December 14, 2020

Bringing Forsight to Construction

Ariel Applbaum

Look around you. You’re probably surrounded by works of construction that you take for granted. By the end of your 3-mile, socially-distanced stroll you’ve traversed over $5,000,000 of road and 2,000,000 pounds of asphalt. The skyscraper you used to call an office took hundreds of skilled people years to build. Construction builds the world around us — highways, office buildings, homes, hospitals, stadiums, bridges and airports.

Construction is a $1.3 trillion US industry (for the folks that are counting, that’s over 6% of US GDP) that employs over 7 million Americans. Yet, despite being a cornerstone of the American economy, little attention is aid to the needs of the industry and to the safety of its employees. 20% of workplace deaths occur in construction. One in ten construction workers is injured annually. Projects are also a frequent target of vandalism, theft, and arson. This all leads to missed schedules and costly overspends to the order of tens of billions of dollars every year.

Despite the scale of the industry and the magnitude of the problem, construction has been slow to adopt, and underserved by, new technologies to combat these issues, resulting in frustratingly persistent inefficiencies and slow productivity growth. Global construction productivity has averaged only a 1% increase per year for the past two decades, compared with 2.8% for the total world economy and 3.6% for manufacturing. All of this inefficiency has been accompanied by slow progress in improving the safety of the industry for workers.

Photo by Igor Starkov from Pexels

What We’ve Been Working On

Construction workers put their lives on the line to build the world. Policy manuals, worker training, and random safety inspections can only do so much to protect workers. It’s not realistic or possible for foremen or safety engineers to monitor the entire site all the time.

That is why Forsight built CAMS — Construction’s Autonomous Monitoring System. CAMS is a software system that uses cameras, ones you already have or those we help you install, to detect safety risks, security threats, and productivity bottlenecks in real-time. If an issue arises, you are immediately alerted to solve the situation then, in real-time, rather than cleaning up the aftermath. Injuries can be prevented altogether with the right protection. Even just identifying an injury early significantly improves long-term outcomes. Only 16% of workers who experienced head injuries were wearing their hard hats. In <2 minutes, a small fire can turn into a devastating inferno that threatens to destroy an entire project. That’s why Forsight made it a top priority to analyze the construction environment as work is happening, many times a second, automatically and without the need for people to monitor camera feeds. CAMS uses machine learning, geometry and data science to ascertain a wealth of information about the safety, security and management of people, materials, and equipment.

COVID-19 caught the world flat-footed. No one knew how to deal with a global pandemic, and the construction industry was hit hard. It’s an essential job that requires workers to operate in close quarters. Despite intensive protocols put in place by government, organizations, and regulators, there have been numerous outbreaks and site shut-downs due to non-compliance and on-site virus spread.

Forsight is excited to announce our newest offering: Social Distancing Detection. Using cameras already on site, or that we install, you can determine worker spacing in real-time. Managers can use this tool to alert workers when social distancing efforts are not sufficient or when PPE adherence is too lax. This allows workers to remain safe, job sites to remain open, and companies to avoid fines and shutdowns.

Photo by Ksenia Chernaya from Pexels

Where We Come From

We began Forsight two years ago to develop creative solutions for construction’s complex and serious problems. We’ve been in stealth mode while partnering with select clients until now.

As CEO, I come from a background in technology with a family deeply involved in high-tech and venture capital (leading to my mom’s “No pitch-decks at the dinner table!” rule). My experiences have confirmed my belief that problems are opportunities waiting for original ideas and strategic innovation. I believe we are living that model at Forsight.

Michael, co-founder and COO, feels the same. He grew up in construction, working as a laborer, a carpenter and then a construction engineer on large projects before switching to finance. From a senior-level position, he saw the financial markets disrupted and transformed by technology. Now he’s driven to see the construction industry transformed as well. Unfortunately, when in construction, he saw too many jobsite injuries and even deaths. That was 30 years ago, but the data prove there is still a long way to go.

Ivan, co-founder and CTO, received his Ph.D. in image processing and compressive sensing after spending 10 years in academia devising novel ways to pull as much information as possible out of every pixel in an image. His passion is leading our development team to greater levels of effectiveness and efficiency. His past career as a rock band guitarist has suffered in the process.

Forsight is excited to emerge from stealth mode and to offer the platform that we have been building these past two years to address persistent and new issues on construction sites. Please reach out if you are interested in implementing our solutions, joining our team or if you just want to learn more!

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