Safety first | Breakthrough Funding

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Safety first

New technologies are harnessing the power of IoT to save lives

The Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona has seen a variety of newsworthy projects being unveiled, each with an emphasis on the potential of connectivity. 

Undoubtedly the most eye-catching has been the announcement that Vodafone is teaming up with Nokia in an effort to put a 4G network on the Moon. Due to be unleashed as early as next year, this project looks like a clear case of style over substance. After all, the network will be of limited use to pretty much anyone, unless it enables ET to finally catch the last season of Breaking Bad.

Rather more down-to-earth innovations included an idea that puts the Internet of Things firmly on the front foot. Canadian company Sierra Wireless has joined forces with French startup Intellinium to put a hands-free messaging capability into otherwise ordinary work boots.

According to figures from the United Nations, somebody dies from a work-related accident or illness every 15 seconds. For people in remote, dangerous or noisy workplaces such as construction sites, oil platforms or manufacturing plants, the risk of death or injury from a fall or other accident is made worse if the casualty has no means of making contact with colleagues or bosses.

Using a patented force sensor membrane inserted into the toe of the boot, workers can send a distress signal or acknowledge an evacuation notice simply by tapping the toe. Sensors can also detect falls or shocks, so the technology can alert the employer and let them know the worker’s location.

Clearly, this is a brilliant wearable idea that is long overdue, but has only been made possible now that IoT innovation has reached a certain level. With this story coming hot on the heels of the new Cat mobile phone that can detect high levels of indoor air pollutants and warn the user, it seems that workplace safety is reaping the benefits of technological advancement.

Are you working on a product or service that will keep people safer, either at work, at home or in public? Give us a call on 0800 772 0800 and share the good news.

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