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Blackline integrates natively with VISICS

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Blackline Safety and Access Technology Group Partner for Confined Space Monitoring

Best practice protection for industry’s most at-risk worksite maintenance activities

May 25, 2022

Calgary, Canada Blackline Safety Corp. (TSX: BLN) (“Blackline” or “Blackline Safety”), a global leader in connected safety technology, today announced it has partnered with Access Technology Group, a Dutch innovator in digital shutdowns and turnarounds, to integrate Blackline’s G7 EXO portable area gas monitors with Access Technology’s VISICS Digital Confined Space Monitoring system.

“Blackline Safety has over 1,000 customers around the world and through this partnership we are now able to link our equipment and live stream gas readings to the VISICS platform to support the new best practices of confined space monitoring and deliver even more value to our customers,” said Brendon Cook, Chief Partnership Officer, Blackline Safety.

Confined spaces are challenging working environments. Identifying the hazards involved then taking proactive steps to prevent them and minimize risks is paramount. Minimizing risks starts with knowing who’s inside a confined space, for how long, and monitoring the atmospheric conditions within it.

The VISICS system takes information from workers’ badges and communication devices to manage and monitor their entries into confined spaces. Live camera feeds both inside and outside the space enable remote teams to centrally monitor each confined space and all activities inside and out.

Now, through the integration of Blackline’s G7 EXO area gas monitors into the solution, the equipment can communicate directly with the VISICS network streaming gas readings sampled from within a confined safety to add another layer of proactive safety monitoring and protection during turnaround and shutdowns.

“Integrating with Blackline Safety is a wonderful opportunity for VISICS as it allows us to offer Blackline’s top-of-the-line technology while maintaining the same familiar look and feel for VISICS operators,” said Rene Slegers, CEO of Access Technology Group.

“Blackline Safety has a loyal client base which we are now happily able to serve during confined space monitoring work,” Slegers added. “By combining the right people with the best equipment, such as Blackline’s, VISICS helps protect CSE personnel from the risks and hazards associated with confined space work, 24/7.”

VISICS is the market leader in digital confined space monitoring, providing services to the most well-known industrial energy clients in over 15 countries through direct business and well-developed local partnerships. Blackline Safety worked with Access Technology Group and its North American distribution partner, InfoSignal, to develop an EXO hard-wired data interface to deliver real-time gas readings into the VISICS network. The technology was then trialled at several customer worksites to ensure a seamless integration.

About Blackline Safety

Blackline Safety is a technology leader driving innovation in the industrial workforce through IoT (Internet of Things). With connected safety devices and predictive analytics, Blackline enables companies to drive towards zero safety incidents and improved operational performance. Blackline provides wearable devices, personal and area gas monitoring, cloud-connected software and data analytics to meet demanding safety challenges and enhance overall productivity for organizations with coverage in more than 100 countries. Armed with cellular and satellite connectivity, Blackline provides a lifeline to tens of thousands of people, having reported over 177 billion data-points and initiated over five million emergency responses. For more information, visit BlacklineSafety.com and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

About Access Technologies Group

Access Technology Group (ATG) is an innovative Dutch company located in the centre of The Netherlands, with a range of subsidiaries. ATG started in 2002 with solutions for wireless infrastructures and public safety and security under Access Innovations BV. In 2005 ICT services were added to the portfolio under Access Communications BV.

As an increasing demand for mobile solutions was sensed, especially in heavy industries with a need for increased safety levels at lower costs, ATG developed VISICS – the innovative and mobile solution for safe and efficient maintenance turnarounds and shutdowns. The first generation VISICS was launched in 2007 under Mobile Shutdown System BV. Since then, ATG has focussed more intensively on this specific industrial application, which has resulted in a mobile high-tech solution providing on-demand state-of-the-art observation, registration and communication techniques. VISICS has sense been deployed actively in over 15 countries for the most reputable energy clients. For more information, visit Visics.eu and connect with us on LinkedIn or Xing.

MEDIA CONTACT

Blackline Safety                                                                        

Christine Gillies, CMO

cgillies@blacklinesafety.com

+1 403-629-9434

Access Technology Group

Bridget Shelton, Marketing Manager

bridget.shelton@access-technology.nl

+31 6 5785 2345

VISICSBlackline integrates natively with VISICS
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Mr. Mano Thangaraj, Mr. Rene Slegers, Mr. Marten van den Berg

On May 3, 2022, Mobile Shutdown System International (MSSI) celebrated the opening of its first international office in Chennai, India.

VISICS ATG India Pvt. Limited hosted a formal Grand Opening Ceremony in Chennai, attended by prominent government leadership from both the Netherlands and India, showing a deep commitment to cross-border collaboration.

MSSI’s entry into India has been continuously supported by the Dutch Government, specifically through the Netherlands Embassy in India and Consulate Offices, and the Dutch Good Growth Fund.

The Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF) is a fund set up to assist Dutch SME’s in expanding their business abroad. The Netherlands Ambassador to India, Mr. Marten van den Berg was a key player in establishing this fund, which he spoke passionately about at the event ceremony.

To read more about the support of the Dutch Good Growth Fund, please read this publication outlining the initiative: https://english.dggf.nl/latest/news/2022/04/04/mobile-shutdown-system-international-improves-safety-monitoring-in-indias-heavy-industry

Similarly, the Government of Tamil Nadu has shown continuous support and encouragement to innovative companies moving into the region. Mr. Mano Thangaraj, Honorable Minister of Information Technology, Government of Tamil Nadu, stated, “We are very excited that the Government of the Netherlands is partnering with the Government of Tamil Nadu on various aspects such as Information Technology. We have a very good talent pool with over 450,000 engineering graduates every year… we also plan to provide continuous trainings to the youth of Tamil Nadu through our ICT Academy to further develop a global talent pool, ready to meet the (future) industry needs with skills in emerging technologies. We are happy to have VISICS here adding value to Chennai“.

Honorable Minister of Information Technology, Government of Tamil Nadu, Mr Mano Thangaraj

With a market full of immense potential and workforce of highly skilled technology professional, Chennai was a logical choice to base VISICS ATG India Pvt. Limited. VISICS ATG India Pvt. Limited officially opened its local Head Quarters in July of 2022, following growing demand for the VISICS solution. Aditya Birla Group (ABG), was present at the ceremony to be officially recognized as the launching customer in India, a milestone for both organizations.

As Mr. Anurag Goel, Digital Transformation & Startup Ecosystem Leader for Aditya Birla Group, accepted VISICS’ token of appreciation saying, “thank you, Rene, for your innovative and safe solutions which help us ensure the safety of our employees at Aditya Birla Group… your passion is inspiring“.

[Image of Anurag Goel, Digital Transformation & Startup Ecosystem Leader for Aditya Birla Group, accepting the gift of Aathiyantha prabu, as a token of appreciation for the continued trust and support.]

MSSI would like to thank all its partners who made this opening happen, as well as the friends, family, colleagues and guests who participated in the event.

VISICS
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“How to become a VISICS partner?”

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So you’re interested in VISICS technology… but what’s next? If you’re a service organization you may be a great partner candidate.

Since 2009 VISICS has operated around the world for the most reputable energy industry players, utilizing a well developed and trusted partner network.

Our partner portfolio spans over 10 countries and 25 organizations. We classify our partners into two categories – Implementation Partners and Technology Partners.Implementation Partners are often contracting or service proving organizations operating within heavy industries. We rely on these partners to successfully implement VISICS solutions in the field.
When it comes to being a new implementation partner there is a lot of due diligence to cover. First, we will initiate an introductory meeting, whereby both firms can learn about one another. It is in this introductory meeting that the VISICS solution is demonstrated and all questions pertaining to the system, implementation, costs, logistics, training and the like are covered. One can generally expect a good 4-hour session to thoroughly go through all of the information and a demonstration. Fear not, these sessions fly by as we prefer to keep things interactive with two-way dialogue.

https://youtu.be/B6-ChnnkSPo

We recommend bringing the following stakeholders to this introductory session:

  1. CEO/ Director
  2. COO
  3. Turnaround Manager
  4. Sales Manager

Upon concluding that your firm is both interested and a good fit, we will share our Partner Agreement, which initiates a formal partnership.Once a formal partnership is established (upon signing the Partner Agreement), we will do the following:

  1. Get your sales team set up in the Partner Portal
  2. Initiate training in the VISICS Academy
  3. Make some noise – media announcements

Technology Partners are often innovative organizations that help us develop our service and solution portfolio.

Technology partners help us push the boundaries of innovation, continuously developing solutions for tomorrow. Technology partners can include both hardware and software organizations.

When it comes to being a new technology partner we will initiate an introductory meeting, whereby both firms can learn about one another and discuss “fit”.
In this session, we will talk about technology compatibility and how to get started with a successful partnership.

For more information about VISICS contact:

Rene Slegers, CEO

rene.slegers@access-technology.nl

+31 06 46 25 07 21  

VISICS“How to become a VISICS partner?”
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“Hot work” environments, are there solutions for Fire Watchers?

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Welcome to month two of Ask VISICS, our newest initiative to dive in-depth into commonly asked questions.

This month we’ll be addressing the needs of a fire watch – the question being are there solutions specifically built for the needs of a fire watch?

The answer is yes.

With the VISICS system and components, the Fire Watch role can be enhanced to become more efficient, safe and intelligent! Traditionally the Fire Watch is responsible for:

  • Watching for fire hazards in the workplace while hot works are performed
  • Maintain the conditions and requirements stated on the safety permit
  • Maintain a lookout for small fires started by sparks
  • Sounding alarm, and if possible, attempt to control the fire, should one develop
  • Maintain communication with personnel in the confined space
  • Maintain situational awareness and raise alarms in the case of an emergency, plus communicate with emergency services
  • Inspecting the work area to look for fire hazards before, during, and at the end of each shift
  • Remaining at the work site 30 minutes after the hot work has ended to assure no fires have started

With the VISICS system, two Fire Watchers are able to monitor 12 confined spaces. This monitoring includes:

  • Eyes and ears inside and outside the confined space with cameras and intercoms – full visuals and two-way communication channels at all times
  • 24/7 gas detection, with automated alarm levels
  • Thermal readings from the cameras, to monitor during and after the hot work has been completed
  • Triggering alarms remotely in the case on an emergency
  • Data to be passed to emergency services in the case of an event
  • Automated logs of personnel entering and leaving the space, for reporting

Would you like to discover the value of VISICS for hot works and Fire Watchers? Reach out for a pilot at your next turnaround using the contact form!

Case Study Excerpt: How VISICS prevented potential fire at refinery
The digital VISICS system for safe and efficient turnarounds was installed at a refinery in Wesseling. Combined with Dräger’s solutions for remote gas detection, the VISICS system was brought in to accomplish a safer and more efficient turnaround by digitally monitoring the confined spaces. No more than a few days later, the VISICS system proved its added value by preventing a potential fire.

When the second night shift was about to start at around 6 p.m. , the VISICS monitoring operator noticed that different kinds of gases were detected in one specific kettle. With the real-time camera feeds he saw smoke coming out of one of the monitored manways. Without hesitation the operator took immediate action by informing the right people. Apparently a flammable residue was glowing in this kettle. It would probably have remained glowing, or developed into something worse, if it was not monitored by VISICS.

Read the full customer success story of how VISICS prevented a potential refinery fire below ⬇️

28-02-2022

VISICS“Hot work” environments, are there solutions for Fire Watchers?
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“What is security by design and how does VISICS implement it?”

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For us, security by design has three main components, which are:

  1. Authorization; the process of implementing roles based on what users primarily need for their daily operations, nothing more nothing less
  2. Network security; secure communications over virtual private networks; and
  3. auditing; the ability to track user actions and continuously monitor sessions and/or mutations to comply with the authorization polices

I’m going to tell you about all three more in-depth. 

Authorization is managing the process to make sure people get only access to resources and data which are applicable for them. For us, we use fine authorization policies for several roles like operator activities, operator lead activities and remote support activities. In our line of work, proper authorization is important because we work with a lot of sensitive or confidential data

Next, we have Network Security.

We make use of segmentation in the network infrastructure so we classify different kinds of data and make sure that this data is only available in the proper applications.

To have safe and secure remote connectivity we make use of a VPN connection stands for virtual private network, it serves as a way to securely communicate between two networks. See it as a tunnel which is used to drive cars (network packets) back and forward. All the traffic within this tunnel is encrypted at the entrance (Network A) and decrypted at the exit (Network B). VPNs are important because confidently and integrity is increased when applying e.g. using a third-party network like the internet. All network traffic generated by VISICS which is communicating over a third-party network is ensured by VPN.

And lastly, we have auditing.

Auditing is the process of continuously monitoring mutations, actions, login attempts etc. to check if these are valid and comply with security policies. This is important to ensure to keep security standards high and adapt when necessary.

Together, Authorization, Network security and auditing make up the three main components of our “security by design” – design by Niels van Kooten.

VISICS“What is security by design and how does VISICS implement it?”
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VISICS 2.0

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VISICS – SYSTEM DESIGN FOR DATA RELIABILITY

In the space of turnarounds for high-risk industries, reliability and insurance mean everything. System or human failure during these high-risk events can quickly escalate to life treating situations.  

In fact, the International Labor Organisation estimates that 340 million occupational accidents occur annually. Of which, in the United States alone, confined space incidents contributed to 1,030 fatalities between 2011-2018, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s an average of 147 confined space fatalities per year – in the USA alone. 

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The best way to mitigate these safety concerns and prevent escalation is, of course, a well thought and reliable system design.

Traditionally speaking, this design revolved around human excellence and thus was limited to human capability.

With the rise of technology and digitalisation we see turnarounds slowly integrating new technologies and practices with the goal of achieving greater efficiency and lower OHSE events.

It’s great to see this drive towards “the digital turnaround” for the sheer plethora of benefits it brings to everyone involved. BUT, as we know, turnarounds are challenging, meaning we must not get comfortable.

We have to keep asking ourselves “why?” and “what if?”, for the sake of safety.

Challenge accepted

Recently, we challenged our own system design to further identify areas which could use improvement, increasing total system redundancy, or in other words, system reliability.

The purpose of this was to challenge our own assumptions and historical design decisions, against recent developments and technological advances.

Our goal was to achieve a 100%, fully redundant core system, which is just as easy to deploy as our traditional VISICS solution.

Why? To ensure we could fulfill our safety promise, no matter the situation.

Our approach

We decided to approach the challenge by collaborating with the industry’s leading technology players – our partners. We rely on our partner’s expertise to stay on the pulse of innovation, able to lead the way in reliable digital turnaround solutions – around the globe.

The results

With the help of our partners at Dell Technology, VISICS underwent a complete system re-design, achieving a system network that is indeed 100% redundant at the core – VISICS 2.0.

With VISICS 2.0 redundancy is applied at several levels within the system architecture: power, server resources and network backbone.

In case of a datacenter failure, the system will keep functioning as expected, without any manual human interaction, meaning chances of a stop of work scenario due to a technical interruption is virtually eliminated.

Deployment

This new design was first deployed at the largest refinery in Wales, in February of 2021. The project consisted of 183 manways, with over 3,000 contractors on site. VISICS was able to deploy redundant services including digital confined space monitoring, remote gas detection, access control and people tracking, allowing all CSE professionals to work with peace of mind while performing their duties.

VISICS 2.0 Saving the Day

During this same deployment the client site experienced power failure. Under normal conditions this would have caused all confined space monitoring activities to go offline – leading to deploying manual safety watches to 183 confined spaces or a stop of work scenario.

Thanks to the redundant network design of VISICS 2.0 – Zero Confined Space Monitoring activities were interrupted with the power failure. Work was able to proceed per usual without any disturbance or human intervention.

About VISICS

VISICS is the high tech and fully digital mobile system that offers solutions for Digital Confined Space Monitoring, Remote Gas Detection, Access Control and Management, and People and Asset Tracking.

VISICS supports organisations operating in high-risk industries in advancing to intelligent and safe enterprises by reducing the barrier to digital safety tools and applications. Our solutions improve performance, increase efficiency and reduce costs, by presenting real-time actionable data, from day one of your maintenance project.

Our VISICS control center operators monitor the safety and well-being of CSE professionals continuously during their time in confined spaces, by using the installed VISICS equipment. The installed equipment continuously collects, records and analyzes the data for abnormalities and danger indications. In the event of an emergency, the operators can immediately take any action required.

By combining the right people with the best equipment and smart interfaces, VISICS helps protect CSE professionals from the risks and hazards associated with confined space work, 24/7 – no matter the “what if?”.

For more information about VISICS contact:

Rene Slegers, CEO

rene.slegers@access-technology.nl

+31 06 46 25 07 21  

VISICSVISICS 2.0
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What does it mean to be an innovation leader?

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For us, being an innovation leader means setting the course for excellence, leading the way into the unknown.

To be an innovation leader we constantly have to challenge yesterday’s methods to tomorrow’s problems. Because of the rapid advancement in technology, the methods that once worked to solved problems are no longer as effective.

Ones ability to be flexible and adapt to change is crucial to not falling behind in this VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambigious) environment.

In our industry, change is always on the way. Simply put, there is always innovation work to be done. For that reason, we have naturally engrained innovation into our organisations DNA.

Design thinking is what we do on a daily basis – big and small. Our team draws on imagination, intuition and systemic reasoning to explore the possibilities of what could be, to create desired outcomes that benefit the end user.

As Sebastiaan van Kemp, Innovation Manger at Access Technology Group put it “we had to develop a new way of thinking in order to design better solutions, services and experiences to solve the new wave of problems we will face today and in the future”.

Around our office you’ll see us designing solutions for tomorrow with creative thinking all over – from bicycles being upcycled to badging wheels for collecting a large sum of data, to water fountains being used to simulate continuous rain fall… nothing is “too crazy” at the ATG headquarters.

Click on the images below to get redirected to our creative solutions for testing.

adminWhat does it mean to be an innovation leader?
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VISICS second location is now opened!

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Our second location is now opened!

The new location is our new inventory warehouse to receive and test VISICS equipment which comes back from the field. It supports our Headquarters that’s based in the Netherlands.

Opening a second location is a critical step that will give us the opportunity and space to develop and expand our projects.

adminVISICS second location is now opened!
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The VISICS experience is now on wheels!

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We’ve transformed a trailer to demo the VISICS system, one side simulates a confined space and the other acts as the VISICS command center.

Check out the video to see the final result!

If you would like a demo, please contact us using the contact form.

adminThe VISICS experience is now on wheels!
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The Dräger Experience

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We’re happy to be a part of the history of Dräger!

VISICS has been added to the Dräger experience exhibition located in Lübeck, Germany.

At the exhibition you can experience 130 years of history, from the family-run company to the newest innovations and products.

Being part of the Dräger exhibition is a perfect symbol of the collaborative history between VISICS and Dräger. VISICS and Dräger have been partners since 2010 and have been active in over 15 countries together.

You can read more about the exhibition here:

https://www.draeger.com/en_corp/About-Draeger/Draeger-Exhibition

adminThe Dräger Experience
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