UtterBerry & Connected Places Catapult pass the first stage to bring a safer construction industry to the Philippines

The Global Challenge Research Fund funded by UKRI supports cutting-edge research to address challenges faced by developing countries

The Challenge

Construction is the deadliest sector in the world. In the Philippines, the fatal injury rate in construction has been steadily increasing since 2011 and reflects the same trend seen throughout the Asia Pacific region, according to the United Nations agency the International Labour Organisation, which is home to 70% of work-related deaths worldwide.

SME Solution

The UtterBerry sensor system can improve the safety of construction sites by monitoring the infrastructure of both the project and the site to alert relevant workers when a harmful or fatal event occurs anywhere within the sensor networks coverage.

Tested in the UK by Network Rail and Thameswater, UtterBerry’s small sensors, embedded in structures provide predictive tools to mitigate against a huge range of events from changing weather conditions to structural stability enabling better informed decisions about the operation of construction and manufacturing sites, enabling more employment stability and protecting the health and safety of workers on site.

The UtterBerry™ System consists of a collection of miniature, artificially intelligent, ultra-low power sensors. These wireless sensors self-calibrate to form a mesh network and relay data between each other, working as a family of sensors in any particular area which do not require a line of sight between each other. For real-time remote access to the sensor data, the sensors are supported by a Base Station providing connectivity to the Internet or Local Network.

The systems’ patented onboard Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Machine Learning (ML) algorithms will gather and analyse any existing data to provide predictions for future physical changes in the environment.

The sensors, which can calibrate and communicate to each other within mesh networks, will be able to detect when the most subtle physical movements occur, alerting onsite personnel when the area becomes unsafe.

Collaboration

London-based smart sensor network company Utterberry and Connected Places Catapult partnered to explore the possibilities of bringing safer environments to the construction industry in the Philippines. The project, which competed with 300 submissions became one of 30 projects awarded grant funding to carry out a discovery phase to investigate the feasibility and demand for the Utterberry solution in the Philippines.

Connected Places Catapult brought human-centric design and impact assessment expertise to help gather insights from potential end-users/customers to validate the demand of Utterberry along with commercial networking opportunities aimed at preparing for future opportunities.

UtterBerry’s CEO & Founder is delighted with this achievement:

“UtterBerry is incredibly pleased to lead a Phase 1 project in the Philippines that we are also funding 40% with the Global Challenge Research Fund. Working with the fantastic Connected Places Catapult and industry stakeholders in the Philippines, we are tackling the very important issue of health and safety in the construction industry by deploying UtterBerry wireless sensors with artificial intelligence to reduce injuries and fatalities. We are also examining the economic impact that Utterberry wireless sensors offer, particularly in regard to diversifying the workforce in construction, as the sensors enable buildings and construction sites to be monitored remotely.” Heba Bevan OBE, CEO and Founder of UtterBerry

Benefits & Results

Within six months the project made great progress in uncovering learnings from research activities resulting in:

  • Establishing and building strong relationships with industry organisations in the Philippines
  • Opportunity to uncover the challenges, needs and demands from potential end users to validate assumptions and propose solutions.
  • Identifying large scale construction projects to demonstrate the benefits of the Utterberry solution.

Connected Places Catapult have shared their excitement for the project:

Connected Places Catapult is delighted to be partnering with Utterberry on this exciting collaborative research & development project. The Catapult works hard to find opportunities in emerging markets where UK expertise can lend to local partnerships where innovations can transform places. The Global Challenge Research Fund helps to provide the opportunity for places like the Philippines and companies like Utterberry to show the impact that urban innovations can make, not just to the people of a city or region, but also in meeting UN Sustainable Development Goals – which benefit everyone.” Amy Hochadel, Director of Global Business Growth from Connected Places Catapult

If you’d like to find out more about the project or explore future collaboration opportunities please contact global@cp.catapult.org.uk

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