EHSQ leaders in the Middle East and Intelex innovators and partners met in Dubai to share best practices and opportunities for growth and innovation in 2020 and beyond.
Dubai is a melting pot; millions of people from different cultures, coming together to support a glowing city that has risen out of the desert like a phoenix. Everywhere you look, the city/state is expanding, from the world’s tallest building – the towering, twinkling Burj Khalifa, reaching 2,722 ft into the air – to the suburbs that are stretching out around the city to accommodate workers and their families who have come to Dubai to support the city’s main drivers: construction, energy and tourism.
Neil Berry, SVP and GM of Intelex’s UK office, welcomed over 100 attendees to the 2019 Middle East Customer Forum, telling them, “The future is continuous innovation.”
Berry quoted His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, and ruler of the Emirate of Dubai, who said, “Human beings, their ideas, innovations, dreams and connections, are the capital of the future. Because where great minds go today, great things will happen tomorrow.”
So what better place than this city of innovation to meet with Intelex’s growing number of Middle East customers to share best practices, learn about upcoming innovations and find out how employers can better use the massive amounts of data they collect to improve EHSQ?
Berry noted the Middle East has been an iconic leader in innovation, making special note of FIFA 2022 in Qatar and Dubai Expo 2020, revealing that both projects are Intelex customers. These world-class events require huge investments not only in infrastructure, but also in worker safety and health. The equivalent of building a city in a very short span of time, both projects will require thousands of workers who will accumulate millions of manhours of work and feature the necessity of logistical gymnastics to rival the largest shipping and receiving operations in the world. From the architects designing the projects to the truck drivers delivering goods and construction materials to the workers operating cranes, securing the foundations and guarding the perimeters of the sites, there is not a single part of the operations that are not reliant in some way on the digital innovations that are part of IIoT 4.0.
The first Intelex and Barik IT Middle East Customer Forum, which focused on the possibilities of Industry 4.0 and the need for companies to transition their data collection from silos to synergies, provided:
• A deep dive into Intelex future innovations and roadmap
• Live customer panels with shared insights from EHSQ leaders
• Disruptive trends that are driving the industry
• Strategies for harnessing the value of IIoT- enabled EHSQ
• Share knowledge and best practices with other Intelex customers
In her opening remarks, Roula Vrsic, SVP of Marketing for Intelex, noted that we are at “a new inflection point” in EHSQ. EHSQ 1.0 was notable for incident logs, air emissions and audits. EHSQ 2.0 featured web forms, workflows and task lists, while Industry 3.0 was known for system of record, analytics and BI and mobile apps. EHSQ 4.0, however, reflects how our entire lives have been transformed by the Internet of Things.
“I counted 40 connected devices in my home,” Vrsic said. “I have become the CIO of my home.” And, she added, the same is true of the workplace: “IoT is already here,” said Vrsic. “And it is alive and well in your organization.”
The real value of IoT is its data-gathering potential – connected wearables on workers, connected sensors in the workplace, proximity beacons in facilities, connected assets – and the value of all of that data to impact business for the better, she added. Surprisingly, she added, only one percent of IoT data is currently used. The purpose of the forum was to show attendees how they can use more of the data they gather to innovate in business and in EHSQ.
Vrsic pointed out that the Middle East is the leader for IIOT wearables for workers. This provides the potential for the Middle East to be a leader in the push toward the concept of connected workers; workers who are connected not only to sensors that track insights about their physical conditions – such as temperature and respiration and proximity to risks such as moving equipment and hazardous gases – and who are connected to systems that allow them to input and export insights about the workplace such as injuries, illnesses, near misses, training hours, behavioral observations and much more.
With more and more opportunities for IoT to impact EHSQ, it becomes “crucial for EHS professionals to fight for a seat at the table of the digital transformation and IoT,” said Vrsic. This increasing knowledge about work and the worker – driven by the potential for IIoT – makes EHSQ “a key contributor” to the health of a business, she added.