Insurance provider AIG has made a strategic investment in Human Condition Safety (HCS), a startup from New York that uses wearables and artificial intelligence (AI) to ensure the safety of workers on job sites including construction, oil and gas, shipping, mining, and others. HCS’ goal is simple, albeit ambitious: to eliminate deaths on job sites globally by 2025.
HCS has been developing products in its lab and deploying them with partners in pilot projects. These include a smart vest, which can detect imprecise bending on the back rather than the knees, or warn in case too much weight is being carried, or a smart hard hat that is Bluetooth enabled and has sensors to detect a fall. HCS also has a wearable that can track the alignment of the spine as you pick up a box from the floor. HCS is developing technology that can scale to a whole workforce working on multiple job sites, providing real-time dashboards showing which sites might have workers at risk in real time. This is a big shift in how safety and risk is handled in the workplace. More importantly, the data is being collected and analyzed to create better equipment as well as safer workplace conditions and procedures, which could help reduce injury and save lives.
(Source: Human Condition Safety)
HCS wants to focus on safety rather than on improving efficiency and speed. Workplace wearables, especially in the corporate sector, have largely been focused on improving health using fitness trackers, leading to productive and healthy employees. However, physically demanding jobs like construction or mining have little use for an activity tracker. On the other hand, job site workers are less likely to use wearables if they are being monitored on how quickly or efficiently they do their job, but could be persuaded if the wearable helps them do their job much more safely. We have seen similar examples in Australia, where power companies have been using body sensors from dorSavi to improve the ergonomics and safety of their workers who work on elevated platforms. This isn’t just restricted to construction or mining and has also been used in supermarkets to protect workers’ backs as they stack shelves.
Wearables are more than just trackers, smart watches, and smart glasses. The use cases go beyond just activity tracking, and it’s becoming clear that insurance companies are looking strategically at wearables. Last year, we showcased the diversity of enterprise wearables in a white paper that included 40 featured use cases. It’s nice to see that the market continues to move forward in terms of adding to that diversity, and having mainstream insurance companies involved will continue to add credibility to the market.