Tipping a hat to the IoT

MOQdigital gets its teeth into integration

Right now, somewhere at any number of remote locations around Australia, there’s an employee of international engineering firm Laing O’Rourke walking around in a hard hat.

Nothing strange about that, except that this particular hat is a smart hat that comes complete with various sensors that record things like the ambient temperature and the worker’s skin temperature and heart rate, along with the GPS location plus an inbuilt vibrating motion or beeper which activates when the site might have to be closed down in times of emergency.

The reason is worker safety and the smart hat is part of a trial being conducted for the company by MOQdigital, a digital integration company formed through the merger last year of two highly successful organisations – Breeze and Tech Effect.

“We’re in the business of integrating software and systems,” says Mick Badran, MOQ’s chief technology officer.  “So we tend to go where that leads us.  We have a unique proposition of being able to walk into a business and say you don’t need to throw away that system that you’ve invested in, we can integrate it with your new web platform, your new mobile platform and you’ll get the best out of both worlds.

“So along the way, we’ve gone into any sector that makes sense for us really and where the particular problems are.  So from things like online gaming, so the Tom Waterhouse or the William Hills of the world, through to financial sectors, insurance, medical, hospital, dental, mining, and education.  It’s really whoever’s got a need to integrate and build a smarter solution.  By integrating, you’re re-using the best of what you’ve got and you can then throw out the bits that aren’t working for you and find alternatives.”

Laing O’Rourke’s is a pilot program that once implemented will allow the company to make immediate decision around the safety of its employees based on the data which collected from the hats.

“What they needed was to be able to bring that data back to a central data store and then be able to report through Power BI or through analytics and be able to see how they’re working, how they’re tracking. Our software enables the devices to be connected through to the internet on the power of Azure.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=7f_qdqBjUAw

“What Azure brings for us is an incredible set of functionality and capability.  So we get to expand our toolbox tenfold when Azure’s in town – there’s just some amazingly different services available.

“And probably the other compelling fact or statistic around Azure is that they release a major new feature every two days. So as a builder, as a developer and integrator, it’s just far too much of a compelling platform to ignore.”

Apart from its work with Laing O’Rourke, MOQ has also embraced the world of the Internet of Things (IoT) through its work with Dental Corporation, which is a part of the global healthcare giant Bupa. By connecting around 320 practices throughout Europe, the UK and Australasia they have been able to drive efficiencies and gain an extraordinary amount of valuable data through integrating disparate applications and devices.

“They get insights into what regions are doing.  So they’ve been able to pick the most profitable combination of items like when a de-scale, clean & polish is performed with teeth whitening.  They can instantly see whether their marketing is working.  It gives them greater visibility into their business that they’ve just never had before,” Mick says.

“Without Microsoft’s Azure IoT suite, it’s a massive investment to build out the toolbox. And for us it’s not about reinventing the wheel; it’s about picking the best tool and value-add to develop with.

“If someone’s already done it, such as Microsoft in Azure, then dollars can be spent on the doing part and not the building part. Generating algorithms, performing data modelling and working intelligently with the data to bringing it to life.”

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