Polte’s new IoT laptop keeps coworkers 6 feet apart
Dallas-Fort Worth businesses are bracing for the “new normal”. For some it means do office renovations to keep spaces sanitized. For others, this prompted a permanent homework policy (or anywhere). But for Addison-based Polte, the leader in precise cloud-over-cellular (C-LoC) location technology, the new era of work has sparked a whole new solution, one that will actually help businesses across the country. to ensure the safety of their employees.
Polte’s goal is to use cloud computing technology to both slow the spread of COVID-19 and automate compliance with the new security protocol.
The company has refined Polte Proximity, an IoT contact tracing solution that leverages Polte’s existing technology to help people socially distance themselves in the workplace. By using Polte IoT Cloud (PIC), an asset tracking platform, companies are able to quickly deploy and automate the security protocol for all employees.
Although it is a variation of Polte’s daily activities, Polte Proximity is cut from the same fabric.
Polte technology enables manufacturers, distributors and merchandise vendors to more effectively track, manage and geolocate millions of distributed assets. GPS and Wi-Fi are the most common tracking technologies, but they are more expensive, drain battery, and only work where there is a direct line of sight to the satellites. This is where Polte comes in.
The health epidemic prompted CEO Ed Chao and his team to refocus this main mission.
Originally, they perfected remote working, but quickly got used to being productive on Zoom and Slack all day long. The Polte platform appeals to many different segments, from consumer to business, so COVID-19 forced the team to reassess ‘ripe for innovation’ areas like supply chain, logistics, distribution and manufacturing.
But then, Chao says, they decided to start focusing on what matters most to the world right now, especially when it comes to Polte technology.
“Our core business is asset monitoring. We leverage cellular computing and the 4G and 5G cloud to provide location inside and outside assets. That’s exactly what we do, ”he told Dallas Innovates. “And then we realized, ‘What’s the most important asset everyone has? ” People.”
Polte’s partners and customers began asking Chao how technology could help with social distancing and contact tracing. Originally, he suggested that they just download an app, but soon realized that it could be tedious and intrusive.
“We realized there was a way to create IoT-based more non-invasive, no-download, out-of-the-box functionality. It’s very low power consumption, has long battery life – it’s our same basic value proposition, but just in a different use case called Polte Proximity, ”he says. “As we talk to more and more people, this is starting to potentially become ‘the platform’ that many companies are going to look to use to help get them back to work. “
The ins and outs of Polte Proximity
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Polte is hoping the device will begin to remove barriers allowing businesses to safely return to work.
The device securely connects to ubiquitous 4G LTE and 5G cellular networks, similar to Polte’s patented “GPS alternative”, to provide management with actionable insights into employee contacts. There are real-time location and proximity alerts, and even an anonymous self-report button that allows employees to notify management of unsafe conditions in any area.
Essentially, Chao says, the device helps empower employees.
Polte Proximity helps people learn about social distancing and exposure. With subtle alerts, an employee can be alerted if they have been in a confined space with a large number of people for too long or put others in uncomfortable situations.
“It helps employers apply their guidelines, whether they want to make them more stringent or more flexible. If they want to be strict, they can activate alerts that require an employee to press the button they recognize as having been alerted, ”says Chao. “In addition, this button can be used for the employee. One of the biggest problems is “social stigma”. The button is therefore a way to anonymously and privately report when employees feel unsafe, and this information, along with the location and time, can help employers be aware of conditions in certain places.
The device is easy to set up right out of the box – no additional infrastructure or downloads to a phone are required, it’s inexpensive and low-power, and works indoors and out .
Imagine a small, portable, rechargeable device similar to a keychain. Employees would wear Polte Proximity on an ID badge or facility access card, and could leave it in the office or turn it off overnight.
“Returning to work is as much a psychological thing as it is a physical thing,” says Chao. “I think leveraging technology to be ‘the platform’ that keeps us all coming back is powerful. “
Chao plans to release the first commercial devices within the next two to three months and increase production before the end of the year. He expects Polte Proximity to be most useful in manufacturing or distribution facilities or on large campuses with multiple buildings. Teltech Group, a Frisco-based technical services and asset management company, was one of the first to adopt it.
And, by deploying Polte Proximity, Chao and his team plan to donate half of the profits in 2020 to coronavirus relief efforts.
“Where this comes from is that we try to do what we can from our part of the world,” Chao says. “It sounds very cliché, but we just want to make the world a little better.”
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