As augmented reality technology develops, having its uses explored and its profile raised, we are beginning to see how firms in different industries wish to adopt it as part their respective business strategies. The potential applications of AR are certainly teeming with adventure, yet one of the conversations being had is how to incorporate it into safety plans in dangerous work situations.
Last week in the Polish city of Wroclaw, the Safety in Industry Conference (In Polish: Bezpieczeństwo w przemyśle) was held, which provided a forum to discuss risk assessment and safety management in heavy industry, particularly with regard to outside contractors working on a site. Displar’s very own Andrzej Pajda and Wojciech Tubek were invited to speak on the subject of using AR, VR as well as computer vision technology in training and risk assessment scenarios, and share our vision for how can all of them become an indispensable part of industrial activity.
At Displar, we believe that all these technologies can play a serious role in making our environments safer and easier to work with. When VR training can overcome language and cultural barriers, and AR makes information transfer easier and quicker, Computer Vision can oversee operations, detect potential hazards in real time, and send crucial warnings to everyone involved.
Computer vision helps keep track of on-site personnel in heavy industry. Factories have as many moving people as they do parts, often employing hundreds (or even thousands) of people. Not only does this innovation help identify and monitor them, but it also helps separate them from outside personnel who may wander into a dangerous site unprotected, educating and informing them about their surroundings while saving lives. Our talk was received enthusiastically; the audience was incredibly open and actively engaged with many questions about our ideas and solutions at the ready. We entered with a room full of curious minds, and we believe we had a room full of converts at the end.
Imagine you’re a factory manager. You have existing budget concerns and are convinced of the superiority of your plant’s existing safety procedures and training programs. You also just went through a massive technology upgrade five years ago, which was like pulling teeth to learn and memorize. You’re saying to yourself, why take on additional costs to invest in, and adapt to, new technologies?
We understand that you management types are the hardest people to convince. For one thing, no price tag should be put on the value of employee safety. For another, cost is an overblown issue; though new and advanced, computer vision tech is moderately priced. What’s more, investments in this technology have scaled very well, and a key outcome of that is that ROI’s are coming swiftly. In short, it will pay for itself in no time.
To say nothing of the money aspect, computer vision is an intuitive technology; it works with the natural motion of people’s bodies while providing virtual access to spaces where physical access would be imprudent, unsafe, or otherwise impossible. The important part is to not overthink it – work with it and it will work with you!
Do you think these technologies could be useful in your industry? Has your workplace already adopted it? How is it working out? Let us know in the comments below!