Preventing drink-driving with IoT, it’s a sobering thought

Preventing drink-driving with IoT, it’s a sobering thought

Preventing drink-driving with IoT, it's a sobering thought

We’ve seen internet-connected beer pumps, we’ve seen connected cups. We’ve even seen connected ice cubes. All good uses of IoT when a quick drink is on the agenda, but there are more serious benefits from IoT where alcohol is concerned.

In England and Wales alone, 85,000 people a year are convicted of drink driving, according to drinkdriving.org, which collates its figures from the UK government’s Department for Transport. An additional 3,000 people are either killed or seriously injured by a drunk driver.

In a bid to reduce these numbers, UK-based Alcolock GB, which provides fleet operators and individuals with a product to monitor and report on drink-driving cases, has developed a means of preventing a driver from operating a vehicle when over the legal limit using IoT.

Dubbed Alcohol Ignition Interlocks, these devices are connected to the ignition system of commercial or public transport vehicles. They are programmed to measure the breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) of the driver and consequently lock the vehicle from starting if they are over the limit.

IoT breathalyzers

Alcolock claims its unique selling point is the speed of its reporting function once a driver has failed the breathalyzer test; it immediately sends out an alert via email or text message to the employer’s headquarters.

This alert will include the exact details of the alcohol reading, as well as the basic information that a test has been failed. This function relies on a strong and reliable network connection to ensure that all tests are reported and dealt with immediately.

Previously, Alcolock had used subscriber identity modules (SIMs) from various providers and found that maintaining a reliable cellular connection was challenging. Customers, such as the National Express coach company, stressed that solving this problem was paramount.

David Whittock, managing director at Alcolock GB, explained: “We had been let down many times in the past and something needed to change. We knew it was important for us to find a new provider who could quickly implement its SIMs into our existing products in order for us to roll out the solution as quickly as possible.”

Read more: Martini launches connected ice cube in bid to shake up the drinks industry

Network-agnostic SIMs

To maintain connectivity, Alcolock embedded the AnyNet SIM from network connectivity company Eseye. This provides zero-touch, highly secure, remote device provisioning with the ability to roam across more than 440 worldwide mobile networks.

As we’ve previously reported, embedded SIMs like Eseye’s are better suited to the IoT, due to the increased reliability, flexibility, and security that comes with integrating an electronic component onto a device’s circuit board.

But it is the ability to roam across European networks that is even more crucial to Alcolock’s business: many of its customers have employees travelling globally but not the time to weigh up a slew of local connection deals with operators to fit their cross-border journeys. The network-agnostic AnyNet SIM, therefore, fits the bill. Supposedly, the SIMs have been embedded directly into Alcolock’s GSM modems with very few alterations, allowing for quick acceptance of the Eseye technology.

According to David Whittock the “Interlock systems are a safety critical piece of kit and so finding such a dependable partner in Eseye has helped us greatly.”

The relationship is still in its early stages, so data regarding the number of drivers who have been stopped in their (unsteady) tracks by this technology is not available. However, Whittock claimed that working with Eseye “has been a breath of fresh air, and a very welcome change to the common struggles experienced with other providers.

“The company’s reliable network roaming capabilities will enable us to continue to grow our business across the continent, without the concern of coverage or inflated rates.”

Read more: Barclays pours investment into new connected beer pump