Lone Working Technology: Understanding The Options Available 6 December 2016 The great thing about technology is that it’s always advancing. With so much available, it’s easy to find solutions to suit your lone workers. But with more choices than ever, how do you decide what to go for? Low Cost But Risky If budgets are limited, there a few systems that could work for you which don’t heavily rely on technology. However, you do need to exercise caution when thinking about implementing them. Using a ‘whiteboard system’ for example is very easy. You simply list all staff names on a whiteboard and use a tick system to check them in and out. But it’s over simplistic, reliant on people and doesn’t comply with the BS 8484 European safety standard. Buddy systems (pairing up lone workers up with colleagues, who then check in and out with their ‘buddy’) have the same downsides too. Text message solutions are a little more advanced. The good thing is that they work with basic 2G phones as well as smartphones. However, escalation is all managed internally. Therefore, one of the downsides is that there are no unique reference numbers for quick connection to emergency services. Appy Days Mobile phone and tablet based apps are more sophisticated. But make sure you consider its ability to feed through to an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC), as many apps are designed for the public so may not have this functionality. For many lone workers who face the public, it’s important that they can raise the alarm without being seen. This is when ‘disguised’ technology really comes into its own. Discreet solutions such as ID badges are particularly good as they can be worn on the body. They are also suitable for workers in a wide range of sectors. Durable Lone Worker Devices Staff who work in physically demanding environments or adverse weather conditions need devices which are robust and durable. Technology is now available that allows us to supply these types of solutions. An added benefit is that they all come with an Ingress Protection (IP) rating, which tells you just how robust they are. Solutions which use satellite technology are useful when a mobile signal is not available. They are a good choice for workers out in remote locations like forests or quarries. Historically, satellite technology has been used a lot in safety devices for the public. If you’re considering this type of solution, take time to ensure it integrates with an Alarm Receiving Centre. Bluetooth is being used more and more to enhance the functionality of existing product ranges, such as smartphones – which do not have a one-step system to raise the alarm. And at the top end of the scale, Bluetooth beacons can be fitted to corridors, which connect to safety devices. It’s a long way from a whiteboard to a Bluetooth beacon, but there’s so much choice in-between that it’s now easier than ever to protect your lone workers. And technology never stands still, so it’s exciting to think about what else may be available in the near future.