Ekahau Launches System to Track Location of Underground Miners in Emergency Situations
Ekahau's Wireless Real-Time Location Technology Uses Standard Wi-Fi Networks To Pinpoint Miners Trapped Underground
Saratoga, CA - February 7th, 2006 - Ekahau Inc. today announced that its Real Time Location System solution (RTLS) is ready for installations in underground mining and tunnel work sites to track the accurate location and movement of miners in real time. The Ekahau system is the only available technology on the market that can leverage any brand of existing Wi-Fi networks inside a mine to locate persons and emergency equipment, without the need for any proprietary hardware or system installations.
Ekahau has deployed its RTLS system in several underground tunnel and mining sites worldwide.
"We have installed Ekahau RTLS in a tunnel work site in León in Spain, to track both personnel and trucks," explained Jose Luis Santos, Sales Manager of Bautel. "The tunnel site is all together 25km long so it would have been impossible to install any proprietary tracking system or antennas here. But we already have a working Wi-Fi network that we keep extending as the tunnel work progresses, and the Ekahau RTLS solution was able to use that existing infrastructure. We did not have to install any new antennas or proprietary hardware: we just installed the Ekahau software and distributed their battery-operated wireless tags to our personnel. So we had our emergency miner location system installed and running in a matter of just a few days."
Wi-Fi networks are being used increasingly in mines worldwide, especially for Voice over IP (VoIP) phone uses. This proliferation of Wi-Fi networks creates a standard wireless infrastructure for Ekahau RTLS to be used for safety tracking purposes. Ekahau's wireless tracker device for miners is a small battery powered Wi-Fi tag (called the Ekahau T201) which features a call button. In case of emergency, the miner can push the call button and the tag will send an alarm as well as its exact location to a remote server which is usually located safely outside of the underground operation. Other staff using wireless computers can access the location information on internal web pages from within the mines by simply pointing their web browsers to an intranet page. The movement and location of each tagged miner is tracked in a database and shown on a visual map on a computer screen. In the event of a disaster, the last known location of the miners will be mapped, even if the Wi-Fi net work has collapsed inside the mine.
"Using Ekahau RTLS for safety and security purposes is nothing new to us," said Antti Korhonen, president and CEO of Ekahau "We have deployed similar emergency management systems in hospitals for locating patients, doctors and critical equipment during disasters. For the underground mines we use the exact same technology, which uses standard Wi-Fi networks, for fast deployment and proven technology."