GB2193359A - Area communication systems - Google Patents

Area communication systems Download PDF

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Publication number
GB2193359A
GB2193359A GB8618694A GB8618694A GB2193359A GB 2193359 A GB2193359 A GB 2193359A GB 8618694 A GB8618694 A GB 8618694A GB 8618694 A GB8618694 A GB 8618694A GB 2193359 A GB2193359 A GB 2193359A
Authority
GB
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
unit
area
moveable
identification
interrogator
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Granted
Application number
GB8618694A
Other versions
GB8618694D0 (en )
GB2193359B (en )
Inventor
John M Spiers
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Multitone Electronics PLC
Original Assignee
Multitone Electronics PLC
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B3/00Audible signalling systems; Audible personal calling systems
    • G08B3/10Audible signalling systems; Audible personal calling systems using electric transmission; using electromagnetic transmission
    • G08B3/1008Personal calling arrangements or devices, i.e. paging systems
    • G08B3/1016Personal calling arrangements or devices, i.e. paging systems using wireless transmission
    • G08B3/1083Pager locating systems
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06KRECOGNITION OF DATA; PRESENTATION OF DATA; RECORD CARRIERS; HANDLING RECORD CARRIERS
    • G06K7/00Methods or arrangements for sensing record carriers, e.g. for reading patterns
    • G06K7/0008General problems related to the reading of electronic memory record carriers, independent of its reading method, e.g. power transfer
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07CTIME OR ATTENDANCE REGISTERS; REGISTERING OR INDICATING THE WORKING OF MACHINES; GENERATING RANDOM NUMBERS; VOTING OR LOTTERY APPARATUS; ARRANGEMENTS, SYSTEMS OR APPARATUS FOR CHECKING NOT PROVIDED FOR ELSEWHERE
    • G07C9/00Individual entry or exit registers
    • G07C9/00007Access-control involving the use of a pass
    • G07C9/00103Access-control involving the use of a pass with central registration and control, e.g. for swimming pools or hotel-rooms, generally in combination with a pass-dispensing system
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07CTIME OR ATTENDANCE REGISTERS; REGISTERING OR INDICATING THE WORKING OF MACHINES; GENERATING RANDOM NUMBERS; VOTING OR LOTTERY APPARATUS; ARRANGEMENTS, SYSTEMS OR APPARATUS FOR CHECKING NOT PROVIDED FOR ELSEWHERE
    • G07C9/00Individual entry or exit registers
    • G07C9/00007Access-control involving the use of a pass
    • G07C9/00111Access-control involving the use of a pass the pass performing a presence indicating function, e.g. identification tag or transponder
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B25/00Alarm systems in which the location of the alarm condition is signalled to a central station, e.g. fire or police telegraphic systems
    • G08B25/01Alarm systems in which the location of the alarm condition is signalled to a central station, e.g. fire or police telegraphic systems characterised by the transmission medium
    • G08B25/10Alarm systems in which the location of the alarm condition is signalled to a central station, e.g. fire or police telegraphic systems characterised by the transmission medium using wireless transmission systems

Abstract

An area communication system for providing positional information about a plurality of individually identifiable elements includes identification tags 4 attachable to moveable elements, the identification tags being interrogated by interrogator units 3 locatable at one or more access points to zones forming the area and the results of the interrogation being transmitted to a central monitoring unit 1. The central monitoring unit includes a status register 1a for monitoring which identification tags are in operation, a location register 1b for monitoring the zonal position of the identification tags, a paging encoder 1c for encoding a paging signal prior to transmission by a paging transmitter 5 and a telephone interface 1d connectable to a PABX 6. A display 1f may provide continuous position and status information or provide such information on demand. The manner in which paging signals are transmitted is dependent on the zonal position information maintained by the location register 1b. <IMAGE>

Description

SPECIFICATION Area communications systems This invention relates to area communications systems.

Known area communications systems use short-range radio communications to communicate between a central unit and one or more remotely distributed moveable elements. In these communications systems each moveable element may be provided with a communication device having a unique address to enable it to respond to transmissions from the central unit. In simple versions, the communication device may just respond to a call signal and then provide some form of attention-getting signal to the user; more sophisticated systems may permit two-way communications between the central unit and moveable element. Additionally, such moveable elements may be provided with an additional address which is common to several moveable elements thereby forming a predetermined group.

In this way a group, team or family of moveable elements may be contacted simultaneously.

Door entry systems, in which someone seeking access offers a card carrying a bar code or magnetic stripe to a reading head, are also known. These have been developed into automatic identification systems. In an alternative system an interrogator unit emits a signal via an aerial located close to a doorway or access point and will only permit access in response to an acceptable coded signal received from a low power transmitter-receiver "radio tag" carried by the person approaching.

According to one. aspect of the present invention there is provided an area communication system for providing positional information about one or more moveable elements within an area, the system comprising: an identification tag locatable on or associated with each moveable element; and at least one interrogator unit operable to interrogate the identification tags, each interrogator unit being locatable at an access point to one or more zones within the area, the interrogator units being linked to a central monitoring unit for monitoring the movement of identification tags past the interrogator units to provide continuous position monitoring of the zonal positions of the moveable elements provided with identification tags.

Advantageously, the efficiency, flexibility of operation, and reliability of communications systems can be much improved if the location of the moveable elements is known.

According to another aspect of the present invention there is provided an area communication system comprising: a plurality of identification tags associated with a respective'plurality of moveable elements; interrogator units operable to interrogate the identification tags, each of the interrogator units being located at an access point to a respective zone; a central monitoring unit responsive to the interrogator units for monitoring the movement of the identification tags past the interrogator units to provide information as to the zonal location of each of the moveable elements; and communication apparatus for providing a communication link to and/or from the zones, the operation of the communication apparatus being controlled by the central monitoring unit in accordance with the location information relating to the moveable elements.

The central monitoring unit preferably includes a status register, the status register registering which of the identification tags are in operation and which are not.

Advantageously, the combination of a paging receiver and a radio tag in a single portable unit provides more information at the control point of the paging terminal in respect of the status of personnel, than would be available from a paging receiver alone.

Advantageously, the efficiency and usefulness of emergency communications systems can be improved by using the positional infor mation provided by continuous monitoring of the moveable elements. In hospitals, for example, key members of staff carry paging receivers and can be alerted by means of a radio transmission, to the occurrence of, say, a cardiac arrest. If one or more people failed to respond to such a "group alert" call, the results could be disastrous. This might occur for a number of reasons: if they were already dealing with another emergency; if they did not hear the bleeps (in an area of high ambient noise); if they were not within range of the transmitter; or if their paging receiver or some other part of the paging system had developed a fault.If the locations of the members of staff were known, both before and after transmission of the paging call, this could enable their response to be monitored.

Paging systems will sometimes include a limited number of portable units which have a talkback transmitter in addition to the receiver; this would enable a moveable element say, to report to a control room at intervals throughout its movement around an area. An example of this would be a night-watchman patrolling an industrial complex. If the portable unit again incorporated a radio tag, then the location of the element at all times could be displayed on a console in the control room. In the event of breakdown or any form of accident causing immobilisation, which prevented the element from calling in after a pre-set period of time, or from reaching the next interrogation point after the normal period (plus a margin) taken to complete that particular leg of a tour, then an alarm would sound at the console and as sistance could be directed to the location shown.The time taken to cover each indivi dual leg of the tour can be programmed into the paging terminal during the setting up procedure. Separate radio circuits are required in the portable unit for the paging and location functions, but the unique digital code identity, normally given to a paging receiver or radio tag operating in a stand-alone role, can now be shared by both.

Alarm systems are becoming increasingly popular, particularly in sheltered accommodation. Individuals carry a low power transmitter which can be activated by pressing a "panic" button; although the coded signal will identify who is sending the call, it will not indicate their location within the building. If the alarm transmitter incorporates a radio tag and the outputs from the interrogation points, spread throughout the building, are fed to a central processor and are coupled to a display unit situated in the entry hall, then immediately on entry to the building, a warden could ascertain where his assistance is required.

In order that the invention may be more fully understood it will now be further described by way of illustrative and non-limiting example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which: Figure 1 shows a general arrangement of an area communication system; and Figure 2 shows a diagram of how the area is to be sub-divided into zones.

Figure 1 shows an integrated area communications and location system. A central monitor unit 1 is shown as being sub-divided into a number of sub-units, including a status register 1 a which records the status of each of the moveable elements. This information is stored against the name and/or identity number of each person and includes the unique address of their identification tag and may be used to indicate if they are on or off duty, whether or not they are members of a larger team (for example, an emergency team), locations in which they should not be paged, and possibly a message-taking facility such as a telephone number. The central monitoring unit 1 also incorporates a location register 1 b, for monitoring the locations of the individuals carrying identity tags.The central monitoring unit 1 also includes a pagipg encoder 1 c for producing the appropriate paging code prior to transmission by a paging transmitter 3. The central monitoring unit 1 also incorporates a telephone interface 1d, a central processor 1e, and a display unit 1f.

in operation, as the moveable elements carrying identification tags 4 move around the area covered by the communication system, they will in moving from zone to zone pass an interrogator unit 3. The interrogator units 3 are located at access points to zones comprising the area, the boundaries being chosen to subdivide the area into zones of convenient size. When each moveable element passes the interrogator unit 3, the interrogator unit interrogates the indentification tag 4 which in turn responds with its own identity. The identity of the moveable element is then transmitted to the location register Ib which records a change of zone and monitors the presence of the moveable element 4 in the area. The interrogator units 3 are so arranged and located to per mit the m to determine the transition from one zone to another of the moveable elements 4.The location of a particular moveable element may be displayed on the display unit 1f either continuously or on demand. In the event that the moveable element is a person carrying a radio pager and identification tag, the person can be coupled into the paging terminal by using the telephone interface id and a PABX 6. For those individuals who have a one to one relationship with particular telephone extensions, when there is no reply from that extension the terminal may intercept the call and check the status and location registers. If the party being cailed is on duty and can be traced to a given zone then the call may be transferred to a telephone within that zone. Alternatively a paging call could be initiated and the extension number of the caller displayed on the paging receiver.

Additionally, the location register ib may be accessed from any telephone extension by inputting an entry number followed by the identity number of the individual being traced.

Presence in a particular zone could cause the central processor to send a voice prompt, indicating which zone this is, back to the caller.

Figure 2 shows a general arrangement of a area sub-divided into a plurality of zones.

Upon entering or exiting the area, each of the moveable elements or identity tags 4 should have its status recorded at the status register la. In order to gain access to any of the zones, the identity tag 4 must pass an interrogator unit 3 which will interrogate the tag, and having determined its identity, pass the information to the central monitoring unit 1. In moving from one zone another the identification tag 4 must pass an interrogator unit 3, when the interrogation process is repeated and the new location of the tag will be transmitted to the location register 1b which will then be updated. In this way, the location of the various identifiable moveable elements can be monitored continuously, and the location register can provide continuous positional information via the display If. The display may be located either centrally along with the central monitoring unit 1, (not shown), or there may be provided a plurality of display units if in the zones.

A preferred embodiment of the invention can be used in, for example, a hospital. In this particular application, the whole hospital area is sub-divided into zones, each zone comprising, for example, a ward, an operating theatre or the office of a member of staff. Upon entering the hospital, the member of staff records his arrival and on-duty status at the status register la. His progress through the hospital to his place of work can then be monitored as he passes the various interrogator units 3. If the member of staff were part of an emergency team and an emergency were to arise, he can be paged via the radio paging system, the paging tone being such as to indicate an emergency has arisen. Having determined the location of the emergency, his progress towards the site of the emergency can be monitored as he passes the interrogator units 3.In the event that any member of the team were not to respond to the emergency call by moving towards the zone in which the emergency has occurred, then further measures can be brought quickly into action, either for example, a re-issuing of the paging call or the use of some other attention-getting means.

In one mode of operation, when the operator initiates a "group alert" call on the paging system, the pagers carried by the members of that group or team will emit a train of short 'pips' in quick succession, for example for about 4 seconds. The operator will also key in a short numeric or alphanumeric code which indicates the area where the emergency has occurred; this will be displayed on the pagers (the operator may reinforce the displayed information by means of a spoken message).

The terminal will be holding, in memory store, a record of the locations of all staff equipped with the portable unit, at the moment when the group alert is initiated. Any team member who is recorded as being effectively "unavailable", will immediately be flagged up on the operator's console, or any member who has not entered the emergency zone within, say, 30 seconds of call initiation, will also be shown. This warns the operator that secondary action is necessary.

Such a system can also conveniently be used to provide not just the zonal positioning information but also to provide security facilities and restrict access to secure zones to those with an authorized right of entry.

In the cases where a paging receiver or alarm transmitter is provided, a radio identification tag may be incorporated in the receiver or transmitter. In such a situation, a unique digital code identity can be shared by both the radio tag and the receiver or transmitter.

If this type of area communication system were used in a factory or similar industrial environment for monitoring the progress of work around the factory, each job could be given a unique identification number and its progress from one zone to another, which may represent its progress from one department to another, could be monitored by use of interrogator units 3, to provide the location register Ib with a'record of work in progress and an indication of its status. Clearly, in such a case connections with a PABX 6 would not be necessary.

In an alternative application in which the system is used to monitor the positions of key medical staff whose rapid response is vital in an emergency, an operator will key in the location of the assembly point and press the group call button. Data is transferred under the control of the central processor le from the status and location registers into the encoder 1 c and formatted into a signal which then modulates the paging transmitter 5. The identity of any team member who cannot, or does not, respond to the call, by moving into the zone which includes the assembly point, will be displayed on the control unit; further measures must be brought quickiy into play in the event of such an occurrence.

In a useful additional feature the operator can determine the location of members of staff, without initiating a paging call, simpiy by entering the appropriate command into a local control unit, which may be connected to the central monitor unit 1 and include the display if.

Claims (9)

1. An area communication system for providing positional information about one or more moveable elements within an area, the system comprising: an identification tag locatable on or associated with each moveable element; and at least one interrogator unit operabie to interrogate the identification tags, each interrogator unit being locatable at an access point to one. or more zones within the area, the interrogator units being linked to a central monitoring unit for monitoring the movement of identification tags past the interrogator units to provide continuous position monitoring of the zonal positions of the moveable elements provided with identification tags.
2. An area communication system according to claim 1 in which the central monitoring unit includes a status register, the status register registering which of the identification tags are in operation and which are not.
3. An area communication system according to claim 1 or claim 2 in which the identification tags are each linked to individually addressable pagers.
4. An area communication system according to claim 3 in which the pagers are radio pagers.
5. An area communication system according to any one of claims 1 to 4 in which the identification tag includes a magnetic code and the interrogator unit is operable to determine the magnetic code.
6. An area communication system according to any one of claims 1 to 4 in which the identification tag incorporates a low power transmitter and receiver and is interrogated by a radio means.
7. An area communication system according to any one of the preceding claims in which the central monitoring unit is provided with a display means for displaying the status of the identification tags and their zonal positions.
8. An area communication system comprising: a plurality of identification tags associated with a respective plurality of moveable elements; interrogator units operable to interrogate the identification tags, each of the interrogator units being located at an access point to a respective zone; a central monitoring unit responsive to the interrogator units for monitoring the movement of the identification tags past the interrogator units to provide information as to the zonal location of each of the moveable elements; and communication apparatus for providing a communication link to and/or from the zones, the operation of the communication apparatus being controlled by the central monitoring unit in accordance with the location information relating to the moveable elements.
9. An area communication system substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to the accompanying drawings.
GB8618694A 1986-07-31 1986-07-31 Area communications systems Expired - Lifetime GB2193359B (en)

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GB8618694A GB2193359B (en) 1986-07-31 1986-07-31 Area communications systems

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GB8618694A GB2193359B (en) 1986-07-31 1986-07-31 Area communications systems

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GB2193359A true true GB2193359A (en) 1988-02-03
GB2193359B GB2193359B (en) 1990-07-11

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Cited By (60)

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Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
FR2630565A1 (en) * 1988-04-26 1989-10-27 Hitronic Device for locating and/or identifying persons or objects
GB2230365A (en) * 1989-02-18 1990-10-17 Olivetti Research Ltd Locating and authentication system
GB2230365B (en) * 1989-02-18 1993-05-26 Olivetti Research Ltd Mobile carrier tracking system
GB2229302A (en) * 1989-03-17 1990-09-19 Advanced Technology Ind Ltd Locating system
EP0402129A2 (en) * 1989-06-09 1990-12-12 Ralph P Devoy Location identification system
EP0402129A3 (en) * 1989-06-09 1991-04-24 Ralph P Devoy Location identification system
US5465082A (en) * 1990-07-27 1995-11-07 Executone Information Systems, Inc. Apparatus for automating routine communication in a facility
US5822544A (en) * 1990-07-27 1998-10-13 Executone Information Systems, Inc. Patient care and communication system
US5291399A (en) * 1990-07-27 1994-03-01 Executone Information Systems, Inc. Method and apparatus for accessing a portable personal database as for a hospital environment
FR2669454A1 (en) * 1990-11-21 1992-05-22 Alcatel Business Systems localization system of people and / or objects in a monitored area.
EP0487420A1 (en) * 1990-11-21 1992-05-27 Alcatel Business Systems System to localize persons and/or objects in a controlled zone
GB2257278B (en) * 1991-06-28 1995-01-25 Esselte Meto Int Gmbh Security and information display
GB2257278A (en) * 1991-06-28 1993-01-06 Esselte Meto Int Gmbh Security and information display.
EP0638878A1 (en) * 1991-10-11 1995-02-15 Advanced Mining Software Limited Location system
US5438321A (en) * 1991-10-11 1995-08-01 Bernard; Hermanus A. Location system
WO1993022754A1 (en) * 1992-05-01 1993-11-11 Multilop Limited Tracking system
EP0586230A3 (en) * 1992-08-31 1994-08-17 Peter A Hochstein Supervised personnel monitoring system
EP0586230A2 (en) * 1992-08-31 1994-03-09 Peter A. Hochstein Supervised personnel monitoring system
US5635907A (en) * 1993-08-10 1997-06-03 Bernard; Hermanus A. Location system
WO1996000673A1 (en) * 1994-06-30 1996-01-11 Telelift Gmbh Automatic conveyor system
EP0717380A1 (en) * 1994-12-15 1996-06-19 Hollandse Signaalapparaten B.V. Information system for a ship
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