Oct 17th, 2019
The mSafety platform from Sony consists of two main components: a wearable device and a Cloud-based fleet management backend for management of devices. It’s not a turnkey solution, which means it always requirs a partner (like the SafeTrx team at 8 West Consulting) to develop an application which leverages mSafety’s unique features in the real world.
The collaboration between mSafety and SafeTrx has led to the development of a new SafeTrx app which features emergency alerting, activity tracking and health monitoring. It’s specifically designed for emergency rescue applications at sea. If, for example, a windsurfer or kitesurfer, runs into bad weather or suddenly falls sick while wearing the mSafety device, he or she can send an emergency alarm to mobilise local rescue services.
Using 4/5G IoT Cat-M1 communication, the wearable, which has IP68 classification, is directly connected via mobile data networks to the SafeTrx Command & Control solution. It uses the latest bi-directional data network to continuously transmit position, speed and other information to safety authorities. So, in the event of an emergency, rescuers can respond quickly using the SafeTrx Command & Control solution. Bi-directional communication also allows the safety authorities to send information back to the user’s wearable, confirming that the distress alert has been received.
Trials in Norway and The Netherlands
A series of trials was designed to find out how well the new service works in different types of weather, including stormy conditions.
The first was carried out with support from Redningsselskapet, the Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue at their base in Lysaker near Oslo. A group of volunteers took part, including sea kayakers, electrified jet board surfers and Oda Johanne Brødholt one of the world’s top windsurfers.
Together, we rigorously tested the tracking and alerting functions of the device. One of the key points we wanted to check was whether or not the wearable would continue to send a strong distress signal from under the water. The result was positive: it worked just as anticipated.
The conditions in Norway were calm on the day of the trials, with little or no wind. The same cannot be said of our second test session, which took place in The Netherlands. When working in partnership with our friends in the KNRM in Scheveningen, the weather was blustery so we had an ideal opportunity to test the wearable to its limits.
The trial involved a simulated rescue of windsurfing volunteer, Niels Van Campen, as he fought against gale force 6 winds and 1.5 metre high waves. In such rough conditions, it’s much harder for the lifeboat crews to spot someone in the water. But thanks to the SafeTrx tracking and alert function, the crew were brought to within two metres of Niels’ location.
All in all, 12 volunteer kitesurfers and other windsurfers tested the SafeTrx tracking function that day. The tests were very useful for all of us. They proved the capabilities of the mSafety wearable, even in adverse conditions. As a bonus, the SafeTrx developers got some useful input on the lifestyle features our test crew would like to see in future.
Author: Anders Strömberg, Head of Wearable Platform Dept. Network Communications
Anders heads a newly formed department within Sony that provides a solution leveraging 4/5G IoT communication technology for application areas such as search & rescue, safety and mobile health. He has previously held management functions within business development, R&D and product management at several major tech companies (Hewlett-Packard, Siemens and HemoCue) as well as start-up companies (Advenica, Appium/Aepona, MIMT, Heyhop and Bluelabs).
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