Stream's Solutions for Lone Worker Applications

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Stream's Solutions for Lone Worker Applications

Published: Thu 13 July 2017 | by Abraham Otakoya

Following my attendance at IFSEC International 2017, I thought it would be worthwhile to highlight some of the connectivity solutions that Stream provide to organisations operating in the field of security. In this post, I'll be examining how Stream's connectivity services can be used to support lone worker applications.

A lone worker is an individual who works in isolation without close or direct supervision. There are lone worker roles in a variety of industries, but they are especially common in the fields of security, transportation, storage and primary industries, such as mining or agriculture. Due to the isolated nature of their role, lone workers may be at increased risk of injury or death at work, particularly if they are working in a remote or dangerous location. As well as operating in outlying locations, lone workers can also be found in community-based roles, for example, social workers and homecare nurses.

The diverse range of organisations employing lone workers makes for an equally diverse range of lone worker applications. For example, a lone worker who is operating in a high-risk environment, may be provided with a personal safety alarm, so that they can quickly get help if they become injured or if their safety is under threat. It's important to highlight that lone worker applications aren't just used to help employers safeguard the health and safety of their employees, they can also help to drive efficiency and make it easier for employees to do their job. For example, a lone worker who is responsible for conducting healthcare visits, may be provided with a tablet, or other wireless device, so that they can file reports and submit prescriptions while they are on the move.

As you might expect, regardless of the use case, lone worker devices rely on some form of connectivity being available to ensure that the worker is never cut off from base. With over 17 years' experience in the connectivity sector, Stream has a wealth of experience when it comes to providing resilient and reliable connectivity to lone worker applications.

The Challenge

Connection reliability is an extremely high priority for organisations deploying lone worker applications. If a lone worker's tablet can't establish a connection, then they could be delayed in submitting reports or providing their central office with status updates. If the worker is forced return to their office to perform these duties, it defeats the purpose of working remotely.

On the other side of the coin, although it can be frustrating if a smartphone or a device can't connect to a network, if an SOS alarm cannot establish a connection when it's needed, the consequences could be much more severe. For a lone workers operating in a high-risk environment, being able to establish a connection in an emergency can be a matter of life and death.

The challenge of delivering reliable connectivity to lone worker devices becomes more complex when the worker is operating in an outlying location - in this situation, network coverage can be patchy and finding a stable connection can be problematic. Solving this challenge can be an intricate process, since the provider must be able to deliver connectivity that can be relied on, even in areas of poor coverage.

Stream's Solution

Stream understands how critical connection reliability is when it comes to protecting the safety of lone workers in the field. To this end, our cellular connectivity services have been designed to meet the needs of customers who are transmitting critical data and require the highest level of resilience and reliability from their provider. Two key elements that make Stream's connectivity the ideal fit for lone worker applications are our unsteered roaming and TCP Optimisation services.

Let's look at these elements in more detail ...

Unsteered Roaming
To maximise coverage and connection reliability, Stream can provide customers with cellular connectivity on an unsteered roaming basis. This is particularly valuable for customers for whom being able to establish a network connection is of critical importance.

Many network operators struggle to maximise coverage and deliver reliable connectivity because they provide cellular connectivity on a single network or steered roaming basis. What does this mean and why is problematic? For a detailed explanation, regarding the differences between steered and unsteered roaming, have a look at our video, Stream Explains: Steered and Unsteered Roaming. In a nutshell, it comes down to the fact that steered roaming will always favour a particular network, even if it doesn't offer the best level of coverage. This means that your devices may be forced to use a slower 2G connection on a favoured network, despite a faster network option being available.

It's important to understand the steered roaming isn't necessarily "bad" - for many use cases it's actually more suitable than unsteered roaming - the point here is, when connection reliability is paramount, unsteered roaming may be a better option. Stream's unsteered roaming ensures that your devices will always connect to the strongest network - this eliminates the problem of devices being bound to a favoured network, and helps us to provide optimal levels of connection quality and reliability. Since we have network agreements with 650+ operators across the globe, our unsteered roaming solution delivers exceptional levels of coverage, while our N+1 redundant network infrastructure delivers resilience and reliability, with a proven uptime of 99.999%.

TCP Optimisation
Stream's TCP Optimisation service is extremely valuable for lone worker applications, because it greatly improves the likelihood of devices being able to obtain a network signal, even in areas of poor coverage. Stream's TCP Optimisation technology is built into our network infrastructure, so that all our customers benefit from it automatically.

TCP Optimisation bolsters the reliability of data transmissions on our network and helps us to minimise packet loss. This means that more traffic arrives at its destination the first time it is sent, without the need for retransmission. Not only does this reduce the overall amount of traffic on Stream's network, it also reduces connectivity costs for our customers, as their devices need to send less data.

As well as reducing connectivity costs, TCP Optimisation also improves the performance of our customers' devices when they are operating in areas of low coverage or high contention. Even if your devices are deployed to a location that has spotty network coverage, Stream's TCP Optimisation service will improve the likelihood of a connection being established.

Conclusion

With a depth of knowledge and expertise in the connectivity industry, Stream are expert in deploying solutions that provide high-quality, global, cellular connectivity, backed up by a reliable and robust network infrastructure. Stream's unsteered roaming solution and TCP Optimisation service allow us to deliver unrivalled levels of connectivity - even in areas of poor coverage - and ensures that lone workers can stay in touch with their base of operations.

If your organisation has a requirement for reliable, resilient connectivity please get in touch with me or a member of my team by emailing info@stream-technologies.com or calling +44 (0)844 800 8520.

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