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Smart cones to protect workers on construction, building sites, roads lane cuts and railyards

By August 20, 2020No Comments

Written by Mathieu Destrian, CEO of Intellinium

This blog originally ran on the Intellinium website. For more content like this, visit

As a first result of their 9-months collaboration, Intellinium and APRR-AREA (Groupe EIFFAGE highway entity managing 30% of French highway) have issued a press release (only in French) featuring a new way to protect workers at risk on industrial forbidden area, roads, highways or building sites, based on smart cone technology connected to connected worker smart PPE powered by Intellinium.

Smart cone can be used in a lot of different use cases. One or several smart cone can be used for instance to protect workers againts falling risk by using a “rope” or “cable” fixed between 2 or more cones.

While designing the smart cone technology, Intellinium improved its safety pod design to ensure a universal add-on (pod) to transform any passive traditional leather-based safety shoes/boots into an active smart PPE which is the connected worker universal gateway. The rationale behind the foot location is to make sure that the protective equipment is always worn by the worker.

This collaborative work has been possible thanks to the active support of APRR-AREA management team as well as the workers on the field facing the risks. The solution has been co-built with all stakeholders to ensure its acceptation and adoption. Industry 4.0 and connected worker call for solutions not only technically advanced but also respective privacy and data rights. From a legal perspective, European GDPR has set a very strict list of rules and requirements to follow. As a rule of thumb, technology an methodology are similarly important when mass adoption within an organisation is at stake.

Simply put, this patented technology connects smart PPE (i.e smart shoes or boots) to any smart cone (any cone equipped with a smart & connected add-on. When the cone equipped with this smart add-on is moved intentionaly or not, or crashed by a car/truck (for instance when the driver falls asleep), a signal is immediatly sent to worker(s) shoes/boots who gets an immediate vibration (about 2 to 3 s) to notify about a critical danger.

Anti-collision solution is compatible with this technology to offer a rich safety ecosystem made of smart PPE and smart equipment.

Using the latest BLE 5.0 (Bluetooth Low Energy 5.0) technology, the smart cone and the smart PPE can be directly connected at a distance between 200 to 250 m depending on the environment. In addition to this wireless protocol which is a defacto industrial standard, Intellinium leverages the use of 3 cortex M cores running Zephyr OS (sponsored by Linux Foundation) ensuring stability and reliability as well as future-proof updatable device.

Additionaly, the smart cone can extend its connectivity capacity through cellular IoT 4G LTE-M1 and 4G LTE-NB1 (aka NB-IoT) powered by the latest Nordic nrf9160 chip to notify a remote IT system about a missing cone that shall be immediately replaced.

smart cone ecosystem

Zephyr Project