FogHorn IoT Solution Monitors Worker Health and Safety

By RFID Journal

The system enables businesses to enforce workplace standards by using edge computing and artificial intelligence to monitor compliance.


FogHorn, a developer of artificial intelligence (AI) software for industrial and commercial Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, has announced its Lightning Health & Safety Solutions. The new offerings are designed to improve the safety of workplaces, the company reports, and to help mitigate the spread of contagious illnesses as businesses worldwide return to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lightning Solutions product line utilizes FogHorn’s Lightning Edge AI platform, preconfigured with use-case-specific machine-learning models and visualization dashboards. According to the company, the system is intended to enable organizations to deploy edge intelligence and AI in order to address common problems.

FogHorn’s software platform provides analytics and machine learning to the on-premises edge environment, enabling applications for monitoring and diagnostics, machine performance optimization, proactive maintenance and operational intelligence use cases. The technology is suited to use by original equipment manufacturers and systems integrators, the company reports, as well as for end customers in the areas of manufacturing, power and water, oil and gas, renewable energy, mining, transportation, healthcare, retail, smart grids, smart cities, smart buildings and connected vehicles.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the way organizations view health and safety,” said David C. King, FogHorn’s CEO, in a prepared statement. “By proactively monitoring worker temperatures, coughs and social distancing, organizations can mitigate the impact of future outbreaks of any sickness in the workplace. As well, organizations can protect the monitored employee data with FogHorn’s streaming analytics at the edge, as all images, videos and other data are processed in real time, by not transmitting the data offsite or to the cloud.”

According to FogHorn, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration estimates that businesses pay almost $1 billion per week in workers’ compensation costs, which does not include indirect costs, such as lost productivity, the implementation of corrective measures or the training of replacement employees. With this associated cost, organizations are seeking ways to proactively monitor their workforce for signs of illness, and to ensure safety and health standards are being followed.

Health and safety monitoring has been a largely manual task to date, FogHorn reports, with technology-based solutions addressing only specific use cases, such as temperature monitoring. The challenge for organizations has been to ensure workplace safety and reduce health risks, which the company says requires an enterprise-wide solution that can automate monitoring through video and other sensors, spanning multiple use cases.

The Lightning Health & Safety Solutions suite can be used either individually or together. An enterprise edition is available, which can include customizations, data science and integrations with a customer’s existing IT systems, video-management software and access-control systems. Health Monitoring features elevated temperature detection, cough detection, hand washing monitoring, social distancing monitoring, and mask and facial covering detection. Safety Monitoring includes personal protective equipment, such as hard hats, footwear, eyewear, vests and boots. And with Hazard Detection, custom solution engagements are available, including crane and falling debris warnings, as well as leak detection and spill hazards.

With streaming video analytics and sensor fusion, Lightning Health & Safety Solutions automate monitoring, offer real-time insights, and generate alerts if policy violations occur, or if unsafe health conditions are detected. Audio streams and video and thermal cameras collect information and transmit data to the system. Lightning provides real-time SMS text messages or email alerts in the event of compliance violations, with that data displayed on a dashboard that can be deployed at building entry points, in employee break rooms, near production lines and in management consoles. Safety and compliance personnel can access this information using a Web browser.

Distribution centers, food processing plants, and educational and government institutions must ensure that staff members and visitors follow appropriate guidelines, FogHorn indicates, such as wearing masks, practicing social distancing and washing hands properly. To date, the company explains, monitoring has not been available, or else it has been conducted by supervisors or personnel observing adherence to practices and through posted reminders. To scale these practices, organizations can employ IoT-based sensor data that can alert them if someone is not in compliance, or the technology can serve as a reminder to reinforce best practices.

For industrial organizations, monitoring safety also includes ensuring the use of protective gear, such as safety goggles, reflective vests, hard hats and more. Lightning Health & Safety Solutions can be customized to detect potential environmental safety hazards, such as falling objects and trip hazards. By automating the monitoring process, organizations can scale the detection of PPE for long-term increases in worker safety and compliance.

“In the current environment, health and safety auditing has become pivotal for every organization to ensure the well-being of its workforce. This unprecedented scale of ubiquitous monitoring will become the new normal and shall only be achieved via an automated and fool-proof solution,” said Neil Shah, Counterpoint Research‘s VP of research, in the prepared statement. “FogHorn’s Lightning Health & Safety solution uses real-time edge analytics to solve this exact conundrum for institutions. The solution’s AI capabilities transform live streams from video cameras or other sensor-filled endpoints into highly automated real-time alerts and actionable insights. The solution seamlessly automates the entire process for health, safety and hazard detection, ensuring workforces’ well-being.”