18 June, 2020

COVID-19 IoT Alliance supports quarantine efforts in Singapore

Using Teltonika GPS trackers, BLE bracelets, and flespi to implement a solution for monitoring infected people in dedicated facilities.

We are happy to share that flespi and Teltonika contributed to an important anti-COVID project led and implemented by our common customer based in Singapore. Ascent Solutions is an IoT company that focuses on providing end-to-end solutions to the global supply chain logistics community for their track and trace needs. Gregory Lee, who is the co-founder and Director of Products, is the driving force behind the solution. He provided many details around the project, which we are sharing in this article.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak began earlier this year the government of Singapore has been rapidly setting up expansive quarantine facilities. Such facilities are set up to house people, who have been confirmed to have contracted the virus, but whose symptoms are mild enough to not require hospitalization. The intent is to create a safe and comfortable environment, where people could spend time without exposing others to the transmission of a potentially deadly virus. These facilities get set up in unused buildings, factories, schools, etc. They get refurbished and repurposed to house people for the mandatory 14-day quarantine. Folks in these facilities are being constantly monitored by trained medical personnel. Should their condition deteriorate beyond mild-to-moderate, they get transported to hospitals for more involved care. Such an approach greatly helps with not overwhelming the hospitals and prioritizing the care for patients whose condition is serious-to-severe.

One of the significant challenges in these facilities is that they are so vast that quickly locating a patient, many of whom roam around freely throughout the day, oftentimes proves to be a non-trivial task. A need emerged to be able to locate any patient quickly should they need medical attention. Now, remember, these are temporary facilities, and putting in the substantial infrastructure to implement patient tracking was out of the question. The solution had to be quick to deploy and easy to maintain.

Gregory Lee came up with a very elegant and simple to implement a solution that relies on BLE bracelets that would be put on wrists of patients, Teltonika FMU130 telematics devices that would capture and transmit (via the cellular network) the identifying and positional information from bracelets, and flespi for the processing of the incoming data before pushing it out to the custom-developed front-end interface. Why Teltonika FMU130?  It is a 3G terminal with GNSS and Bluetooth connectivity. Teltonika was a pioneer in incorporating Bluetooth technology in its devices and to this time is one of the market leaders to offer stable and reliable solutions.

Here is what’s peculiar about this case. Even though FMU130 are telematics devices designed to capture GPS signals and transmit the coordinates of a continuously changing location of a moving asset, in this case, the devices are mounted statically throughout the facility and serve as gateways. As people with the bracelets on come into the proximity of one of the Teltonika devices, FMU130 captures and passes the identifying information to flespi. Flespi stores the hardcoded set of coordinates for all deployed Teltonika trackers (manually entered by project implementation personnel). As trackers pass the information to flespi a separate data packet (that represents data from a BLE bracelet) gets created and the hardcoded coordinates of that device get attached to it. Once the information flows into Ascent’s custom developed application, it becomes very easy to operate with, as each bracelet can be managed as a separate “tracker”. Such implementation is documented in detail in this article on the flespi website.

The whole implementation in a large facility takes a record time of only 2-3 weeks. The same solution is also used to monitor people served with Stay Home Notice to ensure that they do not leave their premises during the self-quarantine period.

On behalf of both flespi and Teltonika, we applaud Ascent Solutions and the lead architect of the solution Gregory Lee for the compelling example of how IoT technologies can help in the time of crisis. Given that implementation is directly related to the anti-COVID-19 initiative, flespi is provided for free and Teltonika FMU130 devices — at a special discounted price.

Flespi contact: Sergei Leuchanka, lese@gurtam.com 

Teltonika contact: Tadas Kairys, tadas.kairys@teltonika.lt 

Ascent Solutions contact: Gregory Lee, gregory@borderlesshub.com