New research from analyst company Berg Insight has forecast that the market for lone worker protection solutions in Europe and North America will reach €260 million ($289m) by 2021.
Lone workers are employers who conduct tasks without the supervision of colleagues, and they can be exposed to challenges because there is no one to support or assist them.
To stay safe, lone workers are increasingly equipped with GPS location devices sporting alert buttons and/or smartphone apps, enabling them to raise an alarm if they run into trouble. Often, the work of monitoring them and responding to alarms is delegated to a specialist service provider.
According to the company, this lucrative market will grow from €121 million ($134m) in 2016 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17 percent.
Growth is being driven by factors such as improved occupational safety regulations, increasing employee insurance costs and higher awareness of risks posed to lone workers.
A new industry
A number of countries around the world are putting new mechanisms in place to address the safety of lone workers, including the UK, Canada, France, Germany and, more recently, the US.
Despite this, Berg Insight found that the penetration of lone worker protection services on monitored devices remains is low in Europe and North America – around two percent at the end of 2016.
And this is also the case in leading markets such as the UK, where only around 5 percent of lone workers are monitored by such a service.
Over the past few years, a range of companies offering lone worker protection services and solutions have entered on the scene in countries like the UK and Canada.
In Britain, Send For Help Group is one example of a major integrated provider that sports an in-house alarm receiving centre. It trades under its subsidiaries SkyGuard and Guardian24.
Other companies with notable market shares in the UK include the likes of Rocksure Systems, Reliance Protect and Safe Apps. Meanwhile, Tsunami Solutions and Blackline Safety are leading the way in Canada.
Rise of specialist devices
Swedish mobile phone maker Doro is one of the companies producing hardware for lone workers. It recently unveiled a handset designed for social workers, carers, builders and other professionals who may encounter risk. The Doro 8020X sports a special ‘call-for-help’ button that, once pressed, can send a GPS location message to up to five contacts.
Commenting on the research, Fredrik Stalbrand, IoT analyst at Berg Insight, said: “The app segment grew rapidly in 2016, and is currently growing faster than the device segment.
“Dedicated devices and smartphone apps are likely to coexist on the market for lone worker protection services due to the broad spectrum of risks across different jobs involving working alone.”