Thursday, 6 August 2020

What Enterprises can do to adapt to the new normal?

- Apoorva Verma



March 2020 drastically changed businesses, global economy, and every aspect of our daily lives. As business pivoted to home offices a lot of things changed. Now, as economies begin to reopen, “new normal” has become the buzzword that everyone is talking about. Yet, industries such as warehousing, manufacturing, construction, et al have to work with a large number of workers, on a daily basis at a particular premise, as they cannot all be working from home, given the manual nature of their jobs.

The need for risk assessment

This introduces new risks and risk assessment needs to be carefully re-evaluated. Thus, as most such companies try to identify and manage risks within their premises, the advent of COVID-19 has put the health and safety of the workers under even more scrutiny.

Risk assessment can help enterprises put controls in place that can prevent the spread of contagious diseases such as COVID-19 as well as other accidents and injuries. Since all organisations and industries are different, they take different approaches to carry out a risk assessment.

However, you could carry out the process in these five broad steps:

  1. Identify potential hazards in the premises
  2. Identify who could be at risk from those hazards
  3. Implement control measures by managing the risks
  4. Record the findings of your assessment
  5. Review the risk assessment on a regular basis

Also, it is better to involve ground-level workers in this process to ensure that you implement controls that are effective and safe.

Can technology help?

As most premises are fitted with CCTV cameras, it is best to turn these passive tools into active analytical tools. With a surge in the adoption of AI, technology such as computer vision can be deployed to implement and ensure workplace safety.

Computer vision is not only a contactless solution, but it is also free from human errors and prejudices. In addition to marking contactless attendance, eliminating biometric, it can detect face masks compliance, social distancing index, PPE compliance, and more. In case of a breach, real-time alerts can be sent to the right authorities to take immediate action. Such a system can improve operations in warehouses as much as it can ensure compliance in a manufacturing setting.

Since the cameras have constant access to data from live feeds, it can also generate hidden insights on machine utilization, efficiency and productivity of the staff and machines. Win-Win, isn’t it?

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Biometric is passé, Go Contactless

- Apoorva Verma


Consider a scenario where a large steel plant with thousands of workers has restarted after the pandemic. The bio-metric machine for marking their attendance now becomes a high risk. Thus, given the highly contagious nature of the novel coronavirus, the use of biometric machines has become, more or less, a threat to safety.  

In addition to workplaces, the Indian government has encouraged the use of face recognition technology and it is being explored in airports, railway stations, schools, universities, and other places frequented in groups. For example, Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Hyderabad recently became the first airport in India to initiate facial recognition while Bengaluru, Manmad and Bhusawal railway stations are in testing stages for implementing the face recognition technology.

In a scenario where touch is avoided at the most, contactless has become the need of the hour for most enterprises. In fact, a spike is predicted in facial recognition technology. 

With the pandemic seeing ubiquitous adoption of masks and other protective gear that may partially cover faces, a solution that can recognise faces even with masks will meet the current demands of the world.

LogMyFace is an app owned by Integration Wizards Solutions, developed to help enterprises manage employee attendance while proving safe and convenient for employees. Unlike a biometric which requires touch, this app marks attendance from phones and tablets.

Using a phone for facial recognition, the employees can log their attendance from any of the predefined locations - be it client location, office, or home.

Also, if synced with the companies’ CCTV cameras at entry/exit, it can recognize faces from a distance of two metres or less. It will track, log, and recognise the face liveness, gender, age and emotions. It offers 98% accuracy and provides reports and dashboards for detailed audits.

Connect with our team today and unlock the possibilities to explore 'contactless attendance' in your organisation.

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Enhancing Workplace Health & Safety Using Computer Vision

Subhash Sharma 


Although health and safety at workplaces have improved over the years, yet the UK continues to have a large number of workplace accidents. The number of accidents resulting in injury, or in some cases, even death is quite high. Many of these accidents can be avoided, and AI-based computer vision can play a significant role in cutting down these accidents. 
Health and Safety Statistics. Key figures for Great Britain (2018/19)
  • 1.4 million working people suffering from a work-related illness
  • 2,526 mesothelioma deaths due to past asbestos exposures (2017)
  • 147 workers killed at work
  • 581,000 working people sustaining an injury at work according to the Labour Force Survey
  • 69,208 injuries to employees reported under RIDDOR
  • 28.2 million working days lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury
  • £15 billion estimated costs of injuries and ill health from current working conditions (2017/18)

( Source: https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/ )
Forklifts alone account for 1,300 UK employees being hospitalised each year (That’s 5 UK workers each workday!) with serious injuries due to these accidents. Unfortunately, that number is rising as there is a significant growth in e-commerce and warehouses across the UK. 

Use of AI-based computer vision for optimising workplace health and safety in the UK.
Our Computer Vision product, IRIS, is an AI-based computer vision solution to track and predict workplace accidents and then prevent them from happening. The existing use cases include:
  • Fork Lift Safety, Predicting and Prevention of Fork Lift accidents.
  • Use of Lifting Equipment
  • Work at Height
  • Fire & Thermal injuries and accidents
  • Machine Guarding
  • Manual Handling
  • Monitoring near misses and reporting near misses & accidents in real-time
  • Monitoring Use of PPE

IRIS is an enterprise computer vision solution. The product is currently deployed at many customer sites including Fortune 500 companies. The AI solution sits on the top of existing CCTV infrastructure. It is very cost-effective and can be deployed quickly either at a customer site or through the cloud. 

Reshaping The Retail Industry Paradigm Through AI


- Apoorva Verma



Data, artificial intelligence, automation, IoT, bots, machines, and digital transformation. The buzz words. Except, these are not just buzz words, these are a reflection of a change that’s happening around us and the growing opportunity for innovation. 

 

Retailers across the globe are facing unprecedented changes in their fundamental business model and operations. Factors such as high competition, changing consumer behaviour, government regulations, tenacious technological development and most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic, are affecting almost all facets of the retail business. 

 

It has become critical to respond to these changes to sustain and remain relevant. With such diverse factors affecting the retail industry, conventional methods are not going to help differentiate. This perpetually changing landscape can be navigated through data and artificial intelligence (AI) could be the road map for this.

 

According to research by Accenture, 86% of retailers are experimenting with AI to forge new growth as they agree that it is transforming the industry. There is, therefore, a surge in the adoption of AI.

 

However, AI is uncharted territory for most businesses. In this scenario, partnering with AI players can provide significant momentum to enterprises - whether they are in the exploratory or advanced stages of their AI adoption journey. We can do this together, without having to build from ground zero.

 

Transformation with IRIS AI

 

According to a study by NASSCOM, the retail industry in India is one of the top-five retail markets in the world by economic value and is poised to double by 2024. 

 

Most retail outlets are equipped with CCTV Cameras. Our AI-powered computer vision product – IRIS syncs with this existing infrastructure to provide actionable insights about shopper, employee, assets, and activity within the store premises. 

 

It generates detailed insights and reports that cannot easily be generated manually. Analysing live feeds from multiple cameras, IRIS gives insights on various factors such as the overall footfall in the store, demographic details of customers such as male vs female or their age range, the percentage of customers walking out without shopping, heat maps on areas most visited by customers, peak time walk-ins, the average time spent by shoppers, as well as other insights such as identifying stock-outs in real-time and alerting the manager, observing staff behaviour, sentiment analysis and more. 


The analytical information lets retailers optimize their operations to ensure customer satisfaction, manage inventories, store layouts, and much more.

 

In the light of COVID-19, we have trained our model to identify face mask and social distancing compliance too. 


It sends out real-time alerts to the relevant person in case of non-compliance via WhatsApp, SMS, Push notifications, etc. along with the details and image. Organisations can look at overall analytics for these violations and take precautions.

 

Incorporating artificial intelligence into your business may seem daunting, but a focused, incremental approach will help deliver value and mobilize your company in a new direction. 

 

How do we make this easy for you?

 

The first step on this journey is to define your expectations from the technology. Most of our clients started small and scaled fast. This helped us figure out the pain points and deliver clear and immediate value. 

 

We train our AI platform IRIS using deep neural networks and machine learning models to generate insights across the big data sets, using live feeds from multiple cameras. As this type of analysis is almost impossible manually, it amplifies key performance indicators for the business. 

 

Once the use case has been optimized according to your requirements, it can be swiftly rolled out across the organization to maximize the value. 

 

Start your AI journey with us now to build a long-term advantage over the competition.

Monday, 22 June 2020

Covid-19 isn’t going away soon…… What’s your plan to make YOUR team safe in the workplace?

Thankfully Covid-19 seems to be on the wane…. But it will take a long time to disappear fully, and it is unlikely to be the last pandemic. This means that YOU may need to make the workplace safe for your team and perhaps your customers.

The good news is that many organisations have successfully implemented a Work-From-Home strategy….. And perhaps it has been much easier than we had dreamed it could be – certainly full or part-time WFH will now be a real option for many office workers.

The bad news is that solving the problem for workers who MUST be in their workplace is much, much harder.

Thankfully there ARE tools and solutions (automated Artificial Intelligence) that can help.

Solving the problem falls into several areas

  • Supplying / enforcing use of PPE
  • Providing hygiene solutions – hand sanitiser and washing facilities
  • Making social distancing easy & ensuring that it happens

The last of the above – social distancing, is easy to request, but much harder to implement & has a whole set of sub-problems

  • Filtering out people who have symptoms e.g. high temperature, that they themselves may be unaware of
  • Re-arranging the environment to provide enough isolation where individuals work
  • Reducing hotspots where people might struggle to keep a suitable distance
  • Changing processes to reduce face-face interactions where possible
  • Encouraging a culture where people choose to do the right thing

For these problems we have a technology solution: IRIS, an Artificial Intelligence tool that automatically and constantly analyses what is going on in your workplace AND gives you the data to work out what is going wrong, when it is going wrong and gives you the opportunity to fix it.

  • It can check who is & is not using PPE
  • It can check temperature of people entering a building
  • It can measure how far apart people are 24/7
  • It can find hotspots where social distancing guidelines being broken
  • Feedback is immediate and specific

Crucially this allows YOU to take control

  • Change processes exactly where it creates problems
  • Rearrange workspace to minimise squeeze points & hotspots
  • Make changes AND then check if these changes were effective
  • As with many processes you often get what you measure ….especially when the feedback loop is effective

Perhaps as importantly it allows you to SHOW that you are taking control, hopefully giving confidence to people, demonstrates your organisation’s desire for change and ideally creating a model for the right culture. 

Here is how you can find out more

Visit www.iwizardsolutions.com/covid19

Ask us at info.eu@iwizardsolutions.com

The Next Big thing: Post COVID-19 Workplaces

- Apoorva Verma

Pic: Freepik


The economy cannot survive a lockdown mode forever and the vaccine for COVID-19 may take years to develop and market, ‘unlock 1.0’ had become the necessary evil. This puts the responsibility on organizations, irrespective of their size, to focus on making the workplace safer for employees. 

 

This pandemic has changed the fundamental aspects of professional lives — from the daily commute to work environment to interactions amongst colleagues and peers. Hygiene and safety concerns are here to stay and will probably remain for at least a year from now or even more. 

 

Consequently, businesses are re-accessing their business models and working on best practices to follow on restarting operations. Thus, they are looking at:

 

1.    Ensuring compliance: what will be the best practices for floor management in a post-COVID-19 workplace? Face masks, sanitizer, gloves, and face shields are the new survival kits. Social distancing is being jacked up and automation solutions have seen a jump owing to the difficulty in ensuring these social distancing norms. 

 

2.    Hygiene: Can they deploy contactless technology wherever possible and emphasize on frequent sanitization in high-touch places?

 

3.    Accelerated technology adoption: Each sector has different requirements and use of advanced technologies such as AI and IIOT can help manage operations better. 

 

Returning back to work will require efforts and everyone needs to be vigilant. The world is at a stage where people can’t afford to be lackadaisical in their approach. Organisations are looking for long-term solutions to enforce safety compliance, especially in workplace environments where thousands work together. 

 

Computer vision technology solution trained for detecting compliance such as IRIS AI, by Integration Wizards, is ensuring face mask and social distancing compliance for organisations. It works on any existing CCTV network and identifies cases of social distancing or face mask violations and sends real-time alerts to the relevant authority. A dashboard provides detailed analytics for a given time period. In addition, using face recognition technology, their newly launched attendance app – LogMyFace, is a contactless attendance solution. 

 

Change is perpetual. But sometimes, it is the only option. As the world around us is changing, it has provided us with a new canvas. It is time to paint a new picture. 


Get in touch to discover the best compliance solution for your business. 

Monday, 11 May 2020

Competing in the Age of AI

-Apoorva Verma

How machine intelligence is changing the rules of business and what should companies do to stay on top? 


Pic: Freepik

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a branch of computer science that makes it possible for machines to learn from experience, adjust to new inputs and perform human-like tasks.

According to IDC, companies are forecast to spend $98 billion on AI, globally in 2023. This stems from the fact that more and more businesses continue to invest in projects that utilise the capabilities of AI software and platforms. For example, most companies have turned to chatbots or automated customer service agents for their customer services.

In the current scenario, the world is grappling with a global pandemic, the COVID-19. This has forced most of the countries into lockdown and changed the way businesses function. The role of AI has now become more important than ever.

We are in a phase where AI is realising its potential in achieving human-like capabilities, so isn’t it time to question the business leaders on how they can harness the strength of man and machine.

With technologies such as deep learning, IoT, computer vision and language processing, machines have learnt how to speak, read, text, identify patterns, and so much more. As this field precipitates more into commonly manual activities, for example, the use of AI to combat the corona pandemic in many countries such as training the AI to recognise a positive case using the Chest X-Ray or using drone cameras for thermal screenings.

THE COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE:

Rather than scrapping the traditional methods of competitive advantage, AI reframes them in such a manner that companies can get a dynamic view of their strengths. For example, the health and safety of company employees were traditionally dependent on manual hours of patrolling security, it then moved to long hours of video feed monitoring from multiple cameras. However, humans are prone to error due to fatigue or negligence.

So, how can this be reimagined by AI?
  • Data: AI can harness data at a much faster rate and directly from users. 
  • Automation: Algorithms learn from data and experience. This allows us to train them for any security breaches as well as to explore new opportunities that may not be possible manually.
  • Decision Making: AI increases the rate and quality of decision making as the number of inputs and the speed of processing for machines can be millions of times higher than for humans. 
Thus, AI can make lives safer and help employers gain insights on those areas that may have been opaque to them before. Our computer vision solution, IRIS AI is certainly changing lives and supporting business restart their operations.

Furthermore, predictive analytics and objective data are free from human gut feeling and experience. Many industries such as manufacturing, warehousing, retail, banking, automobile and many more have all moved sharply towards adapting computer vision technology. For example, in retail, AI can generate insights from online as well as physical stores (if connected using computer vision).

CONCLUSION:

In this AI-enabled world, it is almost imperative for companies to embrace AI to achieve a competitive edge. Companies need to identify what machines can do better than humans and vice versa, and then develop complementary roles and responsibilities for each, and redesign processes accordingly.