Chris Greene, senior associate at Aon, knows what he’s talking about when it comes to reducing jobsite risk. As the leader of Aon’s Technology Assessment Panel, Chris works with data science, risk control, risk engineering and construction experts to solve real-world problems with viable tech solutions.
Recently, we joined Chris for an Aon Technology Corner Series webinar to find out how to improve safety on every jobsite through tech. Here’s what we learned.
1. AI’s potential depends on its usability.
There’s plenty of enthusiasm about AI’s big potential in the market, but it’s important to turn that excitement into results. Chris’ experience and that of the Tech Assessment Panel show that technology shouldn’t operate on an island; it’s most effective when it’s easy to work into existing team processes. For this reason, Newmetrix directly integrates with solutions your team is already using — such as Box, OxBlue, Egnyte, Procore, Autodesk, and photo apps on smartphones.
2. Construction firms of all sizes can benefit from AI.
While the earliest adopters of AI for safety have been larger ENR 400 firms like Suffolk and Skanska, medium and small sized contractors are also benefiting by using AI to predict and prevent incidents. Because smaller firms sometimes have fewer dedicated safety professionals, the value proposition of using AI for safety may be equally compelling for them.
For large and small firms alike, Newmetrix’s AI engine, “Vinnie”, is helping our customers to identify trends in leading indicators without changing field processes at all. Newmetrix’s metrics and reporting features make it easy to identify the most important risks in order to focus management's attention and allocate resources accordingly.
3. Teach your AI using concrete examples.
One webinar listener asked an interesting question: What does Newmetrix plan to teach Vinnie, our AI engine, in the future? Our team’s priorities come from our customers, and the types of hazards and risks they want to identify. For example, our work with ladder safety was inspired by a customer who implemented a “Ladders Last” policy across their company. Just like ladders, workers at height, housekeeping and more, we’re working on training Vinnie to recognize a list of over 50 additional safety hazards.
4. AI won’t replace your team’s safety professionals.
As Chuck Cobb, Newmetrix’s resident legal expert recently shared, AI can make “toolbox talks” more effective. During those meetings, safety professionals and construction personnel come together to discuss safety status updates. AI solutions give safety professionals a 360-degree view of the ground at every site. As a result, your team can walk into every meeting prepared to discuss ideas and issues, backed up by specific photo examples that help guide and drive home conversations about improving safety.
5. Saving lives and saving money too?
While there’s an awesome opportunity for AI to save lives in construction, I’m also really excited by the opportunity to meaningfully reduce the cost of safety. As Chris described in this webinar, Aon is looking to create customized insurance policies that deliver either expanded coverage or reduced rates for contractors using Newmetrix. By working with its own actuarial teams as well as negotiating with carriers on behalf of its customers, Aon is taking a leading role in shaping how data and technology innovations can help its customers.
In the future, Newmetrix and Aon are both looking for new ways to improve safety by predicting claims before they happen. After all, if only 25 percent of incidents are avoided by a company that manages 50 projects, 100 incidents per year can be avoided. From Aon’s perspective, this data would help inform insurance markets, expanding coverage and reducing rates for clients. The more we know, the more safer we are—which is a win for everyone in the construction business.