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Quectel modules help pikkerton’s Grannyguard systems keep independent elderly populations safe

As the aging population grows across the world, larger numbers of elderly people are living independently in their homes creating a need for health and safety monitoring. Traditionally, this has been addressed by alarm systems. However, many of these have required the user to trigger an alarm with the obvious lack of effectiveness in the event of an issue such as fall or a heart attack.

Such solutions have also been cumbersome and relied on users wearing devices such as necklaces or wristbands. Sensor specialist, pikkerton, has overcome these limitations with its multi-award winning Grannyguard intelligent fall detection system. The product, which takes the format of a room light switch but adds infra-red temperature sensors and communications capability, can identify if a senior citizen has fallen down.

“The infra-red temperature sensors knit pixels together to understand whether a heat source on the floor of a room is a dog or grandma,” explains Lothar Feige, the managing director of pikkerton. “We see the fall and alert immediately. The device is connectable but also can be operated as a standalone unit with an integrated telephone and two speakers inside the light switch. This enables us to listen to or talk to the injured person.”

The device initially utilized Wi-Fi for connectivity but now offers cellular connectivity as well with the inclusion of the Quectel M66. The ultra-compact 15.8mm × 17.7mm × 2.3mm profile makes this module ideal for size sensitive applications such as Grannyguard which has to fit into the confined space in wall voids that light switches occupy.

Feige says the company has also turned to LTE connectivity in response to demand from customers, such as Swisscom and Sunrise in Switzerland, that are turning off 2G networks. For these deployments, pikkerton has selected the Quectel BG95 LTE Cat M1 module that offers an SMT form factor of 23.6 mm × 19.9 mm × 2.3 mm.

In addition to the Grannyguard system, pikkerton is working on projects where its connected sensors can add value such as for pulse counters and contact detection systems for energy metering. It is also engaged in developing systems to aid Coronavirus prevention initiatives. Initially there were challenges for enterprises in getting detection systems into the business-to-business market and pikkerton’s zero-touch infra-red temperature monitoring sensors present an ideal way to ensure safety through monitoring workers’ temperatures on arrival.

“Our experience with Quectel is good,” confirms Feige. “There are some hidden features in the modules that have been shown to us and the size of the modules has made them well-suited to our systems. In addition, our developers find it easy to work with Quectel and the documentation is clear.”

As pikkerton continues to expand its portfolio into employee protection, it has created a new product that utilizes infra-red thermal imaging to detect fever. The product worked very well in several trials and pikkerton already started the production. With customers asking for the ability to prove they have measured 400 employees each day, the connectivity and data collection capability of the device is imperative and the company has utilized connectivity with Quectel’s BG96 module for firmware updating, monitoring and CSV files.

A further product being pioneered by pikkerton is its NBS180, which is a true IoT CO2 traffic light device. This battery powered device can be mounted onto a wall very easily. According to researchers of the Technical University of Berlin the infection risk through aerosols correlates with the CO2 level caused by humans. Aerosols are very small water or liquid bubbles that don’t follow gravity and might cause infection risk or spread.

LTE BG95-M6 IoT Module

“Quectel’s people are the opposite of lazy, they’re fast and hard working in support of what we’re doing and we highly appreciate it,” adds Feige. “We’ve never touched a module from another company.”

“We’re delighted that pikkerton has selected our wireless modules to enable its range of connected sensor systems,” said Dominikus Hierl, SVP Sales EMEA at Quectel Wireless Solutions. “We’re proud that our modules are helping keep the elderly safe thanks to the capabilities of pikkerton’s Grannyguard and we’re pleased to be able to help keep workers safe through pikkerton’s temperature monitoring solutions and its innovative new approaches to air quality safety.”

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