively, devices fitted with Roaming SIMs, which utilise all of the major phone networks ensure your device has the best possible chance of sending an alarm in black spots.

In summary, the most important thing you must do before deciding is to assess the lone working risks. This is something that our clients do before they get in touch, or we can help with this. For more advice please get in touch.