It’s fair to say that IK Multimedia’s new product is a bit of a departure for the company - in fact, it doesn’t really have anything to do with music technology at all. The Safe Spacer is a new wearable device that’s designed to enable people to maintain social distancing in the workplace, the hope being that it’ll help businesses as they seek to re-open in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Safe Spacer uses ultra-wideband technology to precisely sense when someone else who’s wearing one comes within two metres. If that happens, both wearers will receive an alert - a visual, vibrating or audio alarm - indicating that they need to move further apart.
You might wonder if this could be done via a phone app, but IK reckons that the Space Saver is ten times more accurate than standard Bluetooth applications, offering ultra-precise measurement down to 10cm. It’s also waterproof, so can be easily disinfected.
IK says that the Safe Spacer users a patent-pending algorithm that works immediately, right out of the box, with no setup or other infrastructure required. Obviously, it relies on everyone in an enclosed space wearing one - so isn’t going to be any use on public transport, for example - but it could be a useful social distancing solution in factories, warehouses and offices.
Every Safe Spacer has a unique ID tag and built-in memory so that companies have the option of assigning workers’ names to devices to help them trace any unintentional contact. There’s also a companion iOS/Android app that enables HR and safety departments to associate IDs to specific workers, log daily tracing without collecting sensitive data, configure the alarms, set custom distance and alert thresholds, export log data and more.
"We created Safe Spacer to help our Italian factory workers maintain safe distance during re-opening,” says IK Multimedia CEO Enrico Iori. “It's easy to use, fast to deploy, private and secure, so it can be used comfortably in any situation. We hope this solution helps other companies feel secure as they re-open, too."
Safe Spacer will be available in Q3 of 2020 priced at $100/€100 per unit. Volume discounts are available.