construction site surveilance keeps works safe on tall builds

How do AI and Video Improve Construction Site Security?

February 27, 2023 - Emily Newton

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AI and video cameras can transform construction site security through intelligent automation, resulting in cost savings and improved safety. Conventional site security methods require a person to review security footage manually. AI can automate this process and detect potential security risks in real-time. How does this benefit construction teams?

24/7 Active Security Monitoring

The most apparent benefit of implementing AI and video monitoring in construction site security is 24/7, 365 smart surveillance. Around-the-clock recording on security cameras is nothing new, but a human security expert normally needs to review that footage manually. With AI, this is no longer necessary. AI algorithms can use image recognition to actively process security footage and immediately detect potential threats or dangers. 

With AI surveillance footage processing, construction sites no longer need around-the-clock security officers. This makes site security much more convenient and cost-effective, reducing on-site expenses. AI monitoring doesn’t compromise effectiveness either.

AI image recognition — also known as computer vision — uses machine learning to detect particular objects in video or photo captures. For instance, someone could train an algorithm to recognize construction workers and brightly colored hard hats. This algorithm could then use its image recognition training to identify construction workers without hard hats.

The same methodology applies to security. The algorithm is constantly scanning video footage for key shapes or object indicators, usually as a matter of tracking assets and recognizing anomalies. For example, the AI might detect an anomaly if a new object — such as a trespasser — appears at the top of a security fence. If something like this is detected at any time, the algorithm can trigger an alert for security personnel.

Materials and Equipment Theft Prevention

Materials and equipment theft is a serious concern in construction site security today. Supply chain challenges have increased the value of crucial materials, making them more tempting theft targets. Additionally, construction equipment that can be easily swiped from a site — such as valuable power tools — can be expensive to replace if stolen.

More intelligent site security can prevent equipment theft, making AI video monitoring a valuable investment. Using computer vision, AI algorithms can recognize unusual content in video footage, such as someone accessing a materials stockpile after hours. If theft is considered a high risk, the AI video monitoring system can even tie into the larger site security infrastructure. This means detection of a potential robbery could trigger a break-in alert for law enforcement in addition to construction site security personnel. 

Additional tools like IoT devices can make AI site security even more effective. By applying IoT tracking tags to valuable equipment, site managers can use geofencing to prevent theft. Geofencing involves creating virtual boundaries for a specific device. Once the device senses it has left a designated safe area, it triggers an alert. Site managers can create geofences around their sites so they are notified right away if any equipment leaves the site, even by accident.

It is important to note both AI and IoT devices require some minimum cybersecurity measures to be effective. IoT devices usually have weak default security settings, so additional protections like multi-factor authentication are imperative. Other types of AI can actually help secure these devices through automated network monitoring.

Automated Trespasser Detection

Arson, vandalism and general trespassing are among the most common security concerns in the construction industry. There are a variety of possible motives for trespassing with various risk factors.

For instance, teenagers might try to sneak into a construction site on a dare or prank without any intent to steal equipment. This can be a serious safety risk for the trespassers, though. On the other hand, someone might trespass to intentionally cause damage, such as an angry former employee attempting arson.

All forms of trespassing are dangerous for construction companies and the trespassers, as well as the surrounding community. So, agile and responsive site security is crucial for ensuring safety for everyone. Combining AI and video cameras is a great way to catch and deter trespassing.

Construction companies can deter the least-risky trespassers by simply advertising that they have AI security cameras in use. More serious criminals are often not frightened by the presence of security cameras, but simpler pranksters will think twice if they know security cameras are active.

Luckily, AI can help catch more dangerous trespassers. Image recognition algorithms can be trained to pick up movement in a construction site after hours and around site borders. Night vision cameras will likely be required to accomplish this, but it’s possible. Any suspicious movement can trigger the cameras to start actively recording footage and send an alert to security personnel. The cameras can continue using image recognition to track the trespasser’s movements around the site.

Once law enforcement arrives, they can use the footage to help ID the suspect. It is worth noting, however, that AI facial recognition algorithms have a history of accuracy issues, so it may be best to stick to general image recognition. 

Simpler Flexibility and Scheduling

Finally, AI and video cameras can simplify scheduling and flexibility by streamlining construction site security. This may help resolve the hiring challenges many construction companies are facing today.

With conventional site security systems that require manual monitoring, scheduling for work hours is somewhat limited. It is only safe for people to work on site when security personnel are present. With AI monitoring around the clock, this is less of a concern. So, construction teams would be free to schedule a late, early or night shift if they had a group of workers who would benefit from those hours.

Surveys show scheduling flexibility is a top priority for young people in the workplace. So, the option for a greater variety of shifts on-site could help attract more young people to construction careers.

Increased site safety and scheduling flexibility could be particularly helpful for attracting women to construction careers. Since they often have to prioritize childcare, regular daytime work hours can be a poor fit for employees who are mothers. Offering more flexible hours without a higher nighttime security risk can make construction careers much more rewarding for women. 

Construction Site Security With AI and Video Cameras

Combining AI and video cameras can revolutionize construction site security. These two technologies have other uses in construction, but they can result in intelligent, around-the-clock site monitoring together. By automating site security surveillance, construction teams can reduce expenses and improve safety. Smart security systems also help deter trespassing and prevent theft, protecting the surrounding community and construction workers. 

Revolutionized is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commision. Learn more here.


Emily Newton

Emily Newton is a technology and industrial journalist and the Editor in Chief of Revolutionized. She enjoys reading and writing about how technology is changing the world around us.

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