First Balfour scales up digitalization with IoT devices

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Published May 2, 2024 | Last updated May 2, 2024

First Balfour has partnered with global IoT solutions provider Accent Systems in deploying IoT-powered solutions to monitor worker productivity and equipment usage. In this new multimillion peso investment, the Barcelona-headquartered vendor supplied two types of GPS-equipped devices called BDG Hawk and TRK Panther.

L-R: Rail Sector Technical Assistant CJ Ortego, Accent Systems CEO Jordi Casamada, Innovation Section Head Limuel Banaag, Data Analyst Brix Miko Chua, and Rail Sector Technical Assistant Angelie Dulza

L-R: Rail Sector Technical Assistant CJ Ortego, Accent Systems CEO Jordi Casamada, Innovation Section Head Limuel Banaag, Data Analyst Brix Miko Chua, and Rail Sector Technical Assistant Angelie Dulza

An IoT wearable, BDG Hawk is a cellular electronic badge that collects workers’ locations and is commonly used for attendance tracking and location-based timesheet generation. It can also serve as a safety tool with the inclusion of buttons that can be pressed to alert the team of any accident occurrences, with the relative location, and/or potential dangers that may occur.  Falls from height or sudden impact also trigger safety alerts automatically. A total of 217 units of BDG Hawk were included in the investment with 28 units already already deployed in Tanawon FCRS and CA and 46 units in Leyte projects.

IoT project implementation team testing the signal of their BDG Hawk badges during initial deployment in Tanawon

IoT project implementation team testing the signal of their BDG Hawk badges during initial deployment in Tanawon

TRK Panther, on the other hand, is a plug-and-play device that tracks the real-time location of equipment and reports usage status. It can also serve as a preventive maintenance tool and in the monitoring of project resources and cost. There are 169 units of TRK Panther now ready for deployment. BDG Hawk (left in photo below), when partnered with TRK Panther (right in photo below), can monitor welder productivity and equipment usage. When worn, the badge can detect a worker’s proximity to a welding equipment to report usage.

Accent Systems’ in-house developed IoT platform called Inmolecular can then receive real-time data retrieved from these devices’ sensors, generate analyses, and display reports in a user-friendly, cloud-based dashboard. To increase data reliability, Innovation Section Head Limuel Banaag shares, “At this point, we are coordinating with Accent Systems about our dashboard requirements for the data gathered from our initial deployment. We will definitely introduce improvements as we go along to ensure our reports are accurate.”

Accent Systems CEO Jordi Casamada shared that he was introduced to First Balfour through Head of Rail Sector Antony Di Rosa who was then looking for solutions to visualize an overview of the company’s resources. “This partnership with First Balfour is our first major project in the Philippines in terms of volume and potential,” shares Casamada.

Di Rosa states, “These devices allow us to address two key components of our business, safety and productivity. The first is that the safety features are a bonus for the workers to allow for rapid intervention in case of an incident. The second is the automatic collection of data in a systematic and uniform manner that will help us benchmark our productivity so we can dedicate more time to analyze and reduce the time-consuming processes.” It was in early 2023 when he introduced the use of IoT wearable technology with devices piloted in a power plant project in Batangas, marking the beginning of its proof-of-concept stage.

Wearable IoT devices used during the proof-of-concept stage in early 2023

Wearable IoT devices used during the proof-of-concept stage in early 2023

Founded in Spain in 2007, Accent Systems is a global provider of innovative track and trace, safe workplace, and access control solutions. They make smart IoT devices with indoor and outdoor location and live sensors, cloud solutions, and easy-to-use APIs. With their solutions, tracking current and historical interactions between individuals or assets while reporting geolocation, environmental features, authorized accesses, and occupancy control are possible.

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