IIoT smart distancing solution helps staff return to work safely

Software AG has launched an industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) smart social distancing solution to help companies around the world ensure their employees return safely to work.

Organisations can use the solution to help employees keep to the recommended safe distance, record incidents where that distance is breached, and show authorities auditable proof of compliance.

The solution uses smart badges to alert the wearer if they approach the limit of safe social distancing. The first intention is to change behaviour. If those employees spend more than 15 seconds inside that virtual boundary, then an ‘incident’ is recorded. All wearers are anonymised, the solution registers proximity but not location, and only authorised personnel have access to the data – this all makes the solution compliant with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and other worker privacy regulations.

Bernd Gross, CTO at Software AG, comments: “We are all faced with a very difficult situation; we must protect our employees. But we also need to get businesses and the economy back up and running. How do we do one without compromising the other?”

He adds: “Over 40% of the workforce will work in controlled spaces, in close proximity to others and without mandatory personal protective equipment. We can help protect those people. We’ve combined our experience in the Industrial Internet of Things with the industry knowledge of our partners to help organisations implement these safeguards quickly.”

Companies opting to use the Smart Social Distancing solution can be up and running in just a couple of days. Beta tests have taken place in food production facilities and process manufacturing plants. Early tests have shown that instances of breaches declined by more than 50% within the first week.

Bernd Gross

The Gobecke bakery in Germany is one of the first companies to trial the solution. Owner Christine Gobecke says: “Just like so many other businesses, the current situation is tough for us and holds many challenges. But thanks to the Smart Social Distancing solution, the safety of our workers is guaranteed and we can focus on getting to a point of normality in our production.”

The badges interact with beacons placed at cluster points throughout the workplace. The data is processed through Software AG’s Cumulocity IoT platform. The solution helps employees protect themselves; health and safety teams to trace contact with any employee showing symptoms; and employers fulfil their duty of care and show the compliance that allows the business to remain operational.

Software AG will initially work with partners including Tech Mahindra and Dell Technologies to bring this product to customers around the world and across many industries. Tech Mahindra combines expertise in technology with specific expertise in industries including telco and manufacturing.Dell Technologies, with its dedicated Design Solutions portfolio (formerly OEM), helps organisations build their digital future through the industry’s broadest and most innovative technology and services portfolio, transforming how they work, live and play. Dell Technologies will initially bring this solution to customers in Germany before further expansion.

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