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Voxel, a San Francisco-based artificial intelligence (AI)-powered, workplace safety company, has secured $15 million in new funding. The company uses computer vision and AI to identify hazards, risky behaviors and operational inefficiencies across workplaces.
The company has grown quickly by decreasing onsite injuries by upwards of 80% and increasing operational productivity by more than 20% using existing cameras. The new funding will help increase the number of safety and operational hazards that the software can support and scale to additional customer facilities.
Voxel’s analytics help sites identify operational inefficiencies and design policies to prevent future issues. Once an event such as a spill, speeding vehicle or ergonomics issue is identified, a real-time alert is sent to onsite personnel who can take immediate action. These proactive measures allow businesses to significantly reduce worker’s compensation and general liability costs while improving their operations.
Making an impact
Voxel’s team is led by CEO Alex Senemar, who previously cofounded Sherbit, an AI-powered remote health monitoring system for hospitals (acquired in 2018), as well as cofounders Anurag Kanungo, Harishma Dayanidhi and Troy Carlson.
“We felt that the monetary incentives in healthcare made it difficult to develop technology that positively impacted people’s health,” Senemar told VentureBeat. “We looked at opportunities to prevent injuries and accidents before the healthcare system was involved and realized if we applied our experience with computer vision to safety, we could make a huge impact.”
The company is looking at ways enterprises could use the technology to lower their insurance premiums by helping teams identify and mitigate safety risks while also respecting privacy. Voxel does not use facial identification or person-based recognition to mitigate privacy concerns.
“This has helped our customers focus on improving safety culture rather than using the tool as a big-brother camera system,” Senemar said. Once a safety hazard is identified, the system triages events in real time, so onsite personnel can receive notifications for urgent risks or review them in the application later.
Turning big data into safer spaces
Markets and Markets predicts the global workplace safety sector will grow from $12.1 billion in 2020 to $19.9 billion by 2025. It notes that the market growth can be attributed to the integration of big data as a predictive tool for risk management and new trends such as smart personal protective equipment (PPE), intelligence clothing, autonomous vehicles and smart safety.
Voxel’s competitors include wearables companies like Soter, ProGlove, Strongarm and Kinetic Wearable and vision AI companies like Drishti, Invisible AI and Intenseye. The wearable vendors are optimized for rich ergonomic data, but require workers to continuously wear and recharge them. Both Drishti and Invisible AI use dedicated cameras to improve worker productivity and operations.
A key Voxel advantage is supporting existing surveillance cameras, which lowers installation costs and speeds deployment.
“We believe computer vision and existing security camera infrastructure are better aligned to improve workplace safety and operations given the larger scope of risks they can identify and the lack of additional hardware requirements,” said Senemar.
Down the line, Voxels technology might also help safety planning at the facilities level using simulation and digital twins.
“It’s still early to tell, but as we capture more interactions of people in varying environments, it would be interesting to explore opportunities to use digital twins to improve the layout of work environments for safety prevention,” said Senemar.
Eclipse Ventures led the $15 million series A funding round with MTech and World Innovation Labs’ participation. This latest round of funding brings total equity raised to $18 million.
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