Recently, more and more confined space gas detector manufacturers are making monitors that are Bluetooth enabled.
The RKI GX-3R Pro is the latest entry into the Bluetooth enabled gas monitor market. It's one of the few that features apps for both iOS and Android devices. Please note that its Bluetooth feature must be activated in its setup menu. It even comes with a man-down alarm as a standard feature.
The million dollar question is: does the Bluetooth feature work and is it worth having?
When Bluetooth mode is activated and connected to the app on your phone, your phone becomes an extension of the GX-3R Pro. This means if the monitor goes into alarm, your phone will also go into alarm.
In theory, this is a fantastic idea. In a typical entry, the entrant has the monitor on their person. This means they are the only one to know if the monitor goes into alarm.
However, if the confined space attendant who is monitoring the space from above (as required by OSHA), has the app on their phone, they too will be notified of an alarm condition. They can then make sure the entrant gets out of the space and doesn't ignore the alarm condition.
Problems arise, of course, due to the limited range of Bluetooth. This means there will be applications in which the Bluetooth feature will be useless.
However, with the GX-3R Pro, there is a potential work-around. If phones are allowed in the space, the entrant (not the attendant) can have the app on his or her phone connected to the monitor.
This might not seem helpful, but this is where it gets interesting. The entrants app can be set up to email alarm conditions to as many different people as needed - including the attendant.
What this means is that, if the entrant's monitor goes into alarm, the app on their phone will go into alarm. When it does, it will email the attendants and any supervisors and alert them to the alarm condition in the space.
This feature makes sure, given adequate cell reception in the space, that the attendant (and anybody else) can stay informed as to the conditions in the confined space.
So is the Bluetooth feature worth it? It can be, but there are limitations.