North Star BlueScope Steel, a steel producer for building and construction industries, is deploying IBM Watson Internet of Things (IoT) technology and wearable devices to protect workers in extreme environments.
IBM Employee Wellness and Safety Solution, a research project that analyzes data collected from sensors in workers’ wearables, provides data to North Star management in real time when the technology senses potentially problematic conditions.
North Star is piloting IBM Employee Wellness and Safety Solution to identify problematic conditions by collecting data from various sensors that continuously monitor the worker’s skin body temperature and other data. The IBM solution then alerts North Star management so they can provide personalized.
Overexertion and falls account for more than $25 billion in U.S. workers’ compensation costs a year, according to Liberty Mutual Research Institute 2014 Workplace Safety Index. Nearly three million nonfatal occupational injuries were recorded in 2014.
Harriet Green, general manager, IBM Watson IoT, Commerce and Education, said: “We use the IoT to gather, integrate and analyze sensor data from wearable devices.”
Wearable sensors such as fitness bracelets are available, but the cognitive solution conceived by IBM researchers in Haifa, Israel, offers a platform that is customizable and extends the power of cognitive computing to a group of many sensors.
Enterprises can utilize IBM’s Employee Wellness and Safety solution to collect data on exposure to different temperatures, radiation levels, noise or toxic gases, using sensor tags for temperature, humidity, noise, or light measurements. Enterprises can detect gases using personal sensors enabled via WiFi or Bluetooth low energy sensors.
“Through the testing of IBM Employee Wellness and Safety Solution, we have observed an increased awareness of heat stress and exertion in our trial users,” said Malcolm Edge, IT director, North Star BlueScope Steel.
Meanwhile, Mizuho Financial Group and IBM announced a test of the potential of blockchain for use in settlements with virtual currency. By incorporating blockchain technology into settlements with virtual currency, Mizuho will explore how payments can be instantaneously swapped, potentially leading to new financial services.