Lone Worker Solutions is pleased to announce that we have been awarded a US Patent for our Beacon Virtual Barrier module. The Patent No. 10,347,106 B2 was granted last month by the US Patent and Trademark Office. It recognises the links between our virtual barrier powered by Bluetooth-enabled beacons, the management platform for storing positional data from those beacons, and the software installed on a mobile device. It’s the technology that powers our Safe Beacon feature – a key element of Safe Hub, our proprietary lone worker safety system.
What our virtual barrier does
In essence, Safe Beacon is a geofence and virtual perimeter in one. Safe Beacon communicates alerts between the Safe Hub platform and Bluetooth-enabled beacons placed discreetly around or within buildings and other structures. When a worker approaches an area protected by Safe Beacon, they will receive an alert on their lone working device. The alerts are entirely customisable and can communicate proactive safety warnings or dynamic risk notifications.
The geofencing and virtual perimeter features are ideal for a range of different risk scenarios. For companies with extensive premises, Safe Beacon can be used in internal or external areas which are difficult to monitor using visual technologies such as cameras. It’s also ideal for companies with potentially hazardous areas, for instance where exposure is time-restricted due to environmental factors. And if specialist personal protective equipment (PPE) is required in particular zones of a building, Safe Beacon can issue reminders to workers to wear PPE before they enter the area in question.
How Safe Beacon helps lone workers in practice
The first stage for a deployment of our Safe Beacon feature is to install the Bluetooth-enabled ibeacons around an area to create a virtual perimeter or geofence. Depending on the specific circumstances, we can deploy the beacons discreetly or prominently. The ibeacons are then paired with the Safe Hub App on each worker's devices. Safe Beacon can be used on the smartphone App and on intrinsically safe devices.
As soon as a lone worker approaches or enters an area monitored by Safe Beacon, an alert is sent to the worker and their line manager. Managers can deliver safety messages or instructions regarding PPE. Alternatively, lone workers can use the system to alert Safe Hub if they get into difficulty within high-risk or restricted areas. They can then be quickly located, and immediately provided with the appropriate emergency help.
UK Patent pending for virtual barrier technology
The UK patent for this virtual barrier technology is still pending. Thanks to the Patent Box initiative which was introduced in 2013, the UK Patent Office currently has a very large backlog of patent applications. The Patent Box enables companies to apply a lower rate of corporation tax to profits earned after 1 April 2013 from its patented inventions.
We’ll keep you posted when we receive the UK patent. But in the meantime, we’re very proud of the technology which powers this innovative virtual barrier solution, making it safer for lone workers in potentially hazardous environments.
Lone Worker Solutions’ US-patented virtual barrier technology forms part of our comprehensive lone worker safety system, Safe Hub. To find out more, contact one of the team today.
Call: +44-(0)161 885 2122
Post by Steve White
Steve is Chief Technical Officer at Lone Worker Solutions (LWS). He works closely with the technical development team and all LWS clients to ensure the effective deployment of Safe Hub. This guarantees the correct integration of Safe Hub with existing and legacy systems, its appropriate scalability, and the efficient operation of systems.