THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn., March 30, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Digi-Key Electronics announced that it has deployed a robust safe distancing solution for all employees in their product distribution center (PDC) with more than 2,500 active employee badges online in the first two weeks of the solution deployment.
The Safe Distancing solution works through a badge that each individual employee is issued. The badges interact wirelessly with one another and feed to a cloud platform which can maintain contact tracing information and improve the accuracy and efficiency of necessary quarantine procedures.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues on, with unexpected spikes and surges in different regions at different times, Digi-Key remains committed to maintaining a safe and clean work environment. By deploying Option’s Bluetooth badge sensors to employees potentially working in close contact with others, Digi-Key has been able to more accurately perform contact tracing procedures and significantly reduce the number of employees that need to quarantine when an employee does test positive.
“We selected the badge option with Option because it really offered the best in employee privacy,” said Shane Zutz, vice president of human resources for Digi-Key. “It provides the contact tracing needed to mitigate disruptions due to health concerns, without an infringement of privacy and does not trace anyone beyond our corporate campus.”
Beyond offering the most employee privacy out of any solution available on the market, the Safe Distancing solution was also the quickest option to integrate, and Digi-Key did not have to make any significant investment in the infrastructure. The battery life on the badge is also long enough that it won’t be seen as too intrusive to ask employees to charge them once a week. Digi-Key also already had plans to implement LoRaWAN® technology in the future as part of their smart warehouse initiative, and this option was one of the few that was based on a LoRaWAN network.
The solution works on a LoRaWAN network (low-power wide-area network) that is active within the walls of the Digi-Key campus. The newly built-out LoRaWAN network wirelessly transmits the information to a cloud platform that securely maintains contact records in the event that a contact tracing report needs to be created. The LoRaWAN network also opens up other options for future applications critical to the company’s “smart warehouse” initiative such as building access, area access, asset tracking, and more.
When considering deploying a solution, Digi-Key ran several test cases and realized they were able to significantly cut down on the number of employees quarantining due to a potential COVID-19 exposure based on CDC guidelines. One scenario reduced the number of people from 23 to 4, and another scenario went from 19 down to 3. Since the solution is based on contact events between badges rather than more invasive means like employee interviews, the solution can more accurately report when employees are within 6 feet of one another for an extended period of time.
Digi-Key worked with value-added distributor and integration partner GetWireless on the deployment and support of the badge devices and gateways. The badges only need to be charged about once per week. The company is already using visitor-specific badges for the minimal visitors allowed in the building at this time.
What were the results?
- Rapid deployment – 2,500 active badges deployed to employees and visitors over a 2-week period
- Reduced the number of employees requiring quarantine from 23 to 4 (83% reduction) in one case and 19 to 3 (85% reduction) in another
- Results kept 35 additional employees performing critical functions in shipping and warehouse operations, thereby shipping 20,000 additional orders
- Safe Distancing solution paid for itself after only 5 positive test results
“The GetWireless Team is proud to have worked closely with Digi-Key during their trial and roll-out of the Option Safe Distancing Solution for the Workplace,” said Brian Taney, CEO of GetWireless. “It is exciting to see a large, innovative organization like Digi-Key leveraging IoT Solutions to address real-world issues, and in-turn, to gain greater visibility into the well-being of their great team.”
“Digi-Key recognized the strength and flexibility of Option’s solution which rests on two pillars – WMW’s cloud-based platform with apps and data registrars and Option’s CloudGate IoT gateway with superior wireless LoRaWAN performance; both core building blocks for successful digital transformations in Digi-Key,” said Alain Van den Broeck, CEO of Option.
Click here to learn more about the Option Safe Distancing Solution
About Digi-Key Electronics
Digi-Key Electronics, headquartered in Thief River Falls, Minn., USA, is an authorized global, full-service distributor of electronic components, and provides access to unlimited adjacent products and technologies through their online Marketplace. They offer more than 11.8 million components, with over 2.6 million in stock and available for immediate shipment, from over 1,700 quality name-brand manufacturers. In addition, Marketplace Product provides a singular shopping experience for all things related to technology innovation — IoT, industrial automation, test and measurement and more. Additional information and access to the world’s broadest resources for technology innovation can be found by visiting www.digikey.com and on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Established in 2001 and based in Minneapolis, GetWireless is a leading Value-Added Distributor of cellular solutions that connect the Internet of Things. By supporting a strong portfolio of embedded modules, end-device modems, intelligent gateways, and cellular boosters, GetWireless is able to supply the most advantageous cellular solution for each new IoT application.
Option™ is a member of CRESCENT NV (“OPTI” on Euronext BE). Crescent NV was created in May 2018 with the ambition to become a leading end-to-end IoT solutions integrator. The group is organized along 3 business units: Crescent Solutions, formed by Option, renowned developer & manufacturer of IoT components and solutions for worldwide markets, SAIT and Maro. Crescent Lighting, represented by Innolumis Public Lighting, leading developer and producer of smart and energy-efficient public lighting based on LED technology. Crescent Services, home for 2InVision, trusted providers of managed, cloud & infrastructure services. Crescent is ideally positioned to offer efficient, reliable, and secure IoT solutions across a variety of industries and applications. The expertise of this group of companies makes Crescent a one-stop shop and ideal partner for the development and implementation of innovative IoT integration projects.