Manufacturing sites are dangerous places to work. In addition to the human cost, workplace injuries in manufacturing have severe business implications such as downtime, insurance, legal and regulatory costs. It is no surprise then that improving worker safety through digitization is a top priority for safety directors in the manufacturing industry.
Today, Cisco’s wireless technology can help manufacturing companies improve safety via Cisco’s wireless infrastructure, software solutions and partner ecosystem. For example, Cisco DNA Spaces can provide location data on personnel and equipment on manufacturing floors – including how they move around in relation to each other, how long they dwell in different areas of the plant and how frequently they enter specific zones. Additionally the maps capabilities in Cisco DNA Center visualize the relationship dependencies between the network infrastructure components and business relevant assets to enable automated monitoring of anomalies.
Today, several Cisco Access Points (APs) deploying Cisco’s software solutions can locate individuals and assets. As we move forward, next-generation WiFi 6-capable APs that have Bluetooth Low Energy and Zigbee antennas will be able to predict location with reliability while leveraging the best of what Wi-Fi 6 has to offer as client end points optimize communications with APs.
By correlating location data of workers and equipment with previous safety incidents, safety officers can identify patterns in location data to gain insights to address those in the future. With sufficient data, safety teams can apply basic machine learning on location data to predict and prevent safety incidents before they occur. For example, a typical agricultural processing plant has mobile small and medium sized machinery, large static equipment and hundreds of workers. By correlating the location data of workers and machinery with internal data about accidents due to fatigue, a safety officer can define rules where workers and supervisors are automatically notified if they have spent an excessive amount of time in the proximity of dangerous machinery. Doing so will reduce the safety incident rate and reduce the risk of worker injury .
In summary, Cisco’s wireless technology empowers manufacturing enterprises to truly integrate IT with their industrial management processes and with minimal overhead in the IT infrastructure. This enables manufacturing enterprises to achieve business outcomes such as worker safety improvement, while reducing their costs arising from workplace injuries.
Co-Author: Ashwath Krishnan K
Ashwath is a rising candidate at the Kellogg School of Management and worked with the Cisco Wireless team on Vertical Strategies for FY20. His interest and experience in developing and launching tech products for automotive and IoT applications was valuable in exploring this use case.