Suppliers of Computer Vision (CV) systems say that their technology was until recently out of reach of all but the largest construction companies. But with the growth of cloud computing resources and a drop in their prices, as well as with an increase of CV providers, the technology is set to start becoming mainstream in construction as soon as this year, according to one supplier.
Computer Vision analyses video footage from security or specialised video monitoring cameras. From this data, algorithms can produce actionable insights customised to company business needs.
“In layman's terms, if you can film it you can analyse it, and make use of this data for better business operations,” says Simas Jokubauskas, head of products at technology company Agmis.
Agmis is a Lithuanian company that offers EasyFlow CV software for construction companies. This system automatically detects whether workers are wearing the required personal protective equipment (PPE), recognising hardhats, safety goggles, high visibility vests, protective boots and other required safety equipment. It can also recognise if workers are wearing protective harnesses when working at height.
If the software detects a violation, it can alert the site safety officer in real time. Infringements are stored in a database with corresponding video footage. This data can be used for safety violation investigations and serve as preventative measures for better future compliance.
The technology can also recognise certain worker actions. For instance, it can identify when an employee asks for assistance. And it can recognise certain work processes, such as welding, for example, which is identified by the specific light and sparks it creates. EasyFlow can measure how long each weld takes and monitor worker productivity. Similarly it can identify how long is spent working from each section of a scaffold.
Agmis says that EasyFlow can also track worker movement around the construction site and represent the tracks in ‘spaghetti’ diagram. This can be used to optimise the layout of building materials and to track quantities of materials stored on site.
“Computer Vision companies were known to produce ‘one-fits-all’ solutions. However, the ability to customize them for particular business needs is of key importance for most practical application,” says Simas Jokubauskas. “With the maturing of technology itself and a more developed ecosystem of CV developers, in 2019 we will see an advent of highly flexible CV frameworks affordable for small and medium construction enterprises.”