THE INTERNET OF THINGS SAVING LIVES

A sobering thought

 Drink driving is a very real risk in our society. Every year in England and Wales alone, 85,000 people are convicted, and over 3,000 either killed or seriously injured as a direct result of individuals driving under the influence.

 The issue of drink driving has been at the heart of Government funded advertising campaigns for many years. Although awareness of the problem has continued to rise, since 2010 the UK has seen no reduction in the number of fatalities. Recent research has also shown one in five motorists risk driving the morning after drinking knowing they could still be over the legal limit. So, what can be done to help reduce the risk of road accidents?

 As with so many aspects of our lives, the meteoric rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) has seen two businesses address this issue and develop technology which takes drastic steps to eradicate the problem.

 Pressure points

 For some time now Parliament has discussed a Road Safety Framework involving Alcohol in the workplace with an emphasis on public transport. The initiative looked to introduce Alcohol Ignition Interlocks into commercial vehicles and public transport, which inhibit a driver from operating a vehicle when they are over the legal limit. The devices, which are connected to the ignition system of the vehicle, measure the breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) of the driver and consequently lock the vehicle from starting if an individual is over the pre-set limit.

 UK business Alcolock GB, with the help of IoT experts Eseye, have gone about addressing this issue.

 The challenge

Alcolock GB, was established in 2006 to provide fleet operators and individuals a solution to monitor and report on drink driving cases, either in business or their day to day lives. A critical challenge for Alcolock GB when developing its interlock solution was to guarantee a consistent and reliable cellular connection. The ‘USP’ for the Alcolock GB product is its immediate reporting function, submitting alerts via email or text to the HQ of its customer to report any time an employee has failed a breath test. The instant alert not only informs of the negative test, but also the reading given. This function of the technology is heavily reliant on strong network coverage, to ensure all negative tests are reported and dealt with immediately.

 Having previously used SIM cards from other providers, Alcolock GB was finding it difficult to rely on them to maintain a reliable and strong cellular service. An important aspect for the business was to identify a new provider it could trust, and that would provide them with a consistent level of network coverage anywhere in the UK and roaming capabilities for mainland Europe.

 For the majority of customers including passenger transport giant, National Express, it was paramount the issues faced with previous providers were rectified. The requirements were laid out very quickly, with an emphasis placed upon reliability and capacity for European network roaming.

 Free to roam

Once customer needs were agreed upon, Alcolock GB went about identifying a cellular network provider to deliver a dependable solution, sitting alongside its product.

 David Whittock, Managing Director at Alcolock GB, explains, “We had been let down many times in the past and something needed to change. We knew it was important for us to find a new provider who could quickly implement its SIMs into our existing products in order for us to roll out the solution as quickly as possible.”

 Alcolock GB identified Eseye as a potential partner, whose AnyNet SIM is recognised as a product which would fit the bill. The product acts as a network-agnostic SIM, giving global cellular network access and features Multi IMSI options. This technology provides an independent and completely agnostic network of networks that allows routing onto the vast majority of cellular network operators around the world.

 The SIMs were embedded directly into the GSM modems, with very few alterations, allowing for quick acceptance of the Eseye technology, either manually or via text. David continues, “We needed a partner we knew could guarantee the best coverage all of the time. With our products servicing many coach providers in the country, ensuring a reliable network connection was established as quickly as possible was paramount.”

 Due to the nature of our business, the AnyNet SIM’s ability to roam across European networks was pivotal to the agreement being met. The embedded SIM card can provide truly global coverage without Alcolock GB customers needing to set up or even think about local connection deals with operators – a key industry differentiator.

 Safety first

The connected Alcolock GB products don’t sit exclusively within vehicles; many are also deployed across depots around the country. “We have many products mounted on walls in depots around the UK. Gaining readings from drivers before they even enter a vehicle allows our customers to eradicate any danger before a vehicle is even is use”, David added.

 “The Interlock systems are a safety critical piece of kit and so finding such a dependable partner in Eseye has helped us greatly. Although our relationship with Eseye is relatively new, working with them has been a breath of fresh air, and a very welcome change to the common struggles experienced with other providers. The company’s reliable network roaming capabilities will enable us to continue to grow our business across the continent, without the concern of coverage or inflated rates.”

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