COVID-19 has had a massive impact on business continuity across the globe. Overnight changes in business processes, work locations and communication mediums have taken root as the new norm. But, for some essential businesses like FTS, manufacturing hardware for wildfire agencies cannot be done from home. Manufacturing, shipping, and receiving are key functions, along with access to specialized materials or tools such as humidity or temperature chambers that just cannot be done outside of the office.
At FTS safety is our top priority. Proactive measures like social distancing, hand washing and face masks have been implemented in accordance with government guidelines, but how do we solve the problem of contact tracing?
The solution would need to be reliable, accurate and easy to use. Those also happen to be the top three requirements for almost all FTS products. After investigating external options, we looked inward at our FTS360 product. As FTS360 is already a powerful platform for storing historical data, and with an extremely flexible and simple development environment called Node-RED it was worth investigating. Typically, this combination is used to perform weather data calculations, or specialized alerting or weather data movement.
In a matter of a few hours a custom solution was born that provided a “user facing” dashboard for each of FTS primary work locations with a simple “check-in / check-out” switch. Each time someone checks in the building capacity is increased. Using the powerful notification capabilities of Node-RED and messaging system of Slack, the solution alerts communication channels if the building is near or at capacity based on COVID-19 guidelines, preventing wasted travel time to the office for those who can work from home.
In addition to the in/out dashboard and capacity limits, each check-in and check-out is logged in FTS360, where we can simply graph which employees were in an office and what the capacity of the building was at a given time. Making it simple for the management team to enforce building capacity limits and also track on premise employees to reduce the risk of virus spread.
Node-RED is available with FTS360 Pro and provides a simple to use and flexible development environment for whatever your needs; be it building capacity limits, water flow calculations or fire danger rating code calculations. If you would like more information regarding FTS360 contact us.
Author: Sean Daniel, Software Manager