This month as we focus on Working at Height and Fall Protection at HSE People we are very lucky to be speaking to Roberto Caboni, Founder and CEO of Aldea S.r.l.
Aldea S.r.l. are the company behind the VerticalMan app which supports lone workers safety by focusing on two important situations: man down and lack of motion. For man down ,VerticalMan continuously monitors the posture of the user, if the user’s inclination exceeds a certain angle for more than a decided timeframe, then the VerticalMan app responds with a visual and acoustic alarm to notify people in the surrounding area. There is also an alert sent to a nominated contact via SMS, web service, email, phone or VoIP call. In case the operator works in narrow spaces, VerticalMan can send a notification or alarm if the user becomes motionless too.
HSE People: Hello Roberto, thank you so much for joining us to discuss one of our focus subjects. Can you start by telling us a bit about yourself and how the VerticalMan app came about?
Roberto: Thanks for this opportunity. I have been developing software solutions for over 30 years, I have had the pleasure and honour of working for both big companies and SMEs. I have been in the world of mobile software solutions since 1992 (pre-smartphone era) when I was involved in “attempted sales” and order entry with mobile computer.
VerticalMan was born from the need of one of our important customers who had a dozen underground data centres where the GSM signal was not available and in which several systems engineers worked alone. We have proposed a solution for Android smartphones that integrates with the central alarm management system via Wi-Fi. when we described the project the client’s eyes lit up at the solution. We knew then that we had achieved the goal and that it was better to develop the project as a product to be sold on the market.
HSE People: Excellent, that’s good to know. Is the VerticalMan app aimed at a particular market or professional?
Roberto: The app is ideal for anyone who often works alone, not just in high-risk locations such as construction sites but also in isolated offices. Those who work at height using harnesses and fall protection systems can benefit from having their posture monitored but also those who fall or slip in lower risk environments are also protected.
HSE People: I see, can you give us an example of some of the companies which are already benefitting from using the app?
Roberto: Of course. We are proud to work with a variety of companies such as Bayer (pharmaceutical), Enel Produzione (Italy’s largest energy producer), MBDA (a multinational leader in defence market) and Heineken! There really is no limit to where the VerticalMan app can be used, especially as it does not rely on mobile phone signal.
HSE People: That’s interesting, can you tell us a bit more about how to use the app?
Roberto: It is very simple for the operator to use VerticalMan, just wear the smartphone on the trouser belt. Well as I mentioned it doesn’t rely on your mobile phone signal, it can run over a WIFI network so even those working on isolated sites can be protected. The VerticalMan app can be used on all Android smartphone: commercial, rugged or for ATEX areas (for those in dangerous environments). The app also interacts with the user, for example it can notify them if it cannot monitor due to no reception and it will automatically check the battery level.
HSE People: Can VerticalMan work while other apps are running?
Roberto: Yes of course. It can be used without problems with applications that need to have the device tilted; VerticalMan checks if the user is interacting with the screen or is telephoning and in case it does not raise alarms. Furthermore the app is certificated to run with SureLock which is a tool used by companies to lock down devices if necessary.
HSE People: That sounds good Roberto, are there any add-ons available?
Roberto: Yes, there are. There is Indoor Position System (IPS) performed via a beacon providing accurate positioning data, this can be essential in locating a fallen person and reduce intervention times! The VerticalMan app can also integrate with our eCoRo alarm app console so users can be quickly supported. Information stored on the console can be collated so a list of incidents reported can be analysed and used to understand reoccurring issues, ensuring users are kept as safe as possible!
HSE People: You have kindly provided us with some more information about the different packages available and what is included with them in the table below. Is there anything else you would like to add to this?
Roberto: I would like to mention that we are happy to work with clients who have specific requirements. We understand that every business is different and that while the aim of keeping your workers safe is universal, there are different needs to be considered. VerticalMan has more than 100 parameters to satisfy most customer’s demands but if a company has specific requirements get in touch and we will work with you to create the best solution.
HSE People: Fantastic! And I believe you are also doing something very generous to support some non-profit organisations, is that correct?
Roberto: Yes, that is true! We value the safety of workers so much, that all non-profit organisations with an exclusively humanitarian purpose can use the Aldea software licence for free! Simply contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
HSE People: What a kind and generous offer, I’m sure that is very much appreciated. How can members of the HSE People network find out more about the VerticalMan app and Aldea?
Roberto: You can find out more from our site or using the links below:
HSE People: Thank you so much Roberto for taking the time to speak with us about what you and the team do at Aldea and in particular about the VerticalMan app.