The Problem: A Need for Consistent, Accurate, Cloud-Based Monitoring
Established in the Imec business acceleration program, Lopos collaborated within IDLab, the joint research center of Imec, Ghent University, and the University of Antwerp. Their research centered around the use of ultra-wideband technology which is a safe, accurate, innovative approach to many location-based problems such as asset management, product localization, access control, and collision avoidance. When COVID-19 began spreading across the world, Lopos recognized the potential for ultra-wideband devices to help overcome human error and to provide a reliable social distancing solution.
Their goal was to integrate ultra-wideband technology into a wearable sensor that alerts people when they are in close proximity to another person. Ultra-wideband technology proved to be a uniquely-suited solution due to its high degree of accuracy. Compared to other technologies which may only be accurate to a few meters, ultra-wideband technology provides accuracy to less than 15 centimeters.
Lopos realized this vision in the development of their SafeDistance wearable device, with severable wearable mounts and configurable parameters. The SafeDistance sensor provides highly accurate proximity tracking and multiple alerts including sound, LED, and vibration. It is also GDPR-compliant in that it tracks no personal data or actual location. This makes it easy to adopt and easy to use.
What was missing was how to capture that alert data and route it to the cloud. This missing piece would enable the key component of a next-gen social distance monitoring system: up-to-date cloud logging of non-compliances (events where two users cross the safe distance threshold and trigger an alert). This is critical if a user gets sick – the cloud log of interactions can help compile a list of who else may have been exposed, enabling them to quarantine and reduce spread of the disease.
Lopos needed a cloud-ready gateway solution that was readily available, easy to integrate, high-performing, and ready to design into popular cloud services. They wanted to tie SafeDistance sensors to an analytics-driven web model that would enable site administrators to utilize this information, logging non-compliances and providing actionable intelligence.
However, cloud solutions require their own expertise. With the urgency inherent in the growing pandemic, Lopos needed a capable, experienced partner to help integrate their device into the IoT. A cloud partner with experience would dramatically accelerate their development to help address this already-present threat with a faster time to market.