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  • Mark Hanley

The Trouble with Traditional Monitoring and Alerting Systems


Commercial solutions for monitoring, alerting and communications systems focus on lone workers, fire & intruder alarms and machinery. Many of these solutions were not originally designed for lone worker operations. Their design and implementation requires a resource-intensive approach, which in many ways hasn't changed much since the days of an actual switchboard operator connecting your calls. In this post we explore the three main problems with this traditional approach and outline how they can be removed by the modern approach to protecting lone workers. Speed Many of our customers employ lone workers in situations where isolation and risk are occupational hazards. Process and compliance are key to successful, trouble-free operations, so when an emergency occurs, minimising elapsed time is critically important. This requires the fastest possible alerting and response mechanisms. In the traditional scenario a lone worker activates an alarm, either consciously or automatically as a result of a fall or serious injury. This triggers an alert at a call centre. These call centres are often highly secure and highly equipped. Even so, the call centre operative still has to validate the alert before activating the response escalation process back to the company. This process should take a few seconds, but often it is measured in minutes, which causes a potentially drastic delay in the response to a lone worker in trouble. Expense Call centres are an expensive undertaking to set up and run. While it’s true to say that call centres can centralise the response process for many different customers across multiple regions, there are still considerable costs which are passed onto customers. These costs include the building of the call centre, the equipment and technology it uses, the salaries of the operatives and managers offering a 24/7 coverage, maintenance and utility bills. A useful rule of thumb with call centres is €1, £1, or $1 per day per lone worker, 365 days a year. That’s a considerable expense for something you hope you won’t notice for 99.9% of the time. The true expense, however, is not simply the dollar a day. If you’ve invested in a traditional approach that can’t adapt to modern technologies, then you’re compounding your decision and your ongoing investment. Your solution needs to adapt to changing environments and business practices. You need to future-proof it to make sure it scales, which means investing in new technology. If your business changes, and you need to move to solutions which embrace devices, phone, cameras, beacons and so on, a flexible solution will help you change your working practices and save you money over time. Technology Traditional alerting solutions suffer from two drawbacks, which is not ideal in such a vitally important area. The first is the limited range of communication protocols that they deploy to transmit an alert. Many only use one communication protocol, such as mobile data, and if the signal fails then the alert does not get transmitted. This single point of failure is the Achilles heel for many traditional solutions. The second drawback is the range of different devices and systems that a company can use to monitor and protect their key staff. There is an array of devices for companies to choose from, depending on the requirements of their working conditions and their industry. In this environment it is quite normal for a company to have different systems for people and systems and have different devices for different types of lone workers. Having multiple different systems and suppliers to manage puts additions burden of time and complexity on the company. Quick, affordable and modern technology Mobile technology-based solutions from leading providers like Isle Systems offer instantaneous and affordable protection for lone workers compared to call centre-based delivery approaches. Using mobile solutions connected to a central monitoring system which itself connects directly to responders removes a costly and additional link in the all-important alerting chain. With this approach the alert is received, processed and transmitted to multiple responders within seconds. The leveraging power of this technology bypasses the need for the call centre costs of bricks, mortar, equipment and staff. This reduced cost base results in a lower investment for the company, making a state-of-the-art solution much more affordable. Furthermore, modern technologies can escalate through a range of different communication protocols to transmit alerts back to the system and onto responders. In Isle Systems devices this includes mobile data, WiFi data, SMS and even a phone call to make sure the urgent message gets through. Click here or contact us to find out more about modern solutions to your requirements for monitoring, alerting and communications.

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