Building Simple, Cost-Effective Technology Solutions
Trends in EHS TechSelecting and integrating appropriate software and tech for your organization is foundational to effective EHS program management. NAEM’s 2020 research, “Trends in Emerging Tech for EHS&S: What’s Really Happening Inside Companies,” documented the state of emerging tech to help EHS leaders make informed decisions. As a follow-up, NAEM discussed emerging technology and software with experts at several leading firms.
This article presents highlights from those discussions, including useful tips on selection and integration of emerging technology and use cases that shed light on the applicability of a wide range of technologies. By sharing the perspective of these technologists, we hope to provide additional tools to help EHS&S decision-makers evaluate the ever-evolving technology and software market.
Q&A HighlightsThis article presents highlights from a discussion with Bryden Waggott, Senior Vice President of EHSQ at Intelex — a leading cloud-based EHS software systems provider, in order to give EHS&S decision-makers additional tools to evaluate the ever-evolving technology and software market. Bryden oversees the design and creation of Intelex's apps in the EHSQ space, and in this interview specifically speaks to building cost-effective and customized software and technology solutions.
In many ways, Intelex’s technology offerings mirror the technologies that corporate leaders said they are using in recent NAEM benchmarking research. Intelex has a wide range of technologies they are pursuing, though their core focus is on IOT, wearables and Machine Learning. In the future, the company aims to increase investment on integration technologies that service IOT, sensors, wearables, drones and beacons.
What is your advice for companies hoping to integrate new technology with existing IT and EHS software systems?
Just because the technology sounds exciting and you can make a valuable case for it doesn’t mean it will get adopted. EHS (and Quality) practitioners are incredibly slow to adopt technology. The value must be foolproof and extremely simple (and cost-effective).
What technologies do you see as the most broadly applicable and effective in the EHS and sustainability space? What are you most excited about seeing our field embrace, and why? Do you steer companies away from any particular types of technologies? Why?
Any technology that can automate the data collection process for EHS will be the most applicable. Currently, in the Sustainability and Environmental space, much of the transactional data is automatically captured but a universal integration hub is needed for all types of data. Wearables have some promise, but they are expensive and often poorly adopted because of the privacy perception and comfort. Less invasive technology such as video event capture is extremely promising. For the EHS space, the promise of emergent technology is exciting. The increase in data means a much better base for predictive and prescriptive technologies to work in a timeline that is useful. However, the industry is still struggling with strong mobile adoption in the space, therefore, more advanced technology investments are hard to come by.
In NAEM’s recent trends research, EHS&S leaders highlighted the difficulty of managing the massive quantities of data that emerging technologies often produce. In some cases, technologies generate data that is essentially wasted — consistently collected, but never analyzed. In the case of smart sensors, 27% of companies said they do not analyze the data they collect from smart sensors.
Intelex’s Bryden Waggott highlighted this difficulty in the context of building “an automated capture exposure alarm and exposure incident system for a major oil and gas producer. In the above example, a gas sensor can capture readings every second or minute. This volume of data is not all valuable to Intelex, but some aggregated or max value is. To solve this problem, Intelex worked to define this [threshold] and ensure the technology was able to subscribe to the definition.”
How do you help EHS leaders make the cases for adopting emerging technology? What do you think are the most compelling reasons companies should think hard about investing in these new technologies?
Emerging technology in the EHS space means more accurate, high volume of data capture, which is historically an issue. If there is a case to be made for emerging technologies, it's that more data means more insights which will lead to safer, less impactful operations. If there is a proven technology that will lead to safer operations, it's really a no-brainer for EHS leaders.
Smart sensors, drones, mobile applications and more are all revolutionizing EHS&S data collection, program design and operations in real time. Based on quantitative benchmarking data and insights from EHS&S technology leaders, this report documents which emerging technologies are really being adopted and why, and how companies budget for new tech and software. Download the report today at naem.org/tech-trends.
About the ExpertBryden is Vice President of Solution Management, where he oversees the design and creation of Intelex’s Environmental, Health, Safety and Quality applications. As part of the product organization, Bryden contributes to the overall product vision and strategy though a strong connection with the EHSQ market. Bryden has been with Intelex for over 15 years and started out in the sales department as an Account Manager. Throughout his career, he has played a vital role in the business development and product strategy of the company. Bryden’s expertise spans the full breadth of the Intelex platform, solutions and developing deep understanding of ever-evolving customer needs.
This article is produced by NAEM and sponsored by Intelex. The opinions and perspectives disclosed in this article should not be viewed as an endorsement by NAEM.