Round-the-clock alarm services

“We can never shut up shop, we have to keep going round the clock, 365 days a year,” says Mikael Sjögren at SOS ALARM. “This places heavy demands on staff and systems. B&M Systemutveckling is a reliable partner when the system needs updating or new functions need to be developed.”

SOS Alarm’s primary function is to be responsible for the 112 emergency services number. Other important community services include alerting the emergency services, prioritisation and routing of ambulance assignments. The company also plays an important role in public contingency planning.

In addition to this, SOS Alarm offers safety services, such as dealing with fire alarms, burglar alarms, personal alarms and emergency medical alarms. SOS Alarm is a limited company owned 50 per cent by the state and 50 per cent by the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR).

Mikael Sjögren is head of the development department.

“We can never shut up shop,” he says. “We have to keep going round the clock, 365 days a year, and that places heavy demands on staffing and systems. Therefore we employ systems with double, and even triple, safeguards.”

The field of safety alarms covers a variety of alarms; they could be for buildings, such as fire alarms (automatic or manual), or alarms at industrial plants, everything from nuclear power plants to chicken farms. But it could also involve mobile alarm units, generally personal or cars. And that’s where B&M’s IT system comes in. On the one hand, there are assault alarms that secure transport vehicles, etc. are equipped with, and then there are emergency medical alarms at accommodation for the elderly, for example.

People in vulnerable jobs and carrying out hazardous activities, such as solitary workers, forestry workers and social workers, may also be equipped with an alarm. With one push of the alarm button the SOS operator receives information about who the person in distress is, their situation and what help is required. There are also personal alarms with so-called fall alarms, which are triggered if the bearer ends up in a horizontal position.

Automatic information screen

In addition to the person’s identity, other information such as employer, contact names, special medical requirements, etc. can be stored and displayed on the alarm operator’s screen. This allows personnel sent to assist to be better prepared. When an alarm is triggered, a message immediately goes through to the SOS alarm centre via B&M’s servers. Using GPS or GSM the alarm operator can see who has triggered the alarm, what has happened (for example, assault or fall) and the exact location. All this comes up on the screen for the alarm operator, with a map.

Appropriate response

Depending on the nature of the incident and the action plan, SOS Alarm will ensure that the appropriate form of assistance is rapidly alerted, for example, emergency services, police, security guards or ambulance, and thus reduce harmful consequences. This provides peace of mind for vulnerable individuals.

If a forestry worker has had a fall, perhaps a nearby foreman needs to be contacted, if it’s a burglar alarm, a security guard may need to be summoned, but if it’s an alarm from a vehicle transporting valuables, the police probably need to be called in.

However, that’s not always the end of the matter; sometimes follow-up action may be needed. If, for example, a car has been stolen, the police may need ongoing position references.

You might think having a mobile phone with you is sufficient these days, but phones can get lost, it may be outside the coverage area, and they are not as easy to track. A mobile phone can only be traced to the sector and distance from a phone mast, not its exact location. Nowadays there are apps for smartphones that can report where they are, but that doesn’t help if you are out of range.

Camilla Bergman is a system administrator at SOS Alarm.

“B&M Systemutveckling provides essential support in development of our services,” she says. “For example, when the telecommunications carrier changed SMS protocol, the whole system needed to be upgraded. The process went incredibly smoothly. B&M responded and helped out immediately.”

Mikael Sjögren:

“They know their stuff. B&M are experts. When a problem arises they solve it, and that’s what you need.”