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School safety with IoT and LoRaWAN®

Konecto and Next Degree Safety’s LoRaWAN solution ensures a swift and fast response to emergency situations

April 2, 2024
By The Things Industries

Ensuring school safety through deployment of safety sensors and detectors across expansive school grounds can become challenging. Traditional systems often result in blind spots where crucial areas remain unmonitored, leaving potential vulnerabilities unnoticed. Additionally, such systems often require significant power consumption, leading to higher maintenance costs and the need for frequent battery replacements. Other systems also often rely on a shared building network which allows safety systems operation on that network to be adversely impacted during routine maintenance, equipment outages or disconnecting the wrong patch cord. These challenges can be addressed and solved by LoRaWAN (Long Range Wide Area Network). With its ability to provide wide coverage and long-range communication capabilities on a private network at low power consumption, LoRaWAN becomes suitable for large school campuses or multi-building facilities.

Konecto, an end-to-end IoT solution provider, and Next Degree Safety (NDS), have developed a solution that triggers first response during an emergency on school premises. It empowers school staff to swiftly initiate the emergency response system using LoRaWAN-enabled Panic Buttons and multi-functional buttons located strategically throughout the campus. Upon activation, the Panic Button triggers a 'Code Red' alert, immediately activating the facility speaker system and sending alert messages to on and off site staff to warn students and staff of potential danger. The system also easily interfaces with legacy systems by operating LoRaWAN actuators to control access points, securely locking or unlocking doors and gates as required, and automatically dials the local emergency phone number for assistance.

Next Degree Safety founders have worked with schools and many other organisations deploying legacy life safety solutions for over 30 years. Together with Konecto, they leverage the latest technology to offer clients an alternative to existing emergency alert solutions in order to overcome many of the obstacles that often prevent organisations from deploying these types of systems.

To successfully enable their solution, Konecto and NDS conducted a comprehensive site assessment to strategically identify optimal locations for gateway installations and other critical devices, which also involves a detailed RF (Radio Frequency) planning and network testing. After the successful installation, the team strongly focuses on staff and first responder training, ensuring all stakeholders are proficient in leveraging the system's capabilities for maximum impact.

The technology

Konecto’s solution is fully designed and deployed on the Microsoft Azure platform, utilising Azure IoT Hub as a cornerstone for connectivity and management, leveraging Azure’ advanced analytics, security features, and scalability. The system ensures operational continuity even without internet connectivity, thanks to a local Edge Computer that assumes full cloud functionality, including managing the LoRaWAN network server. This enables uninterrupted emergency response capabilities.

At the core of the application lies The Things Stack Enterprise, a network server deployment plan that allows the management of the solution on-premise and provides full enterprise support. “The exceptional knowledge and steadfast commitment to support were instrumental in making this project feasible, demonstrating not just the technical capabilities of The Things Industries’ solutions but also the profound impact of their collaborative approach to problem-solving,” comments Carlos Beato, Co-founder and CEO of Konecto.

To enable such use cases, Konecto uses devices like Enginko’s MCF-LW13MIO and MCF-LW13IO actuator, Milesight’s WS135 smart panel and MokoSmart’s LW004-PB panic buttons. The connectivity is provided by Kerlink’s Wirnet iFemtoCell-evolution and Wirnet iStation gateways.

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