Mining companies are facing new national and EU-wide regulations that require mine operators to have real-time location information and headcounts of all miners that are underground in the mine. The new regulations put pressure on mine operators to find a sufficiently robust location-based solution that can withstand the harsh conditions in the mines.
Compared with traditional Wi-Fi and RF technologies, Bluetooth-based tracking solutions provide higher location accuracy (less than 10m) at a more attractive price point. The tracking works well even in confined tunnels, and can feature an offline mode for emergencies when connectivity is limited. With a long battery life of 1–2 years, tags can be attached directly to the headlamps on miners’ helmets. The tags also allow two-way communication, enabling alerts to be sent to workers underground.
Bluetooth tags can serve as IoT gateways for any type of sensor data. In addition to relaying information from various types of equipment and systems, they can be used to keep track of the vital signs of workers in extreme environments (heat, cold, altitude, humidity, etc). This can greatly improve work safety for professionals that need to work alone or in small teams in high-risk conditions.
Real-time location is the key to smart safety management of industrial solutions that involve people working with automated guided vehicles (AGVs), robots or other automated heavy equipment. Highly accurate automated tracking of people and machines enables real-time collision avoidance that can significantly improve occupational safety at automated and semi-automated facilities.
In a very different setting, real-time locating systems are being deployed at swimming pools to alert lifeguards if a swimmer stays underwater for an excessive amount of time, pinpointing the precise location of the person in distress on a tablet computer. At the same time, the system can be used to enable gamified tracking of swimming performance.