How video tech in manufacturing can drive safety initiatives

Discover how video intelligence helps create a future-ready factory

by The AT&T Business Editorial Team

As the markets return and manufacturers begin ramping up production again, businesses still feel responsible for keeping their communities safe in a post-COVID environment. Employees and personnel need the reassurance that their workspaces are following the appropriate safety and social distancing guidelines. Factories must also adjust their infrastructure to maintain productivity and sustainability into an uncertain future.

These measures can be an adjustment for both employees and business operations as a whole. Many manufacturers are investing in technology solutions to help them adapt to this “new normal.” One of the ways they can do this is through Internet of Things (IoT) video intelligence.

How video technology in manufacturing helps enforce health guidelines and keep employees safe

Manufacturers use video systems for a variety of reasons. Whether to monitor workers on the factory floor or to record security intrusions on the outside premises, these tasks often involve staffing a video feed room with personnel to react to what they see, if they see anything. But, advancements in video technology, artificial intelligence (AI), and IoT are creating opportunities that empower businesses to do more with video capabilities.

IoT video intelligence applies AI and machine learning to video footage to monitor, automate, and perform functions — functions that help businesses drive efficiencies or otherwise carry out tasks that the human eye can’t handle. This minimizes the need for human intervention. These systems can be optimized to analyze large amounts of video data on a near-real time basis. 

This video technology, such as AT&T IoT Video Intelligence is an end-to-end, integrated solution designed for monitoring and analyzing people, assets, and property. It provides situational awareness and reporting from new or existing video cameras and delivers alerts to help businesses make faster, more informed decisions. Manufacturers can also use IoT video intelligence to help comply with COVID-19 guidelines, minimize exposure incidents, and more, in a time with increased safety concerns and precautions.

  • Assisted safety monitoring and alerts – Always a chief concern on the manufacturing floor, video surveillance systems ar commonly used to identify safety hazards and to try to prevent incidents. But this often relies on the diligence of a person tasked with monitoring multiple video feeds for hours at a time. With IoT video intelligence, manufacturers can help detect safety violations and automatically send alerts to personnel fast. For instance, personnel can receive alerts when employees are missing their face masks or required PPE.
  • Monitor occupancy count and distancing – IoT video intelligence provides the ability to count people in a room and even determine the distance between them. It helps facilities adhere to social distancing and occupancy guidelines that help keep employees safe.
  • Check employee body temperatures – One of the best preventative measures a business can take is stopping symptomatic personnel from entering their facility. IoT video intelligence uses thermal analytics that can screen for elevated body temperature of staff and personnel. This enables facilities to run checks at the beginning of each shift before the work floor is exposed.

In the pursuit of maximizing efficiencies and adhering to COVID-related safety precautions, manufacturers are undergoing digital transformation through AI and machine learning such as that used by AT&T IoT Video Intelligence. And while these solutions open a landscape of opportunity, the amount of data processing needed for many video intelligence solutions is more than most standard manufacturer network architectures can handle.

There is a solution to this problem, and it lies in edge computing.

Edge computing: the video intelligence enabler

Edge computing helps bring computing power closer to the edge of your wireless network (on location) to process data in near-real time. How does that help manufacturers with their IoT video intelligence solutions? Let’s explore how edge computing fits into one of the use cases we mentioned above.

Imagine you run a manufacturing plant that uses wireless video cameras on the factory floor to monitor employee safety compliance. This high-resolution video data travels over a public network from the facility to a provider’s core facility or a remote server location for processing. This traditional architecture often does not supply the bandwidth needed for the transmission of these video feeds.

But with an edge computing solution, such as AT&T Multi-Access Edge Computing, a new path is formed that effectively cuts the distance the video data has to travel while separating it from other traffic on the network. AT&T MEC brings the AT&T core network directly to your facility’s premises. In the camera’s case, its data is directed to the on-location server for processing—rather than sent down the traditional path.

Now, the camera and the video intelligence system receive and acts on locally processed, low-latency data. Edge computing enables processing power closer to the location of the manufacturer’s network and shortens the path for mission-critical data. IoT video intelligence solutions and devices can now operate with ultra-low latency, allowing them to function as intended.

Where to begin in building your video intelligence framework

Whether you are building a system from scratch or looking to augment your existing video and camera set up, the first step is aligning yourself with a technology provider. Ideally, you want a provider that can not only supply IoT video intelligence tools and applications but can also design and implement the network required to support those tools. Make sure you have access to professional resources and consultation services that can help address the specific needs of your business.

The world of IoT and video technology is key to remaining competitive while keeping safe in a post-COVID market. It’s important businesses find the right guidance and support in adopting these innovative solutions.

For more information on emerging technology solutions for the manufacturing industry, check out our “digital factories” page.