Rigado’s wireless edge technologies and secure large-scale networks power more than 6 million connected devices for 300+ global customers. Recently, I had an opportunity to hear from Steve Gorretta, Rigado’s senior director of product, about how Rigado is using its latest Bluetooth® enabled sensors to help businesses ensure compliance with local reopening strategies and regulations.

“Bluetooth® sensors, like the ones Rigado provides in our Safe Workplaces solution, are becoming very popular due to their ease of installation and cost. For monitoring space occupancy, employee and asset location, and providing simple digital signage, Bluetooth technology is by far the easiest to implement.” 
– Steve Gorretta, Rigado

Q&A with Steve Gorretta

Can you help explain/outline the challenges that large venues such as offices, conference centers, and retail stores must face and address in order to safely reopen in a post-COVID-19 world?  

There are two main areas of focus we consistently see: keeping an accurate count of the number of people present for a given space based on its size, format, and max occupancy guidelines and ensuring the venue maintains rigorous cleanliness standards as people come and go. 

What role will technology play in reopening large public venues and buildings? 

Manually tracking the number of people in different sections of a large venue is not scalable for a broad reopening of venues and buildings. Additionally, monitoring when areas, such as changing rooms and restrooms, were last used and need attention while maintaining customer privacy is an opportunity for technology to play a role. Companies are often looking for solutions that are both fast to implement for return-to-work programs and flexible enough to extend over time.

Bluetooth® technology has always provided the benefit of low-cost, real-time, and reliable communication.

How will Bluetooth technology be used to support reopening initiatives?

Bluetooth® technology has always provided the benefit of low-cost, real-time, and reliable communication, which is what a lot of the reopening initiative use cases depend on. For situations where you want to automate counting, tracking, and alerting of a physical space, we see Bluetooth technology playing a central role.

Can you share the other ways in which Bluetooth technology can play a role in helping public venues and buildings reopen safely? 

Bluetooth® sensors, like those Rigado provides in our Safe Workplaces solution, are becoming very popular due to their ease of installation and cost. For monitoring space occupancy, employee and asset location, and providing simple, digital signage, Bluetooth technology offers an easy-to-implement and robust solution. The sensors are battery operated, pre-integrated with cloud applications, and are a fraction of the cost of sophisticated camera systems and displays. This means that a building owner or operator can have a system set up in a few days that ensures they are compliant with their local reopening regulations.

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Can you share more about a project that has been implemented, is currently underway, or is in plan that uses Bluetooth technology to help reopen public venues, offices, etc., due to COVID-19?

Rigado focuses on commercial real estate, such as smart buildings and office, retail, and logistics. Our Safe Workplace Monitoring solution builds upon solutions we already had in the market using our Bluetooth® gateways and sensor networks. When COVID-19 hit we had a lot of solution providers, facilities managers, and even property owners asking for a simple way to implement the use cases we’ve discussed here. In one such project, we’ve deployed our Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) occupancy sensors, alert buttons, and digital displays to enable a restroom cleaning and monitoring solution for a major U.S. real-estate provider that needed to outfit all of its floors in order for tenants to return to work.

 Are there any existing location services implementations you can point to that help illustrate the potential of these safe-workspace and reopening solutions?

We provide a zone-based presence for safe workplaces, which essentially tracks an asset, such as an employee badge or cleaning cart, and reports the zone it was last seen in, typically within an area of a few hundred square feet. This helps the facilities manager check the list of places that have been serviced/clean in a given period of time.

What benefits will this bring to our ability to reopen public venues, offices, etc.?

This goes back to compliance with keeping the spaces cleaned to fight the COVID-19 transmission risk. It’s not practical to have somebody stationed at every restroom or changing room, but using Bluetooth® sensors, we can give facilities managers alerts and tools to make sure their staff is responding to demand.

Are there additional ways in which Bluetooth technology can support reopening?

There’s a lot of opportunity to utilize Bluetooth® technology with mobile apps that are being used by employees for reservations, scheduling, and reopening workflow. That’s something that comes up in most of our customers’ implementations – for example, being able to detect presence, verify occupancy, or locate an employee based on their mobile app beaconing. As Safe Workplaces intersects with the broader smart workplaces and buildings markets, we see this becoming a popular use case for solution providers.

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