Soletanche Bachy International, a world leader in foundations and geotechnical engineering is transforming health and safety management using technology from SimplyVideo, the connected worker collaboration platform for extended reality. By equipping field operatives with RealWear Assisted Reality headsets and connecting them to offices over the globe, this innovation allows site visits and inspections to take place without travel. Soletanche Bachy specialists are now able to join operatives on the ground at construction sites across the world, virtually, from anywhere.
A specialist subsidiary of VINCI Construction, Soletanche Bachy International develops high-performance geotechnical solutions that include deep foundations using piles and micropiles, retaining diaphragm walls, and reinforcing solutions. These essential engineering works provide the foundations for building anything from tunnels to roads, airports, dams, railways, ports, and buildings.
Soletanche Bachy operates globally, completing 4000 projects each year as far afield as New Zealand, Singapore, and Ecuador. The management of safety traditionally required regular site inspections, but with the global pandemic, all travelling was quickly curtailed, creating a particular challenge. To maintain an element of control, Soletanche Bachy International needed a solution that could break down the barriers that the pandemic had imposed. The company turned to the latest technology from SimplyVideo to allow virtual site visits to take place in a world without travel.
“With global travel restrictions being imposed last year, the pandemic exacerbated the issues related to health & safety,” says Stuart Brooks, Health, Safety, Security and Environmental Manager (HSSE) for Soletanche Bachy International Major Projects. “Ultimately, SimplyVideo was the only platform that offered what we considered to be a workable solution – we needed more than just a remote expert tool; we needed a cross-reality collaboration platform and that’s what SimplyVideo does so well.”
In the field, Soletanche Bachy uses head-mounted devices that incorporate a microphone, display, and speakers for complete hands-free working. According to Brooks, one device in particular has been a real game-changer; the RealWear HMT-1 head-mounted Android tablet. The rugged unit will survive drops onto concrete and provides easy voice-based operation in noisy environments. The display in the boom actually appears to the eye as a 7-inch screen, offering multi-language speech recognition and 4G connectivity.
SimplyVideo also gives Soletanche Bachy a virtual mentoring tool allowing onsite training of less experienced workers. Those with greater expertise can join in virtually, rather than in person, and help them using their greater knowledge and experience. “The beauty of the SimplyVideo solution is that we can bring more expertise together; something we simply couldn’t do before. The platform gives us a clear visual representation of what’s really happening on site.”
The Soletanche Bachy system was delivered in partnership with the East Sussex-based independent IT supplier SystemActive, a SimplyVideo and RealWear reseller.