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In 2016, more than 4000 workers died on the job in the US, and there were nearly 3 million private-sectorNo Ordinary Hard Hat: Improving Health & Safety with Open Source Big Data work-related injuries. Yet a key component of workplace safety, the protective hard hat, has remained largely unchanged over the past 60 years.  GuardHat, Inc. aims to save lives and prevent injuries with a smart hardhat — a wearable, Internet of Things platform in an industrial hardhat form-factor.  Each GuardHat contains up to a dozen sensors, local processing and storage, and audio and video communication. This embedded technology enables the system to pinpoint a worker’s location to less than a foot, monitor vital signs, video the immediate surroundings, and instantly detect impacts and sounds such as blasts.

GuardHat’s goal is to improve worker safety by preventing or quickly responding to incidents. For example, the system can warn of a toxic gas buildup, alert workers when they’re about to enter a dangerous area, and instantly detect a fall from elevation. 

Each helmet continuously transmits data to a GuardHat safety control center for monitoring and rapid response. In the event of a fall, the device instantly sends an alert to the control center with precise location coordinates, and also notifies nearby workers wearing GuardHat; the safety control center then establishes audio and video contact with the injured worker and immediately sends help.

Because the system collects information from each GuardHat multiple times each second, it generates vast amounts of data: a site with 400 workers produces more than 200 GB of data per eight-hour shift. The challenge for the safety control center is to process and respond to this torrent of incoming data in near real time. Because GuardHat is a safety technology, service level agreements typically require that the system responds to incidents in less than two seconds. “The volume of data that’s coming in is humongous,” says Anupam Sengupta, GuardHat’s Chief Technical Officer. “And it all has to be churned, processed, and analyzed in real-time.”

GuardHat evaluated several well-known big data platforms, but soon determined that it was spending too much time building its software framework and integrating components rather than focusing on development of its own solution.  That’s when the company turned to HPCC Systems®.

To learn more about how GuardHat and HPCC Systems are working together, we invite you to listen to the No Ordinary Hard Hat: Improving Health & Safety with Open Source Big Data webcast.  Flavio Villanustre, Vice President of Technology for LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, starts the talk off with an overview of the completely free, open source HPCC Systems big data platform. 

Anupam Sengupta, CTO and co-founder of GuardHat, then provides an informative discussion focusing on how they use open source big data technology to address the issue of safety in the workplace with their “smart hard hat ecosystem,” an industrial wearable that uses IoT and wireless communications systems to protect and empower industrial workers.

Anupam also shares how GuardHat leveraged HPCC Systems to: 

  • Allow real-time complex event processing of vast amounts of streaming data.
  • Enable horizontal scaling on commodity hardware, with the flexibility to deploy both on premises and in the cloud.
  • Support big data analytics including the ability to analyze, identify, and predict trends.
  • Enable rapid green-field development

Please take a moment to listen to this webcast - it is a wonderful example of how start-ups are harnessing the power of HPCC Systems to drive their own success. 

Additional Resources:

Webinar Presentation

GuardHat, Inc. Case Study

GuardHat, Inc. Website