Intelligent Issue 27 - Page 15


// TECH TRENDS // customer and visitor , businesses have a significant responsibility to reckon with : how to store , handle and share this data securely .

Analysing patterns for safety and efficiency
Video analysis systems have the ability to categorise people and objects based on parameters like shape , size and colour , facilitating interventions that can improve employee safety and optimise production processes . Cameras in a warehouse can be programmed to detect whether protective helmets and safety vests are being worn or identify anomalies in dwell times and positions that may reveal a worker has fallen . Capturing this information in real-time accelerates the response to a potential incident , meaning that medical assistance can arrive as soon as possible if needed or managers can even intervene before anyone gets hurt .
The same technology can ensure that heavy machinery is being used safely . Video systems can detect when a machine approaches the edge of clearly-marked safety lines , while thermal imaging can identify any risk of overheating and trigger an alarm to warn employees in the area . If the machinery is linked to the video systems , interventions can even be put in place to automatically stop the machine before a potential safety incident occurs .
Over a long period of time , intelligent video systems can also record and aggregate data about vehicle traffic , warehouse occupancy and specific manufacturing procedures . When this information is compiled , decisionmakers have access to a clearer view of the trends that may be leading to bottlenecks or inefficiencies . With this knowledge , individuals at every level – from the most junior to the CEO – can make more informed decisions to optimise their workflows . Organisations can implement significant improvements , without the manpower and time needed to identify these changes manually .
With great data comes great responsibility
There is clearly much to be gained from video analytics , but if organisations do not handle the data gathered properly , they also have much to lose . Since GDPR was introduced in 2016 , the rules on data handling are far stricter than ever before . If these regulations are not met , businesses face significant financial repercussions as well as reputational damage that impacts relationships with partners , customers and employees . Recent violations by Instagram and Amazon have led to fines totaling hundreds of millions of euros ; manufacturing organisations must be diligent about data protection to avoid making the same mistakes as these tech giants .
Unfortunately , video data is often uploaded to the cloud without adequate security precautions , shared without concern and stored indefinitely . It may be that organisations do not understand that the information they are collecting is extremely sensitive – and extremely valuable to cybercriminals . Concerns around data security largely focus on information such as bank details and passwords but faces themselves are also a significant piece of personally identifiable information . With facial recognition increasingly used to access technology , finances and even travel , organisations could be risking their employees ’ data security by recording every facial expression and action throughout the working day . Factoring in clients and customers , cameras in warehouses and factories may be gathering this information for thousands of individuals and businesses must do everything in their power to mitigate the risk of a data breach or hack .
Decision-makers must also be mindful that employees may feel that introducing video cameras to their workplace is an invasion of privacy . If employers do not communicate about this well , it can lead to a breakdown of trust and low morale , effectively undermining any gains realised by video analytics systems . Individuals may feel that their personal freedom is being infringed and fear the potential consequences of their data being mishandled , leading to poor employee retention and difficulty attracting new talent .
Insight without invading privacy
These concerns , however , do not entail a dead end for the potential of video analytics in manufacturing . As with any new implementation to the workplace , business leaders must be completely transparent with
Simon Randall , CEO at Pimloc

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