The Transformational Power of Emerging Technology in the Workplace

The Transformational Power of Emerging Technology in the Workplace


An HSE Insight Summit Interview with Natasha Porter, Gensuite EVP & Customer Service Development Officer and Amanda Petzinger, Gensuite Senior Director of Customer Relationships & Development

The annual HSE Insight Summit brings together senior health and safety decision-makers and business leaders from across North America to discuss industry challenges, opportunities and best practices. The 2018 HSE Summit focused on critical key topics such as leveraging data analytics to improve HSE and sustainability performance; safety culture: management software tools, leadership, talent and training; and risk management: legal and regulatory compliance, preventative care, industrial hygiene and safety improvement. Within these topics, Gensuite thought leaders Natasha Porter, EVP & Customer Development Officer, and Amanda Petzinger, Senior Director of Customer Relationships & Development, discussed how the power of emerging technology in the workplace can help radically improve these areas key to HSE performance.

What do you find to be the biggest opportunities and challenges currently surrounding the health & safety sector?

Natasha: On the frontier tech side of things, we made an analogy as it relates to Mobile technology and Mobile phones. About four to five years ago, we didn’t use Mobile devices in the workplace, or even consider them much, and now they have really taken off for occupational purposes–especially for health & safety. It took a while to get that going, though. On the discussion and topic of IoT, it just started a year ago, and we’re already piloting them. All different types of solutions. They gain traction much faster. We need to figure out how to leverage these technologies to make more intelligent decisions, such as eliminate a risk in the past. During this influx of technology, those who have these technologies available will make waves in the EHS space.

 

How can we better address these challenges and advance these technologies?

Amanda: Harnessing these technologies is the biggest challenge. Some people weren’t aware of the tech [IoT, wearables, etc.] a few years ago; but now, people know what we’re talking about, yet they still don’t know how to apply it to their workplace or industry. It’s a series of challenges that providers like Gensuite help users overcome. And so, the next challenge will be, ‘How do we implement it? We can point to where companies can implement this tech and then help guide them individually in the direction they need to go.

 

Of the HSE Insight Summit’s key focus areas, which do you find the most valuable for emerging technology?

Natasha [on the topic of leveraging data analytics to improve EHS&S performance]: How users can run reports better for analytics and gain insights out of that. Analytics and reporting help with the overall management of HSE programs and systems. There was an open roundtable on the topic of analytics and what HSE professionals need within this area. It has three aspects: entering data, the machine learning side of things that looks at the reports and analytics and then what they should report back. Predictive performance is no different than Pandora discovering your music trends, just with overall upticks in injury or illnesses. HSE professionals need more help with the predictive and machine learning side of things.

 

How can we integrate emerging technology into specific industries or for a specific purpose, such as industrial hygiene (IH)?

Amanda: Emerging technology provides an opportunity for wearables and IoT to monitor employees with regards to exposure limits in a number of hazardous fields. And on the predictive side of things, you’ll be able to gather real-time employee data. We have some modeling in IH that allows you to do that already.

Natasha: Wearables with voltage sensing is another possibility. This type of device could eliminate a worker’s risk of significant injury before engaging with a specific piece of equipment. This makes the employee and the area around the employee more safe.

Amanda: Sensors that monitor noise above a particular decibel level can also pair with employees as an added layer of noise protection.

 

What are the increased safety risks with these new technologies?

Amanda: During a presentation at a NIOSH [The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health] conference last year, they discussed studies on hazards as they relate to new technologies. For example, smart glasses and reading on tiny screens and the use of smart phones causing distracted driving. But the hands-free and Mobile nature of these devices help eliminate more hazards and barriers than the risks they create.

 

What are the top emerging tech solutions Gensuite offers for health & safety? Most practical, useful, etc.

Natasha: All frontier technologies we offer are equally valuable, they just meet different needs. We were really excited to share a live demo of our Gensuite virtual assistant Genny™, who can provide HSE briefings, retrieve SDSs, help you report a concern, take action and even help you complete your open action items. The possibilities are endless for what Genny™ can do. You can explore and learn more about Genny during our Gensuite Customer Conference in May.

 

Can you share insights and/or firsthand experience of customers or yourself working with Gensuite software in combination with these technologies?

Natasha: Folks can get involved in pairing with Gensuite frontier technologies and exploration opportunities. Our top focus areas include: virtual assistants, smart glasses, analytics and machine learning, beacons, image recognition and QR code technology. We are excited to share this opportunity if you’re currently using Gensuite, want to start using Gensuite, and/or want to partner with us.

 

The topics surrounding the HSE Insight Summit will continue to gain momentum as they combine with frontier technology. And as Gensuite nears the annual Customer Conference, we will begin to see even more how these topics come to life when combined with Gensuite’s emerging technology. Gensuite collaborates continuously with subscribing customers, service partners, and industry experts to intelligently integrate and innovative, cutting-edge technology into its applications. To learn more about how we are currently engaged in projects connecting Gensuite tools and applications with devices such as wearables & Internet of Things, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence, visit our Frontier Technology page.

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