Redefining Safety with Smart Helmet

Over the years, industrial settings have endured immense changes in terms of growth in scale, use of machinery, and diversification. At the same time, accident risks in places like construction sites are increasing and occupational accidents are happening every year. While personal protective equipment (PPE) is helpful in many situations, a confluence of factors are also helping to reimagine safety technology at the workplace.

Let's take safety helmets for instance -- one of the frequently used PPE in a number of industries, especially among construction workers and miners underground. Considering how vital a piece of equipment is, it is rather unfortunate that their designs around the world are still mostly unchanged since they were first invented and patented in 1919.

But what if someone tells you that the once-humble hardhat has now been upgraded to include Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities? Yes, a smart helmet that is. The talented team from TM R&D has developed a smart safety helmet that provides live, wireless monitoring and features an array of sensors (accident, impact and geolocation) that is essentially meant to keep workers and worksites safe.


The design of safety helmet around the world are still mostly unchanged since they were first invented and patented in 1919

What is a Smart Helmet and how does it work?

According to a global technology research and advisory company, Technavio’s report from July 2020, the global smart PPE market is forecast to grow by US$2.25 billion between 2020-2024. The market is also expected to accelerate at a compound annual growth rate of more than 16%.  Smart PPE in general is part of the larger movement for the connected workforce and the Industrial IoT to improve workplace safety and achieve operational excellence.

TM R&D’s Smart Helmet, which is the first of its kind in Malaysia, targets workers especially in the oil and gas, telecommunication, utilities  and construction industries. The solution is a data-driven smart industrial appliance that started off as a challenge in speed and innovation, where the team worked towards creating the first working prototype within just two (2) weeks.

Among the features of the Smart Helmet includes GPS location tracking services, impact or accident detection, attendance detection, violation detection and a video camera for remote coaching and emergency observation of the workforce. To top it off, the usage of the Smart Helmet allows for the collection of telemetry data from the sensors on the helmet, which can then be shared to the cloud and processed for real-time viewing.

Closeup shot of modern smartphone with GPS application showing map of city

Smart Helmet includes GPS location tracking services, impact or accident detection, attendance detection, violation detection and a video camera for remote coaching and emergency observation of the workforce

Supervisors are given a web-based dashboard that allows for supervision of attendance and incidents, as well as analysis of past incident logs and hotspots. When users are not wearing the Smart Helmet on site, the supervisor can remotely call them, as well as video call for training and assessing emergencies. The access however, is not just limited to a web-based dashboard. TM R&D has also come up with a mobile app that allows the personnel on the ground to interface with the helmet, know their team member’s status, receive alerts when incidents happen, and a panic button for emergencies.

In addition, for privacy purposes, personnel are also given the option to be tracked or otherwise since on the front of the helmet is a small camera that can be used for on-site or off-site collaboration. The Smart Helmet is also enabled via remote communication as it supports WiFi, LTE and Bluetooth connectivity. The variety of connection options is based on the fact that some companies, especially the oil and gas ones, do not have an LTE connection at their refinery.

Towards a Safer Workplace with IoT

The solution by TM R&D takes safety helmets to a new level by introducing concepts of IoT into the helmet as well as taking advantage of data and analytics to deliver new insights. The array of sensors on the Smart Helmet provides real time data about the worker to the cloud. Analytics algorithms then crunch the data to offer meaningful and actionable information to supervisors, workers and the team on the ground.

TMR&D_Smart Helmet

Smart helmet is a great tool for monitoring potentially hazardous environments when it’s impossible to do so manually with any consistency

The innovation has even bagged TM R&D the Cross Category award during the 19th MSC Malaysia Asia Pacific ICT Awards (MSC Malaysia APICTA) 2018. The winning has placed TM R&D as the champion of research and development for that year.

After all, the purpose of technology has always been to improve on how we work and live and IoT in particular has ushered in a new era of business automation across the globe. Even McKinsey’s data highlighted that “58% of companies who embraced an IoT-enabled workplace experienced at least a 5% increase in revenue, while 46% had witnessed a 5% decrease in excess costs.”

 That said, given how the nature of work has changed beyond recognition and the revolution is continuing apace, to have an edge over competitors, organisations should really consider jumping on the IoT-based solutions bandwagon.

About TM R&D

Established in 2000, TM R&D is a world-class R&D company of TM Group; with a special focus on Intelligent Connectivity, Advanced Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, IoT and Digital Platforms. The organisation helps businesses to solve operational issues and co-create solutions for the global market. To date, TM R&D has commercialised 18 solutions and deployed seven platforms for TM saving the Group millions in operational efficiency and support. Additionally, TM R&D has generated more than 2,800 Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) with 100 percent adoption of all its innovations since 2016.

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