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Monitoring Construction Workers With AI
July 8, 2020 News

 

Surveillance technology has evolved over the years. Be it for monitoring employees or security reasons. The technology can provide more accurate results and cover more areas than before. A report in South China Morning Post, several construction companies are using Artificial intelligence to monitor workers’ behaviour on construction sites across China.

With the global AI in construction market forecasted to reach US$ 4.51 billion by 2026, more organisations are embracing the technology with its easy risk mitigation of quality, and safety, coupled with the time and cost consumption requirements of the construction industry.

According to the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the technology, developed by the Institute of Automation in Beijing, has made construction sites transparent with significant improvements in safety and productivity. The report said that the AI was hooked up to CCTV cameras and was able to tell whether an employee was doing their job or not.

The technology can also distinguish between different types of activity such as smoking or using a smartphone. It also sends alerts when accidents or safety risks, such as a worker forgetting to wear a helmet or entering a restricted area, are identified, and also tracks people involved in forbidden activities such as fighting.

By utilising facial recognition technology, the system can track every employee on-site and is linked to a database with detailed staff information to achieve 24-hours-a-day, disturbance-free surveillance.

While some may argue that surveillance technology like these has privacy concerns, more organisations would want to use such technology given the current circumstances with remote working.

In countries like Malaysia, where there are a vast number of construction workers, the technology can be used in a good way, such as: monitor their work and ensure there are no time-wasting or involvement in non-work related issues during work hours.

In fact, facial recognition tools are already being used by many organisations now to monitor and record crowd movement as well as office personnel. AI allows these processes to be done at a much faster and more accurate pace. In the labour-intensive construction industry, the use of AI is relatively still new and may take some time before more companies begin implementing it.

There are already other sectors in the construction industry where AI is being used. These include AR technology for design and monitoring construction progress as well as in the designed routing of electrical and plumbing systems in modern buildings. The technology is also being used by many firms to pursue the real-time interactions of machinery, workers, and objects on the site and alert the supervisors of potential safety issues, productivity issues, and construction errors.

Some may argue that such technologies may invade privacy. But if the technology is used during work hours to monitor the tasks of workers, there shouldn’t be any concern about privacy. After all, these employees are meant to be working and not be loitering or doing other stuff.

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