Mar 9, 2021

Costain selects Eave as hearing protection partner in UK

Dominic Ellis
3 min
Costain partners with Eave to provide hearing protection to staff working on the enlargement of the A1 between Scotswood and North Brunton in UK
Costain partners with Eave to provide hearing protection to staff working on the enlargement of the A1 between Scotswood and North Brunton in UK...

Costain has partnered with Eave to provide next-generation hearing protection to staff working on the enlargement of the A1 between Scotswood and North Brunton

The project is part of a package of highways development schemes awarded to Costain by Highways England under its Regional Delivery Partnership (RDP) contract model and forms part of the ‘RDP North’ and also includes projects to develop the A1 between Birtley and Coalhouse and the A1 in Northumberland. 

Following a pilot at the Scotswood to North Brunton works, Costain plans to roll-out Eave’s hearing protection system across its three RDP North sites. 

The A1 Scotswood to North Brunton scheme covers Junctions 74 to 79 of the A1 Newcastle Gateshead Western Bypass, an 8.5km stretch of road which currently operates as a dual two-lane carriageway with lane gain/drop sections. Costain has been tasked with constructing an extra running lane on each carriageway and removing the gain/drop transitions between junctions 74 and 77. 

The nature of the project means that work sites are linear; Costain operatives are currently working at night and progressing from north to south at a rapid pace, often completing 80-100m of central reservation upgrades and 800-900m of resurfacing per shift. 

Eave’s hearing protection system protects operatives undertaking highways work, and suited to Costain’s work on the A1, where ambient noise levels are high, worksites are constantly moving and potential hazards are shifting all the time. 

Eave’s system consists of smart ear defenders, which continuously collect data on environmental noise and the wearer’s exposure to noise, beacons which work with the ear defenders to map worksite noise, and an online platform for viewing the data and gathering insights. 

Costain will use these insights to protect and educate over-exposed workers, adjust working methods, and remove noise hazards at source. Eave’s FocusLite ear defenders also promote situational awareness by allowing essential sounds to reach the wearer’s ears, even as harmful noise is blocked; this capability is absolutely critical to the safety of highways workers, who face the ever-present risk of incursions from passing traffic. 

Costain’s decision to use Eave hearing protection reflects its commitment to Highways England’s ‘raising the bar’ health and safety initiative - and its corporate mission to “improve people’s lives by deploying integrated smart solutions to meet urgent infrastructure needs”. 

Mal Shiels, Framework SHE Manager at Costain, commented: “We will always do everything we can to maintain the health and safety of our most valuable asset - the people working on our sites. The data we get from Eave is invaluable, because it allows us to identify where and why operatives are being exposed to harmful noise, and design effective interventions to stop dangerous situations from recurring. The Eave system is going to transform hearing protection at Costain, but even if our partnership prevents just one person from having a deterioration in their hearing, it will have been a success.”

Data shows that one in four noise-exposed construction workers has a material hearing impairment and one in three wear no hearing protection.

David Greenberg, CEO of Eave, said after decades of failure, it is clear that traditional hearing protection devices like ear plugs and passive ear defenders will never be an effective solution to the scourge of occupational deafness in the construction industry. 

"If contractors want to effectively protect their workers from noise-induced hearing loss they need a system that protects and monitors at the same time," he said.

"Eave’s system offers best-in-class hearing protection while automatically and continuously gathering data on site noise, worker exposure and headset effectiveness - and delivering a host of other benefits like improved situational awareness into the bargain. 

"That’s why we’re seeing strong demand from contractors like Costain, who are genuinely committed to preserving the welfare of their workforce and want to stamp out occupational deafness in the construction sector for good."

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Jun 14, 2021

XYZ Reality receives £20m to develop Assisted Reality

Dominic Ellis
3 min
XYZ Reality to use funding led by Octopus Ventures to springboard into USA and automatically report issues through Assisted Reality

XYZ Reality has announced a £20m investment round led by Octopus Ventures.

Founded in 2017, XYZ Reality aims to "revolutionise" the construction sector with its Engineering-Grade Augmented Reality (AR) solution, Holosite.

Designed to enable an on time and on budget delivery of construction projects, by eliminating building errors, HoloSite has been available to select customers through an early access programme and has already been used on projects totalling a value of over £1.5bn in the last year. 

With approximately 98% of construction megaprojects facing cost overruns or delays and 7-11% of project costs being spent on correcting errors, XYZ Reality’s purpose-built integrated AR solution directly addresses these issues.

With its safety certified AR hardhat, cloud platform and in-built proprietary software, Holosite accurately positions high fidelity 3D design models on construction sites, enabling teams to build it right, first time. The technology system has been used on complex construction projects including data centres, pharmaceutical facilities and airports.     

This funding will be used to accelerate the company’s ambition of transforming projects by preparing for HoloSite’s commercial launch in the USA and continuing investment in strengthening research and development. The company is also growing its London team to include key hires across technology, manufacturing, sales and marketing.

David Mitchell, Founder and CEO of XYZ Reality, said developing its engineering-Grade AR solution helping construction teams identify errors in real-time is just the start.

"The next phase is Assisted Reality, where our spatial computing technology will have the intelligence to automatically detect and report issues in the field. And ultimately, the goal is builders building from holograms. Our vision of developing world changing products aligns with Octopus Ventures’ mission of investing in companies that are powering the next industrial revolution. We look forward to building history.”

The latest round of funding is led by Octopus Ventures, one of the largest and most active venture investors in Europe, known for its commitment of investing in companies and founders that are changing the world. Octopus Ventures has a strong track record, spanning investment in health, fintech, consumer, B2B software, and deep tech. This includes WaveOptics, one of Octopus Ventures’ early investments in Augmented Reality, which was recently acquired by Snap Inc. 

Rebecca Hunt, early-stage investor at Octopus Ventures, said: "We’ve always invested in entrepreneurs leading industry change and XYZ is doing just that. It's solving a massive problem that costs the construction industry billions every year, using its Engineering-Grade Augmented Reality solution to spearhead a shift in the sector’s approach. The founding team of David, Umar and Murray have deep domain and technical expertise, which we believe makes XYZ uniquely placed to drive this transformation.”

XYZ Reality also announces a new partnership with Mace, for the construction of a hyper-scale data centre in Europe. With speed to market being particularly essential for mission critical builds, HoloSite’s AR technology will have a significant role in supporting an accurate and time effective build for Mace, which last week appointed Jon McElroy its new Managing Director for International Technology.  

Mace Technical Director, Stephen Henley, said: “Mace has built a reputation of redefining the boundaries of ambition, always bringing efficiency, innovation and responsibility to our projects. With the implementation of XYZ’s groundbreaking AR system, we continue to be committed to delivering projects faster, safer and better than ever before.” 

Five years ago, Heather Bellini of Goldman Sachs Research expected virtual and augmented reality to become an $80 billion market by 2025.

But according to new research by global tech market advisory firm ABI Research, nearly 28 million augmented and mixed reality smart glasses will ship in 2026, while the total global AR/MR market will surpass $175 billion in the same year.

"Major tech players across hardware, software, and services look familiar in the consumer space, contributing to strong and consistent overall growth," says Eric Abbruzzese, Research Director for ABI Research. "Those big tech names, with active investment and product ranging from already available, to announced, to all-but-announced, are creating a consumer AR market that will be dynamic and welcoming rather than struggling and immature."

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