Omega2S consolidates sensor data and provides computing & communication for a high-precision location tracking solution
“We help you realize the full potential of aggregated alarm management bundled with employee protection and localization of employees when they need assistance.”
Klaus Bom Werge, Co-founder and CTO of ZONITH A/S
Safe Working Environment for Employees
Seeing the potential of using M2M modules in aggregated alarm management systems, ZONITH created an IoT hub to consolidate the process of localizing and protecting employees using a Bluetooth receiver to collect various real-time data. The most important issues taken into consideration when developing the product were as follows:
- Under 350ms reaction to critical events and panic alerting
- Alarm system management tool that can be accessed through a mobile device
- Easy personal identification of employee for personal protection and safety especially for Lone Worker working in a long-distance facility
- Ability to send and receive Bluetooth advertising data + minimize efforts in hardware development.
Development of the product started with the desire to use an all-in-one module running Linux because it allowed for quick development of a minimum-viable-product and simplified mass production. Using Linux allows Zonith’s software developers to use high-level programming languages like NodeJS rather than C or C++ which can be cumbersome and hard to work with. This was essential since most of their core application was already written in NodeJS before even starting work with a single board computer.
On the hardware side, using a drop-in ready all-in-one module gave Zonith, a primarily software-focused company, a solid foundation to quickly make custom hardware. This saved time since the most complex circuits were taken out of the development and manufacturing equations.
Initially, Klaus and his team were planning on using the CHIP Pro but needed to quickly pivot since the company behind this device suddenly went out of business. They looked at the Pine64 and Raspberry PI as alternatives, but because of issues with commercial licensing and stability concerns with SD cards, they decided to look into the Omega2S.
While using the Omega2S meant the addition of an external Bluetooth module (another relatively expensive component), they still found the overall price point very favourable when compared to the alternatives.
Needing a Brain for Positioning Data
According to Klaus “One of the important goals of modern staff safety solutions is to be able to position staff members inside buildings and to be able to raise wireless panic alarms.” In the Zonith Bluetooth Receiver, the Omega2S acts as the central processor and communication gateway. It allows us to connect to the internet over ethernet, and it interfaces with the built-in Bluetooth module via serial UART,” he explains.
The Linux OS simplifies managing and communicating with the Bluetooth module. Programs written in GoLang and NodeJS collect positioning and alarm data from Bluetooth devices and panic buttons in the area and securely submit this to a central server-based solution.
The Omega2S provides a scalable and flexible foundation for Zonith products. During initial development, Klaus and the team needed to build the first prototype within a few months, while at the same time maintaining scalability for manufacturing down the line. During the prototyping stage, it did not matter if they used a surface mount or through-hole single-board computer, but for production purposes, the former proved much easier to use for larger-scale manufacturing.
Launching any connected product means going through a sometimes long and expensive certification process. The Omega2S modules are FCC and CE certified, which greatly simplifies the certification process for the end device. This helped the ZONITH team further reduce their time to market since no time-consuming surprises came up during the testing and certification of the Bluetooth Receiver.
Having an All-In-One Single Board Computer