Case Study:
Soletanche Bachy International

How SimplyVideo worked with foundation and geotechnical engineering giants Soletanche Bachy International to improve their Health and Safety using Extended Reality.

About Soletanche Bachy International

Industry: Construction

Use case: Remote site inspection – Health & Safety

Company Size: Enterprise

Hardware: RealWear HMT-1

Software: SimplyVideo Platform

Soletanche Bachy International is a world leader in foundations and soil technologies. They develop, high-performance geotechnical solutions that include deep foundations using piles and micropiles, retaining diaphragm walls and reinforcement.

These essential engineering works provide the foundations for building anything from tunnels to roads, airports, dams, railways, ports, and buildings.

''We needed something that could break down the barriers that the pandemic had imposed, and it needed to be extremely visual. Not only to allow us to see how things are being done, but to give people the ability to take stock of how they are doing things.''
Stuart Brooks HSSE Manager at Soletanche Bachy International

Fast-tracking new safety protocols to reduce the need for travel

Soletanche Bachy operates all over the world. This creates numerous challenges for their management team in that they have to consider various time zones, languages, and legislative requirements, as well as a lack of consistency when it comes to each country’s telecommunications infracstructure.

These issues are part and parcel for any international operation, but it becomes even more of a problem when dealing with safety in the construction industry.

In the past, safety management techniques required regular site inspections but, with the Coronavirus pandemic putting a halt on all travel, a remote solution became an overnight necessity.

'Simply Safety' - Using AR to
remotely set new standards

Stuart Brooks, the Health, Safety, Security and Environmental Manager (HSSE) for Soletanche Bachy International Major Projects, turned to the latest technology from SimplyVideo, to allow site visits to take place in a world without travel. Coincidentally, they called the initiative ‘Simply Safety’.

He noted that a global issue throughout the construction sector lay in the tendency to gauge performance against statistics.

“Too often, senior management relies heavily on statistical analysis to assess the performance of a project. This is dangerous and often misleading, especially if that project is using stats to under-report the magnitude of the situation or under-report the frequency/severity of incidents in order to maintain positive external perceptions. Organisational silence is a killer! We feel it’s imperative to be honest and transparent – and be extremely visual in the way we manage and present performance.

In order maintain an element of control, they needed something to work despite the barriers that the pandemic had imposed. They also needed a solution that could be used as a learning tool to mentor remote staff, and it needed to be extremely visual, to both see how things are being done, and to grant individuals the ability to take stock of how they are doing things.

The future of onsite working

Incorporating a microphone, speakers, camera, and a small display that sits just below the eyeline of the wearer, the RealWear HMT-1 head-mounted tablet offers a number of key uses when combined with SimplyVideo’s communications software. They can capture site visits, provide quality assurance and quality control (QAQC), and be used for component inspections for plant and equipment – all remotely.

“If there is a problem, equipment experts from any of our locations worldwide can join in and see for themselves, enabling them to advise on how to resolve it.

Previously it was not uncommon to fly someone out from London to Singapore to resolve a technical problem. The pandemic has changed the way we work, but it was a change that was always on the cards – the pandemic has simply accelerated that change.”

Similarly, they see SimplyVideo as an innovative virtual mentoring tool, allowing onsite training of less experienced workers. Those with greater knowledge and experience can join in virtually, rather than in person, and help them using their greater knowledge and experience.

Wearable devices are no longer seen as just toys, they are now genuinely useful tools. Soletanche Bachy sees the technology as providing a vital catalyst to drastically improving transparency and encouraging more dialogue.

“In choosing SimplyVideo we took a close look at all the potential solutions; the pandemic had accelerated the use of commercial video conferencing platforms such as Teams and Zoom.

However, we soon discovered some serious drawbacks with these platforms particularly around security, bandwidth, ease-of-use and interoperability.

Ultimately, SimplyVideo was the only platform that offered what we considered to be a workable solution for Soletanche Bachy.

We needed more than just a remote expert tool; we needed a cross-reality collaboration platform and that’s what SimplyVideo does so well.”

Easy safety management for a worldwide operation

Before selecting SimplyVideo, Soletanch made an exhaustive assessment of other solutions. Some argued that they could use videoconferencing tools like Teams. However, it became clear that the alternatives were not powerful enough, nor did they provide the consistency required for a worldwide operation.

“What really struck us was the openness of everyone at SimplyVideo and a clear desire to listen and understand our needs. We knew introducing new technology would be a challenge – especially within a large company with natural resistance to change. Itwas therefore important to find a company that would work in close partnership with us and SimplyVideo have proven to do just that.”

During the pandemic, work on site has generally continued in the construction industry, but without this virtual technology it would have been very difficult to manage important tasks such as health and safety.

Soletanche Bachy are just scratching the surface of the potential uses of this exciting new technology. If one positivehascomeoutofthepandemic,it’sthatthey’ve found a better way to work. “Once life gets back to normal, we’ll return to site – perhaps less often – but managing safety will simply be easier and better than before as we have a tool in place to improve visibility, dialogue and collaboration.”

''Without this virtual technology it would have been very difficult to manage important tasks such as health and safety''
Stuart Brooks HSSE Manager at Soletanche Bachy International

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