The Industrial Internet of Things FEATURE NEWS

Measurably Improving Workplace Efficiencies in IoT

By Bill Yates March 07, 2023

At IoT Evolution Expo 2023 this past February in Fort Lauderdale, FL, Marcin Hasse (CEO at IoT engineering services company Softgent) came all the way from Gdansk, Poland to teach an expo crowd about IoT networks and real-time locating sensors (RLS) used in the industry.

"Every single process can be optimized," Hasse said. “There is always the possibility to become more efficient.”

Workplace efficiency leads to workplace savings. In his session titled "Technological Innovations for Optimizing Work Processes and Increasing Employee Safety," Hasse endeavored to explain the benefits of employing RSL technology over a more traditional LoRaWAN network.

In 2020, the average cost of a workplace accident in the United States was $1,100. (And that's if the injured party didn't require hospitalization.) When workplace injuries result in hospitalization, the average cost per incident rises to around $44,000.

So, how do you decrease workplace accidents and improve worker efficiency? By installing a system that uses RLS sensors to determine the exact location of your workers at any time, Hasse proposed. Softgent calls it the "optimization of workflow management processes based on real-time, accurate positioning of people and objects."

"You can use this technology to invest in workplace safety," Hasse said. Tracking worker movements to optimize their productivity leads to fewer accidents. As an employee moves through the premises, the system allows you to determine who the worker is, what they do, where they most frequently move to and when, suggestions as to why a worker commits to a certain action, and how well said action was accomplished.

"It's very difficult to address all these factors in a hospital or warehouse without using sensors," Hasse said. RSL systems report at least four of the five previously listed determinations, and using that data can be extraordinarily beneficial in the long haul.

“The way to ensure consistent production quality is to make certain that optimum processes are used,” Hasse said. On an initial installation, Softgent collects data for about six months before putting it through workflow analysis. "It's very similar to what you do with workflow processing.”

"If a person can be located, we can implement safety measures," Hasse said confidently. For instance, an operations manager can make forklifts able to start only if the badge of the assigned forklift employee allows the action to occur. Limiting forklift operation to only those who are authorized helps secure the workplace.

Sofgent's RSL system doesn't fight for wireless bandwidth either, “because the system operates using ultra-violet transmissions,” Hasse said.

The keys to implementing a successful RSL system are to make the product:

  • Flexible - Scalability should be designed from the beginning.
  • “All-in-One” - It must be capable of endless expansion.
  • Easy to control - No infrastructure interface required.
  • Easy to adapt - Simple integration with IoT devices is important.
  • Independent - RSL systems aren't integrating with public services.
  • Cost-efficient- Softgent uses in-house development to help control costs.

Softgent's RSL product, called Trackgent RTLS , uses Ultra-Wideband radio technology operating in the 3.1 – 10.6GHz spectrum and IEEE802.15.4-2011 standard. According to Softgent, the benefits of implementing RSL on an IoT network include reduction time necessary to locate a resource within the organization, optimization of said resource’s movement, support for inventory processes as well as logistics and warehouse processes, task-planning measures relative to the current objective, and the overall improvement of processes related to worker health and security.

Edited by Alex Passett
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Communications Correspondent

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