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Thu June 24 2021

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British tech start-up picked for Philippines safety project

4 May London-based tech start-up UtterBerry and project partner Connected Places Catapult have been chosen for a project that will use smart sensors to make construction safer in the Philippines.

Smart sensors, as used on UK projects including Crossrail and the Thames Tideway, will draw on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology for the remote monitoring of construction with the aim of improving safety.

The project, which is led by UtterBerry, has been chosen ahead of 275 others, and will bring new technology to the region.

The Philippine government’s own figures show construction to be the third most dangerous sector to work in, with the average number of workdays missed increasing since 2013.

The patented UK technology gathers and analyses any existing data from the sensors and elsewhere to provide predictions for future physical changes to the environment. Patents relevant to Philippines cover the sensor system and the manufacturing process. The low-power wireless smart sensor network that lasts years is one patent, and high-accuracy retention even in hazardous environments is another.

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 The technology warns workers when sub-millimetre vibrations risk causing ground displacement, preventing unnecessary accidents and death.

The project, part-funded by the government-backed UKRI body, builds on UtterBerry’s footprint in East Asia. It has already won contracts in Hong Kong and Singapore to place its sensors with the latter’s public transport network MTR, the Lyric Theatre Complex and Kowloon City Pier. UtterBerry is looking to export the UK technology to other parts of East Asia.

Founder and CEO Heba Bevan said: “UtterBerry is delighted to lead this project in the Philippines with the support of the Global Challenge Research Fund. We want to improve health and safety in the construction industry by deploying UtterBerry wireless sensors with artificial intelligence to reduce injuries and fatalities. We are also using our UtterBerry wireless sensors to diversify the construction workforce, creating new high-skilled jobs to analyse data from the sensors remotely.”

Amy Hochadel, director of global business growth at Connected Places Catapult said: “Connected Places Catapult is delighted to be partnering with UtterBerry on this exciting collaborative research & development project. The Catapult works hard to find opportunities in emerging markets where UK expertise can lend to local partnerships where new innovations can transform places. The Global Challenge Research Fund helps to provide the opportunity for places like the Philippines and companies like UtterBerry to show the impact that urban innovations can make, not just to the people of a city or region, but also in meeting UN Sustainable Development Goals – which benefit everyone.”

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