Safety-centric and Smart Outdoor Workplace: A New Research Direction and Its Technical Challenges

by   Zheng Li, et al.

Despite the fact that outside is becoming the frontier of indoor workplaces, a large amount of real-world work like road construction has to be done by outdoor human activities in open areas. Given the promise of the smart workplace in various aspects including productivity and safety, we decided to employ smart workplace technologies for a collaborative outdoor project both to improve the work efficiency and to reduce the worker injuries. Nevertheless, our trials on smart workplace implementation have encountered a few problems ranging from the theoretical confusion among different stakeholders, to the technical difficulties in extending underground devices' lifespan. This triggers our rethinking of and discussions about "smart workplace". Eventually, considering the unique characteristics of outdoor work (e.g., more sophisticated workflows and more safety-related situations than office work), we argue that "safety-centric and smart outdoor workplace" deserves dedicated research attentions and efforts under the umbrella discipline of smart environment. In addition, the identified technical challenges can in turn drive different research dimensions of such a distinguishing topic.


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