With rising workplace harassment and physical assaults, some businesses have started to take strong measures combining technology and traditional security solutions to ensure that the one less thing to worry about for workers is their own safety and physical and mental health arising out of workplace harassment and cases of physical aggression.
Take healthcare for example, according to the latest survey, healthcare workers are 5 times more likely to face workplace harassment and assaults than any other profession. Often it is the front-line health workers such as nurses, paramedics, emergency section staff, etc.
Workplace security has now become a paramount concern for organizations worldwide and rightly so. As advancements in technology in the last few years have provided innovative solutions to address these concerns effectively, businesses are now implementing AIDC, BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy), UWB (Ultrawide Band), LoRa, etc. to protect staff from violent situations with quick response and to create a safe work environment.
Implementation of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Indoor Positioning systems is one effective solution to keep track of employees all the time and to provide help in case of emergencies.
BLE Beacons on ID Cards
BLE beacons, small and low-power devices, can be embedded in ID cards, enabling organizations to track the location of employees within a facility. These beacons emit signals that can be detected by strategically placed gateways, offering real-time indoor positioning.
BLE beacons work on Bluetooth Low Energy protocol which is part of Bluetooth 4.0 specification since 2010. BLE specification is essentially the same as Bluetooth Classic and Wi-Fi, except it uses low energy to transmit small packets of data/ pulse signals as PAwR (Periodic Advertisement with Response).
Workplace security is a big issue in the healthcare industry and as per the latest report the incidents of workplace violence have doubled between 2010 and 2021, up from 21% to 48% in the United States. Most cases of workplace violence are related to patients and visitors accompanying the patients, which is often due to lack of information, lack of healthcare services, and oftentimes people losing temper. Workplace harassment in healthcare industry has also led to global shortage of nurses, which should be of great concern for all.
Implementation of BLE indoor positioning allows organizations to effectively monitor employee movements, restrict access to sensitive areas, and detect unauthorized entry attempts. Furthermore, BLE beacons on ID cards can serve as a means to locate employees during emergencies, facilitating a swift and efficient response.
Gateway Setup: Implementing the BLE Indoor Positioning System
The successful deployment of a BLE Indoor Positioning system relies on the strategic placement of gateways throughout the facility. BLE Gateways act as receivers, capturing signals from the BLE beacons (in ID cards) and transmitting the data to a central server for processing. The number and placement of gateways depend on the size and layout of the workplace.
A cloud-based central server system is required to store and process all the data captured by the gateways, as transmitted from BLE beacons and smartphone apps. Organizations can thus achieve accurate and reliable indoor positioning by ensuring proper coverage. Additionally, gateways can be integrated with existing security infrastructure, such as surveillance cameras and access control systems, further enhancing workplace security.
Urgent Response in Emergencies with BLE
In emergencies, time is of the essence. BLE Indoor Positioning systems can play a crucial role in expediting emergency response efforts.
If and when staff is in an emergency arising out of workplace harassment such as verbal harassment, abuse, physical aggression, or even duress, one can simply press the BLE beacon button on their ID card to get help. Since most smartphones are BLE compatible, a mobile based app can be used as well to request for urgent intervention and help.
Moreover, when an emergency alarm is triggered in case of fire or earthquake, etc., the BLE beacons on ID cards can transmit distress signals to the gateways, which then relay the information to the central server. This data can be utilized to identify the exact location of employees in distress, enabling security personnel to respond promptly.
BLE Indoor Positioning systems can facilitate evacuation procedures by providing real-time updates on employee locations, ensuring everyone's safety. BLE specification’s PAwR also allows for periodic information broadcasting and advertising, allowing staff members to have enough information to find help and help fellow members.
To summarize, workplace security is an ongoing concern, and organizations must adapt to emerging technologies to ensure the safety of their employees and assets. BLE Indoor Positioning systems, through the integration of BLE beacons on ID cards, gateway setup, and emergency response capabilities, provide a comprehensive solution to enhance workplace security.
Implementation of real-time indoor positioning with Bluetooth Low Energy allows organizations to monitor employee movements, restrict access, and respond effectively to emergencies.