The rise of Industry 4.0 has brought with it several new and innovative ways to track the location of people and it has made tracking people a reality in a variety of commercial and industrial settings.
Not only can tracking people have immediate benefits like improved workplace safety, but the location data collected over time can further increase efficiency and optimize workflows.
Forward-looking organizations are using people tracking while addressing reasonable expectations surrounding privacy and compliance with privacy regulations.
In this blog post, we look at some use cases for people tracking and how organizations benefit from it.
Tracking vs Surveillance
Surveillance refers to monitoring the behaviour, activities, or other information (like phone calls), usually of people, to influence, manage, direct, or protect them.
On the other hand, people location tracking refers to the use of technology to gather location data in the context of business processes. People location tracking aims to optimize and improve employee efficiency and safety.
Lone Worker and Remote Worker Safety
Working alone can present unique safety risks. Employees working remotely or in isolated locations may not have rapid access to help in the event of an injury.
Real-time location systems (RTLS) can track and monitor relationships between locations, people, and equipment to help identify risks and accidents. These solutions can also monitor and record employee activities to create an audit trail.
If an accident occurs, RTLS can help employers and emergency services locate and respond to the incident more quickly.
Geo-fencing is a virtual boundary around a physical location. Geo-fencing can be used to monitor workers and ensure they do not enter unsafe or restricted areas. The system can trigger an alert if a geo-fence is breached.
Geo-fencing is used in industries including construction, healthcare, and manufacturing. Geo-fencing can help enforce compliance & safety regulations and identify potential safety hazards.
Contact Tracing and Social Distancing
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for better tools to track and trace contacts.
Location tracking technology can be used to track the movements of people and identify potential contacts. This information can be used to support contact tracing efforts and help break the chain of transmission.
In addition, location tracking can be used to enforce social distancing rules. For example, alerts can be triggered if two employees get too close.
Ubisense offers a contact-tracing solution that is proven for long-term use cases. Additionally, the Ubisense contact tracing solution can also be used for ongoing evaluation, monitoring, and operational improvement.
Traditional access control systems use key cards, key fobs, keypads, or biometric sensors to grant access to authorized personnel. Traditional access control systems are not only slow and user-unfriendly, but they are also blind to certain access control issues. For example, an access control system cannot prevent an authorized person from allowing an unauthorized person into a restricted area.
Real-time location systems like Ubisense’s SmartSpace® offer a more intelligent access control. For example, an authorized employee approaching a restricted area can be granted access only if they are carrying the required safety equipment at the right time of day.
Such smart access control improves worker safety and ensures compliance and auditability.
People tracking solutions can be integrated with time and attendance systems to keep an accurate roster of the employees, visitors, and contractors onsite.
In the event of an emergency, the system can be used to account for all personnel quickly and accurately. Smart mustering is especially useful in large facilities or facilities with multiple muster points.
Manual mustering systems are time-consuming and can’t track employees moving to muster points, employees outside the facility, or employees who are trapped or immobile.
Advanced RTLS systems like Ubisense’s SmartSpace® can track the real-time location of all personnel and plot their locations on a browser-based map. This allows employers to see at a glance who has and hasn’t arrived at the muster point and send help if needed.
Automated Worker Safety Alerts
In many industries, workers are exposed to potential hazards. To help improve worker safety, RTLS can automatically send alerts when a worker enters an unsafe area or comes close to a machine.
Location tags can also be used in conjunction with wearable sensors.
By tracking behaviour, health, and environmental threats, wearable sensors can improve safety for frontline workers who regularly face hazardous conditions. By informing employees when it is time for a break and if their health may be in danger, companies can help reduce accidents or work-related illnesses.
Manufacturers can predict safety hazards and react appropriately by having a better oversight of machines, production lines, and buildings. Unusual data patterns from industrial IoT devices can send alerts about variables like temperature, air quality, radiation, vibration, or noise levels.
Operators can be automatically notified of changes in these conditions to protect workers before an accident or health hazard occurs.
Identifying Patterns and Trends
Tracking employee movements can also help improve workplace safety by identifying patterns and trends. This data can be used to make changes to the workplace to reduce the likelihood of accidents and injuries.
For example, if there is a high rate of accidents or near misses in a workspace, changes can be made to improve safety in that area. This could include improved signage, better lighting, or changes to the layout of the workplace.
Faster Access to Locations of Interest
People tracking solutions can help emergency services quickly and accurately locate victims. It can also help chart the shortest and safest route to the victim.
For example, emergency services can use RTLS to find and rescue trapped people in a fire. It can also help identify safe evacuation routes and muster points.
There are many benefits of using people-tracking solutions in the workplace. By tracking employee movements, businesses can improve safety, reduce the spread of illness, and muster in the event of an emergency. In addition, people tracking can also be used to identify patterns and trends, which can help businesses make changes to improve safety in the workplace.