Spaceguard reports for duty

REMOTE resources workers have become a little bit safer thanks to the launch of a state-of-the-art crisis response service.
Spaceguard reports for duty Spaceguard reports for duty Spaceguard reports for duty Spaceguard reports for duty Spaceguard reports for duty

Spaceguard, from Brisbane company Indigo Telecom, has been designed for international companies with employees working in risky places such as conflict zones, maritime regions likely to be patrolled by pirates, natural disaster zones or parts of the globe where kidnappings for ransom are unfortunately common.

Indigo Telecom chief executive officer David Ruddiman said the system used satellite technology to watch over employees and respond automatically to any crisis they might face.

"Whether operating in Afghanistan or earthquake and tsunami affected parts of Japan, Spaceguard provides coverage across 100 per cent of the globe and the movements of individual employees can be monitored as required on large screens based at Indigo Telecom headquarters at Brisbane," Ruddiman said.

"The technology's greatest innovation is its automated response triggering mechanism, which automatically tracks anyone with a Spaceguard device and measures and detects any breaches or emergency calls.

"If trouble is detected it also manages the response by triggering an appropriate standard operating procedure."

Ruddiman said Spaceguard had the capability to conduct a virtual roll call so if a disaster happened where employees were known to be, the system could quickly determine who was where and whether they were okay.

"The ability to gather this information so rapidly could mean the difference between life and death," he said.

"Reducing risk can also have a critical impact on insurance premiums, saving companies a significant amount of money."

Indigo Telecom research and development team leader Mark Goodair led the software development for the project and said the beauty of the system was its simplicity.

"Other companies offering similar systems usually require a black box to be clipped onto a person's belt but Spaceguard can be downloaded onto a mobile phone as easily as an iPhone app," he said.

Indigo worked with Microsoft to develop the software platform to ensure the product was easy to use.

"Protecting the privacy of employees was also a priority when developing the program," Goodair said.

"To ensure their anonymity, a person being tracked by the Spaceguard technology appears on monitoring screens as one of thousands of numbered dots. It's only if a duress signal is activated that the individual may become known to Indigo Telecom staff, in accordance with a standard response procedure agreed upon by the company involved.

"This signal can be activated either manually or if an employee ventures outside a designated area defined by what's described as a geo-fence.

"Our aim when developing Spaceguard was to design a system that could monitor and track both passively and automatically without human intervention. It is intelligent software that can also be used to gather history, track the past and make decisions.

"Another real benefit is its ability to be configured to suit an individual client's needs so employees can be monitored some days and not others and may only be tracked when in particular countries or regions."

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