Location, Location, Location
SoloProtect ID is the first, and currently the only, dedicated lone worker device, to utilise both GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) and A-GNSS (Assisted GNSS) technology. Confusing, right? What does it all mean, and what difference does it make?
Let’s break it down. When a lone worker activates an emergency alarm their device can work in a number of ways. Different Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) providers and different lone worker devices vary greatly, but most, will at some point during their process, look to obtain a location fix; The time it takes to get this fix is called ‘Time to First Fix’ (TTFF). Basically, lone worker devices will use either GPS or GNSS to locate the device, ergo locating the user.
Many providers look to that initial device location as the most important key performance indicator in lone worker solutions, meaning they will focus on getting a GPS location before starting the alarm verification. A verification is the process of determining whether an activation call is a false alert or a verified alarm, and then, if it is indeed a verified alarm, deciding on the appropriate response.
Whilst getting a location fix is important, placing an activation call and supporting the user as quickly as possible should be the priority here. It can take more than 60 seconds to get a GPS fix, time which can be crucial in a genuine emergency situation, and a lost opportunity to record and react to what happens in the first minute of an incident. GPS is also not primarily designed for inner city, high-rise or indoor areas where satellite signal is weak, and line-of-sight signal often can’t be made.
In order to get a location fix, both GPS and GNSS devices need to see at least 4 satellites. As time passes, GNSS devices are able to see more satellites and therefore are able to get location fixes more often than GPS only devices.
The SoloProtect ID is not limited like other devices to waiting for a location fix before any action. It’s capable of both placing an activation call to our dedicated lone worker ARC, and also in parallel getting a GNSS location fix. Instantly the verification process begins, and based on fast TTFF via GNSS, the operator will also have a location fix within a few seconds.
Now, the order in which a lone worker alert is processed will always split opinion, we believe that swiftly gaining an understanding of an emergency situation via an activation call and ensuring complete lone worker support as quickly as possible, should come before getting a location fix.
The SoloProtect ID, by using GNSS and A-GNSS, as opposed to GPS, cuts down the TTFF, whilst also improving accuracy and reliability as a worker moves between a series of different environments. GNSS can acquire a location fix in more places due to increased satellite coverage, and with pre-loaded “maps” of the satellite network via A-GNSS, is often able to get a location fix within a second.
SoloProtect will continue to explore new technology to help lower the risk to those working alone, and GNSS and A-GNSS is a big step in cutting down the time it takes to assist in a lone worker emergency.