Smartphone app vs dedicated device: what's best for lone worker protection?

The market for lone worker protection systems (aimed at those working alone in potentially hazardous environments) is a classic example of one where smartphone apps have the potential to grab a sizeable share at the expense of solutions based on dedicated devices. At the same time, the development of a smartphone-app-based solution can increase the size of the market overall, turning it from niche to mainstream. Lone worker protection market Innovation Observatory has analysed this market as an example of the disruptive potential of smartphone apps on business-focused technology solution providers. The chart above shows that the lone worker market can be defined in terms of how important it is that solutions must conform to stringent standards (such as BS5979 and BS8484 in the UK market), and the extent of the service wrap required round the core technology. Many types of companies can occupy positions along the value chain for lone worker protection solutions. The chart below shows how value is distributed by type of company. Lone worker protection value chain Existing and new-entrant players need to understand both the drivers and barriers of the market, and how an app-based solution fits. While dedicated-device-based solutions might be thought of as the more sophisticated and potentially complex approach, in fact a device that combines two or three related functions (such as alarm, door entry-key and location tracker) can be a more elegant and simple-to-use solution. Our thinking is summarised in the chart below: we think there is room for multiple approaches here, and single technology providers should develop products and services appropriately, depending on their chosen position in the value chain. There is room for both smartphone apps and dedicated device solutions. Driver and barriers of lone worker protection market

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