SRT: Connected Personal Alarm Systems are Critical

The demand for lone worker devices (or personal alarms) is growing rapidly, both for use in the home and at work, offering security for people working in hazardous environments, who are under a high level of threat, or who work alone. Personal alarms track user location by sending alerts for emergency assistance in the form of text or alarm.

Scandinavian Radio Technology (SRT) is one of Sweden’s biggest suppliers of enabled alarm devices, working closely with clients to address particular needs.  With customers across Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas, it’s crucial that SRT has connectivity they can count on, as well as a managed connectivity platform that gives them an overview of their devices.

Tele2 IoT’s 2CONTROL gives them the clear overall picture of their devices that they want and need, allowing them to, for example, control subscriptions, get information about IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity), understand which carrier an overseas device is using, and troubleshoot when problems arise.

The company

Founded in 2004, SRT immediately put its focus on developing products that utilize wireless communication for alarm and positioning purposes. The company works hand-in-hand with customers to create products that address a particular need, with many of their products developed for the Swedish authorities such as the police and the armed services, as well as major security service companies.

This way of working is what led to the development of the SRT306, the lone worker device that made SRT the market leader in Sweden.

“In a number of countries, including Sweden, there is legislation that requires people working alone to have a way of getting in touch with authorities or other parties in the case of accident, illness, or other emergencies,” explains Christoffer Eriksson, Sales Representative at SRT

“The law covers workers such as, industrial workers, taxi drivers, security guards, parking meter workers, social workers, health workers, and many others who work solo. When the big security companies started placing orders so they would be in compliance with the law, the SRT306 was our response.”

The SRT306 is worn by the individual and when it goes off an alert is sent to an emergency service center, the police, or even a mobile phone.  The device provides geo-positioning data and communication runs through a GSM network.  The devices are also often equipped with sensors that can detect and monitor surroundings, enhancing the security capabilities.

Keeping control

Managing its connectivity is crucial to SRTs business and Tele2 IoT’s 2CONTROL (Cisco IoT Control Center) is the ideal solution.

“Not all operators offer IoT Control Center, but for us it’s critical to managing our connectivity,” says Charlotte Öhrström, Delivery Manager at SRT. “It means we don’t have to call Tele2 IoT every time we need something – instead, we can usually get the information we need right on the Control Center. We can administer everything: activate and deactivate SIM cards, look at rate plans, analyze, troubleshoot, and a lot more. For example, if a device goes abroad – in other words, if it roams – we can see which carrier is being used. When you look at other operators, you don’t have that level of self-control over the SIMS, and for us it’s important that we do. We started using SIM cards from Tele2 IoT in 2015, which is when we also started using Control Center.

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“With Tele2 IoT’s 2CONTROL we can handle everything ourselves: we can go in and adjust rate plans, see differences in pricing, and look at communication plans.”

Charlotte Öhrnström Delivery Manager SRT

“Using the right communication plan is important for us,” says Charlotte Öhrström. “We put voice in some of our units but not all.  If we accidentally use the wrong communication plan, we are able to immediately change it in Control Center and it works minutes later.  We need to make sure we are choosing the right communication plan for the right product, so having as much information as possible is great for us.”

SRT is also able to start subscriptions with 2CONTROL, as well as send invoices directly, and most importantly, get information about IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity), something that is crucial for some alarm centers.

Moving from products to services

Technology is moving fast and SRT is responding just as quickly. Most of the SRT staff works in development, which means they are able to stay on top of any technological advancements. That said, fast-moving technology means devices can quickly become obsolete

“We have a lot of alarms out on the market that were developed to work with 2G and 3G,” says Christoffer Eriksson. “2G and 3G are on their way out, though, so we are developing products for 4G and will then level up to 5G.

“The challenge when it comes to futureproofing is that hardware and software go together, so you can just put any software in an old device. You need to have the hardware, the software, and the processors working together. In some cases, we can just take back units and upgrade the software and it will work at a reasonable level, but that doesn’t solve every problem.”

One solution for SRT is to offer lease or rental options, with the subscription business model one they are leaning towards more and more. This offers great benefits to both SRT and their customers.

“Basically, the subscription model makes things much easier for everyone when a device needs to be updated or replaced,” explains Charlotte Öhrström. “We have more control if we want to recall and replace models with new, more responsive ones, while the customer gets more long-term financial benefits. The devices are expensive and yes, they do need to be replaced over time. This means a big outlay for the customer when replacement is needed.”

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“When you’re on a subscription model you can see exactly what your costs will be on both sides of the equation, which means better planning and better financial health for everyone, as well as better service.”

SRT’s leasing deals typically run for 3 years. During that time a device may need to be upgraded, something SRT will take care of on their end. If the device breaks down during the leasing period or needs to be replaced for another reason, SRT gets the customer a new one tomorrow. Additionally, when the lease is up for renewal, the customer can get new and improved devices, ones that have enhanced functionality and upgraded software without having to again go through the whole sales process from the beginning.

“This is much simpler and more cost-effective for our customers and for us,” says Christoffer Eriksson. “By not owning the products the customer does away with the headaches that come when problems arise. That’s for us to handle for them. They also benefit from cost-control – they know what their monthly costs are because there is a cost agreement in place that lets them know what they’re paying for the life of the lease, with no hidden costs.”

Switching out older models also means SRT can retrofit them and put them back on the market, a win-win for everyone and something that also contributes to the circular economy.

The future

SRT has a lot of IoT enabled products and while their stake in the personal alarm industry is big, the market is always changing.

“What we do is develop what the market needs and we respond to our customer’s needs, so we can’t be entirely clear on where that will take us,” says Charlotte Öhström. “We could move into things like temperature sensors or maybe we will expand our offering as the digital landscape continues to evolve. Everything is getting smarter and what we do is develop what the market needs and respond to our customer’s needs. We have the technology to address and solve the problems and challenges our customers face. We’re pioneers and we’re ready for whatever comes our way.”

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