General Motors develops workplace safety technology
In a recent announcement made by General Motors, the company details its recent technology developments to maintain workplace safety during COVID-19. General Motors will be sharing its innovations with the public, to be used in manufacturing plants, offices and schools.
“We developed an extensive playbook for a safe return to work for our employees, and we’re seeing very good success,” commented Dr. Jeffery Hess, GM medical director. “As we implemented the protocols, GM software developers started to work on how technology could make the process smoother and more precise.”
The new technology developed by General Motors includes: an automated kiosk for temperature scanning, software for contact tracing and a mobile app for contactless printing. The solutions developed by General Motors aims to help employees return to work with more confidence, as well as streamlining and improving workplace safety protocols.
“We had to respond quickly to the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic created for our workforce,” added Randy Mott, GM executive vice president and chief information officer. “Our teams collaborated online with experts around the world to quickly innovate and support the safe return of our employees to the workplace. We know many of these challenges affect others globally. We felt it important to share our innovation so other companies, organisations and institutions could benefit from our experience.”
Thermal Scanning Kiosk
In the announcement, General Motors detailed that facilities require safety protocols that include a temperature evaluation when entering a facility.
To streamline the entire process, General Motors has developed a new software code that integrates an infrared thermal camera with a computer and monitor, to automate the process.
By leveraging open-source code from the OPenCV project, the system detects automatically when someone walks in front of the camera, checking for elevated skin temperature in as little as one to two seconds.
Workplace Contact Tracing
In order to drive contact tracing, General Motors has made significant improvements to the technology, by developing an open-source contract tracing application, combined with real time social distance alerts.
“We believe our application advances the state of the art when it comes to mobile apps for contact tracing, which is the subject of massive software development efforts across multiple industries today,” commented Tony Bolton, GM chief information officer of Global Telecommunications and End-User Services.
General Motors is also testing a mobile app to create a record for an employee of who they have been in contact with. The app will be built to help medical staff get in touch with employees who have been in contact with a worker that tested positive, while maintaining privacy and security.
As part of its developments General Motors has also built a touchless print mobile web application, to enable employees to print documents without touching the control panel. Instead the application uses a QR code scanned via the employee’s mobile phone, which is not only safer but quicker and simple.
“Touchless printing is a first step, as the team is also working on using technology to make other daily activities more hands-free,” commented Bolton.
Intelliwave SiteSense boosts APTIM material tracking
“We’ve been engaged with the APTIM team since early 2019 providing SiteSense, our mobile construction SaaS solution, for their maintenance and construction projects, allowing them to track materials and equipment, and manage inventory.
We have been working with the APTIM team to standardize material tracking processes and procedures, ultimately with the goal of reducing the amount of time spent looking for materials. Industry studies show that better management of materials can lead to a 16% increase in craft labour productivity.
Everyone knows construction is one of the oldest industries but it’s one of the least tech driven comparatively. About 95% of Engineering and Construction data captured goes unused, 13% of working hours are spent looking for data and around 30% of companies have applications that don’t integrate.
With APTIM, we’re looking at early risk detection, through predictive analysis and forecasting of material constraints, integrating with the ecosystem of software platforms and reporting on real-time data with a ‘field-first’ focus – through initiatives like the Digital Foreman. The APTIM team has seen great wins in the field, utilising bar-code technology, to check in thousands of material items quickly compared to manual methods.
There are three key areas when it comes to successful Materials Management in the software sector – culture, technology, and vendor engagement.
Given the state of world affairs, access to data needs to be off site via the cloud to support remote working conditions, providing a ‘single source of truth’ accessed by many parties; the tech sector is always growing, so companies need faster and more reliable access to this cloud data; digital supply chain initiatives engage vendors a lot earlier in the process to drive collaboration and to engage with their clients, which gives more assurance as there is more emphasis on automating data capture.
It’s been a challenging period with the pandemic, particularly for the supply chain. Look what happened in the Suez Canal – things can suddenly impact material costs and availability, and you really have to be more efficient to survive and succeed. Virtual system access can solve some issues and you need to look at data access in a wider net.
Solving problems comes down to better visibility, and proactively solving issues with vendors and enabling construction teams to execute their work. The biggest cause of delays is not being able to provide teams with what they need.
On average 2% of materials are lost or re-ordered, which only factors in the material cost, what is not captured is the duplicated effort of procurement, vendor and shipping costs, all of which have an environmental impact.
As things start to stabilise, APTIM continues to utilize SiteSense to boost efficiencies and solve productivity issues proactively. Integrating with 3D/4D modelling is just the precipice of what we can do. Access to data can help you firm up bids to win work, to make better cost estimates, and AI and ML are the next phase, providing an eco-system of tools.
A key focus for Intelliwave and APTIM is to increase the availability of data, whether it’s creating a data warehouse for visualisations or increasing integrations to provide additional value. We want to move to a more of an enterprise usage phase – up to now it’s been project based – so more people can access data in real time.