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8 West: From Silver Surfers to Search and Rescue, Connected Wearables Put Safety First

Kayakers, seaweed farmers, independent seniors, coastguards, and adventurers all rely on a connected wearable device to alert their location and safety status. Learn more about how SafeTrx from 8 West is keeping people protected on the high seas, in remote forests and in the urban jungle.

8 West IoT Case in PDF-Format

Background

SafeTrx is a remote monitoring and alerting system created by software development company 8 West to provide automatic real-time alerting for sports enthusiasts, isolated or at-risk workers and vulnerable older people. The device enables location alerts to be sent, and requests for emergency help or assistance to be communicated, so everyone from surfers at sea to lone workers and people in a healthcare setting can be tracked and monitored.

8 West, which is based in Ireland and has more than 22 years of software development experience, identified a need for an application that could address the safety needs of different types of users. They worked with professional partners to develop the system which has now been deployed in 11 countries for maritime rescue and is in use by enterprise clients for patient monitoring and employee protection.

So far, 8 West has launched three remote monitoring services that enable various user groups to live and work more safely. SafeTrx Active, SafeTrx Protect and SafeTrx Care are designed specifically for:

  • Sports enthusiasts e.g. hikers, climbers, surf skiers and windsurfers
  • People in hazardous occupations
  • The elderly living independently
  • People with chronic health conditions.

All SafeTrx offerings utilize a wearable device, and give access to a secure command and control portal for service providers or employers to monitor, control and configure users’ devices. Mobile apps give a real-time overview of the user’s data, position, alert status and well-being.

SafeTrx Active

SafeTrx Active provides a purpose-built personal emergency search and rescue system for open water and extreme sports enthusiasts. Featuring Sony’s mSafety, the lightweight device is supported by rescue organisations and is fully compatible with the SafeTrx Maritime Platform. It provides long range tracking and features extended battery life to ensure users have a better chance of being found and rescued.

SafeTrx Active is approved by and partnered with national search and rescue organisations, including KNRM in Netherlands, RS in Norway, and DGzRS in Germany.

SafeTrx Protect

Centred around the mSafety wearable device from Sony, SafeTrx Protect gives employers a single view of all monitored workers, enabling them to be protected regardless of location. This enables optimization of workforce management and early intervention in response to critical events. The system allows for both manual and automated alerts, covering events such as fall detection and enabling health and safety monitoring while ensuring data security.

SafeTrx Care

The SafeTrx Care offering provides a remote monitoring and alerting solution that includes a configurable wearable that can securely integrate with medical monitors and home sensors. The system is non-intrusive protection and gives greater independence to seniors. With ease of use a priority, SafeTrx enables two-way messaging, fall detection, healthcare reminders and integrations via Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) to other accessories, systems and sensors.

Sony Network Communications Europe has developed an innovative LTE-M wearable called mSafety. 8 West has developed a version of the SafeTrx app on this wearable to bring unparalleled safety to more users.

Challenge

All three categories of SafeTrx user rely on always-on connectivity to support critical activities. The system needs to have robust connectivity to provide in-depth position information and to transmit the well-being status of the device wearer. This is truly mission critical and is relied upon to take the search out of search and rescue, to help lone workers and elderly users keep safe.

SafeTrx uses LTE-M cellular connectivity because of its wide availability and the balance of capacity and power consumption it offers. This is essential to ensure that data can be transmitted continuously regardless of the user’s location until the appropriate response can be rendered.

LTE-M is also key to allowing 8 West to perform over-the-air (OTA) updates and reconfigurations of SafeTrx devices, an important consideration because the mSafety from Sony is a highly robust wearable, intended to be reused from one user to another. This offers customers a cost saving over the lifetime of a project, with the ability to change the configuration frequently and reliably.

Solution

To achieve connectivity anywhere in the world, SafeTrx turned to Telenor IoT to provide managed connectivity. This ensures that SafeTrx wearables are continuously connected to its command and control systems so users can be monitored whatever they are doing and wherever they are positioned.

Thanks to reliable connectivity provided by Telenor, SafeTrx wearers and the organizations that use SafeTrx can be sure that they are connected, that their location data is being shared and that other key information can be accessed to protect them and ensure threats can be handled efficiently.

We were looking for a suitable wearable for SafeTrx, and when Sony proposed mSafety with global connectivity from Telenor IoT, we immediately seized the opportunity based on the advantages of LTE-M for connectivity and battery life.

Our customers are global, so it is also very important that our connectivity provider has global roaming capabilities. LTE-M is the state of the art, offering carrier-grade machine-to-machine network connectivity, and is growing in popularity with regular new country launches.”

John Murphy
CEO of 8 West

Results

SafeTrx incorporates wind, weather and wave alerts, and is in active use by surfers across Europe, with the first live rescue supported by SafeTrx taking place in the Netherlands in December 2021.

Adventurers see the value of the system for securely tracking their locations and allowing communication of critical information. Recently, Daniel Salbu used the watch as he kayaked around the Norwegian coastline.

For 63 days and over 2800 km, from the Swedish to the Russian border, Salbu paddled his kayak solo along the entire coastline of Norway to raise awareness and money for the Norwegian Sea Rescue Society Redningsselskapet.

Daniel Salbu used the SafeTrx Active watch to track his trip and be able to call for help with SafeTrx Active’s unique safety system that works beyond normal phone networks, even in the most remote areas of Arctic Norway. Daniel put the SafeTrx Active watch through the ultimate test - and it prevailed with glory. “I’m really happy to have had the opportunity to call for help using my SafeTrx Active watch. It gave me an extra sense of security and allows you to lower your shoulders and rely on your own skills - especially in those very remote areas where nothing else works anymore.”

Businesses also rely on SafeTrx. North Sea Farmers, an organization focused on sustainable seaweed cultivation, and Oceans of Energy, which operates an offshore solar farm in open sea off the Netherlands, both use SafeTrx to protect their workers and alerts are sent directly to the coastguard.

8 West has also partnered with Belgian company Zembro to enhance their device and service offering, including indoor tracking and floor mapping using BLE beacons, under the brand Zembro Care.

In healthcare, Swedish municipalities have adopted the SafeTrx solution integrated with the Snubblometer from Infonomy to protect independent seniors by detecting falls and alerting these to the organizations’ existing platforms, operated by Swedish company Skyresponse.

By harnessing the power of managed connectivity, SafeTrx can apply the same technology to widely differing use cases across adventure sports, lone and remote worker safety and elderly care. By keeping its wearables simple to use and easily configured, and by taking care of global connectivity without impacting on users, SafeTrx has removed barriers to adoption and enabled users of all types to see how they can extract value from its wearer protection system and platforms.

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