November 24, 2021 – At a time when all eyes are focused on keeping people safe and connected, a Calgary, Alberta-based company is seeing spectacular success – to the tune of 230 percent growth over the last three years – doing just that, and the achievement has nothing to do with COVID-19.
Long before the global pandemic put the spotlight on keeping people in touch, Blackline Safety Corp. was keenly focused on connecting businesses with their employees who work alone, remotely, or in dangerous settings, so they can monitor their safety in real-time – from zookeepers, utility, oil and gas or water treatment workers, to healthcare professionals, manufacturers and retailers working in refrigerated units, and everything in between. In the process, the company is disrupting an industry that until now has relied on outdated technology.
Market response to the innovations by Blackline Safety – which began trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol BLN in June and last month announced a $40 million financing deal – is unprecedented. Revenue is steadily increasing – growing from $8 million to $39 million over the last four years – and the company is on a hiring spree, adding 100 new employees over the last 12 months and preparing to hire 100 additional positions in the coming year as the team gets set to unveil new breakthrough solutions.
“We’re revolutionizing an industry that hasn’t changed in decades,” said Blackline Safety CEO and Chair Cody Slater, an innovator and veteran entrepreneur who is leading the team behind the ground-breaking connected safety technology. “Not only are we filling a huge, unanswered void in the market, but we’re allowing companies to actually see what’s happening in the field in real time so they can gain a better understanding of safety situations facing employees in the moment, as well as predict what might happen in the future,” he said.
Pegging the global user market at about 25 percent of the total workforce, Slater explained that the company’s state-of-the-art wearables – small, wireless devices worn like a pager or beeper – are putting reliable safety data at managers’ fingertips for the first time, so businesses can make informed decisions about their daily operations, ultimately preventing loss of life and serious injury.
“Data is the new frontier for safety,” Slater said. “In today’s world, when no one knows when the next natural disaster or pandemic will hit, we’re doing something really different in the worker safety market, and any enterprise stands to benefit.”
24-7 cloud-based monitoring
Blackline Safety’s cloud-based technology features GPS-enabled safety sensors and devices that leverage the Internet of Things (IoT) to connect workers to live 24-7 command center monitoring. Provided as a hardware-enabled software-as-a-service (HeSaaS), the platform includes high-performance emergency response and evacuation management capabilities, as well as contract tracing – a feature launched just weeks after Canada went into a national lockdown when COVID-19 hit in March 2020, and offered free of charge to existing Blackline Safety customers.
What sets the technology apart in the industry is its advanced, cloud-based software. Whereas other workplace safety vendors are focused solely on hardware, Blackline Safety is connecting employees with software that pinpoints their location, enables back-and-forth information sharing, and collects vital data, making it possible to detect the exact location of a gas leak or determine how often workers are traveling through high-risk areas. In addition, unlike competing technologies that rely on expensive WiFi networks or Bluetooth capability, the company’s wearables are offered in two robust models – one connected via a cellular network and another via satellite.
Founded in 2004, Blackline Safety’s roots were anchored on leveraging GPS technology, data acquisition, and wireless communication from the start. After evolving its product portfolio – which launched in the automotive space as a portable vehicle security and tracking solution, and evolved to include an employee-worn device to monitor the safety of lone workers – the company introduced its breakout line of personal gas detectors for the oil and gas industry in 2017. Since then, Backline Safety has rapidly grown both its product line and market share, expanding its Calgary headquarters and adding offices in the U.S., U.K., and France, with regional sales managers in other parts of Europe, India, Brazil, and the Asia-Pacific.
The worker safety niche is a market boom that analysts predict isn’t letting up any time soon. In fact, studies show that that the global workplace safety market size is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 10.4 percent, reaching US$19.9 billion by 2025.
Next-generation worker safety
Today, Blackline’s Safety’s wearables are used by more than 100,000 workers in 62 countries, and the company is poised to capture a significantly bigger portion of the market with new innovations slated for release in the coming months, as it expands its manufacturing capacity in Calgary and makes significant R&D investments in data analysis and predictive analytics. Early adopters of the life-saving technology include Amazon, Coca-Cola, FedEx, Ford Motor Co., Shell Oil Company, General Electric, Ryder, Heineken, Danone, and the Calgary Zoo, among hundreds of others.
“Our goal is to keep people safe globally no matter what risk they face at work, and to do that effectively requires constant innovation,” said Blackline Safety Chief Revenue Officer Sean Stinson.
The company is focused on three key growth areas: lowering the price point for connected safety solutions, extending the battery life of wearables, and maximizing backend monitoring and data collection capabilities.
In the next few months, for example, the company will be launching a line of smartphone apps designed to make monitoring affordable in countries where employee safety is not always a top budget line item, such as India, Brazil, the Middle East, and Africa. In addition, it will be rolling out devices that enable live video streaming between employees in the field and experts who can provide direction or advice behind the scenes.
Blackline Safety is also pushing the boundaries of wearable technology with the development of a next-generation line of small, low-power devices that run in a connected environment for as long as two years without charging.
“Imagine how relaxed life would be if your Apple watch or Fitbit didn’t need to be charged every day,” Stinson said. “That’s the kind of innovation we continue to bring to this space. We know workers don’t want to be constantly charging a piece of equipment, so we’re removing that hurdle for them.”
Key to the company’s transformative strategy is the underlying digital infrastructure that is giving organizations the unprecedented opportunity to collect and analyze data, extending safety beyond the worker to include operational changes. For example, as workers wearing Blackline Safety connected devices walk around a plant, businesses can gather data about the air quality to proactively identify pockets where it is bad and then fix the problem before it becomes a hazard. Or, rather than relying on workers to fill out near-miss reports, a safety manager can run a report based on the daily activities of their employees to make an informed risk assessment about the dangers they face.
“Right now, the status quo in worker safety is complete blindness,” Stinson said. “Organizations are responsible for the well-being of their workers, their greatest asset, but they have no idea if they are safe at the moment or if they’re about to be exposed to a hazardous situation. With our technology, we’re helping them to see their workforce in a manner they never could before.”
To learn more about Blackline Safety’s portfolio of cloud-connected technology and HeSaaS offering, visit www.BlacklineSafety.com.
About Blackline Safety
Blackline Safety is a global connected safety leader that helps to ensure every worker gets their job done and returns home safe each day. The company provides wearable safety technology, personal and area gas monitoring, cloud-connected software, and data analytics to meet demanding safety challenges and increase the productivity of organizations with coverage in more than 100 countries. Blackline Safety wearables provide a lifeline to tens of thousands of men and women, having reported more than 140 billion data points and initiated more than five million emergency responses. Armed with cellular and satellite connectivity, the company ensures that help is never too far away.