Why Construction Sites Need AI Video Analytics
With the constant advancements in AI technology, the capabilities of video analytics continue to grow, giving those who incorporate artificial intelligence in their video surveillance systems the advantage of enhanced safety and security as well as the opportunity to improve their operations and cut costs. To stay ahead of the curve, more and more organizations across various industries are changing their approach to site management and security by embracing AI video analytics. In this article, let’s delve into the benefits of implementing this technology in the construction industry.
Video surveillance is critical for any construction site to monitor the heavy inflow of workers and vehicles constantly moving in and out, protect valuable equipment and materials, and prevent accidents from occurring. One of the biggest challenges is the large area that needs to be monitored. Traditionally, it requires a large team of security guards and numerous CCTV cameras for complete coverage. However, without implementing technologies, manned guards can’t ensure that no event is missed. No human can effectively monitor multiple cameras round-the-clock and detect all possible threats, such as intrusions, thefts, vandalism acts, safety issues, and smoke and fire hazards, among others. That is when AI can supplement security staff, taking over the responsibility to identify a potential hazard, monitor workers' behavior, and alert site supervisors in real-time so that they can make informed decisions and respond appropriately. The benefits of leveraging AI in construction are many and range from mundane detection of unauthorized entry to advanced safety monitoring and traffic flow analysis.
Construction sites are known to be one of the most dangerous workplaces, with a high risk of accidents and injuries. According to a study by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), falls from heights are the leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry. Other common risks are vehicle incidents, accidents from tools, contact with electricity, and slips and falls. In some cases, construction workers could have avoided injury if they had worn personal protective equipment (PPE) such as helmets or gloves.
With advancements in technology, there is now an opportunity to improve workplace safety on construction sites through the use of AI video analytics. It involves the use of cameras and software to analyze footage and detect potential safety hazards. Anomaly Detection and Behavior Recognition can be used to identify things like workers not wearing proper safety gear, slips and falls, and even potential equipment malfunctions before they become serious problems. This can lower risk and drive correct behaviors.
Construction sites are notorious for being high-risk environments, particularly when it comes to fire hazards. According to the National Fire Protection Association, every year, fire departments respond to an average of 4,300 fires in buildings under construction. The main causes of these fires are electrical malfunctions. These can occur when temporary wiring is used improperly or overloaded, or when electrical equipment is not properly maintained. Another common cause is improper storage and handling of flammable materials, such as gasoline, propane, and paint thinners. Welding and cutting operations can also create sparks that ignite nearby combustible materials.
AI video analytics can help mitigate these risks. A visual fire detection system identifies and reports a hazardous incident just as smoke is caught on the surveillance camera and also provides the information necessary to respond appropriately. If integrated with thermal cameras, AI analytics can help prevent fires by implementing thermal scanning of electrical and lighting equipment as well as areas where construction and waste materials are stored. Thermal anomalies do not occur abruptly. So, by analyzing thermal imaging, the system can detect temperature changes, identify hotspots that could indicate a fire risk, and provide real-time alerts to workers so that they can respond to overheating issues just in time to prevent bigger problems.
The construction industry is one of the most targeted industries for theft. Among the items most often taken from job sites are materials such as copper, lumber, machinery, and tools. Other concerns for the construction sites are vandalism and arson. Statistics show that these crimes have a huge financial impact on construction companies. In the US, they lose from $300 million to $1 billion annually. The stolen items need to be replaced and damage fixed, which not only results in significant financial losses but also results in lost productivity and affects project timelines.
In order to combat these issues, many construction companies are turning to AI video analytics for improved security measures. AI algorithms help continually monitor equipment and materials on construction sites and protect the perimeter from unauthorized entry. By being alert in real time to intruders or items being taken, site managers can take action and stop the perpetrator. To enhance site access control, face recognition and license plate reading technologies can be utilized.
Security drones equipped with AI video analytics are widely used on construction sites to provide real-time monitoring and analysis of the collected data. The AI technology can detect and alert security personnel of any suspicious activity, such as unauthorized entry or movement of equipment after hours. This allows for a more proactive approach to security, as security personnel can quickly respond to potential threats before they escalate into major incidents.
Besides, smart video surveillance has a deterrent effect on potential criminals. Knowing that they are being watched by an advanced security system can discourage them from attempting to commit a crime on site. At the same time, in the event of a crime, AI video analytics can provide valuable evidence, make it easier to identify suspects, and recover stolen items.
Improved operational efficiency
According to a report by McKinsey & Company, construction productivity has only increased by 1% annually over the past two decades. However, insights from AI video analytics have the potential to increase productivity in construction by up to 50%.
First of all, AI video analytics can help improve operational efficiency by providing valuable insights into worker activity and vehicle movement on the construction site. By analyzing video footage, AI algorithms can identify behavior patterns and spot areas where workflow can be improved. For example, it can help to better plan the distribution of labor and machinery across the job site, deploy additional labor when necessary, and optimize work schedules, thus increasing productivity and reducing downtime.
Advanced video analytics can also be used to identify inefficiencies in the construction process. For example, if there are bottlenecks in the delivery of materials, these can be identified and addressed quickly, reducing delays and improving overall efficiency.
McKinsey & Company reported that AI technologies have the potential to save the construction industry up to $1.6 trillion annually. However, by utilizing AI video analytics, construction companies can save significant costs associated with accidents, theft, and lost productivity. Accidents on construction sites typically result in costly lawsuits, medical bills, and insurance claims. By preventing accidents from happening in the first place, companies can avoid these expenses altogether. Savings also result from improved productivity, streamlined operations, and better resource management.
The use of AI video analytics is a powerful tool that can significantly improve safety and physical security on construction sites and protect them against losses. With real-time monitoring and analysis, construction site managers and security personnel can take a proactive approach to security, leading to a safer and more efficient work environment. As AI continues to advance, it is important to embrace this technology and utilize video surveillance to its full potential. Along with enhanced security, AI video analytics can also help improve operational efficiency on construction sites while increasing cost savings for companies.
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