Editor, Safety & Health Practitioner

Author Bio ▼

Ian joined Informa (formerly UBM) in 2018 as the Editor of Safety & Health Practitioner. Ian studied journalism at university before spending seven years in online fantasy gaming.

Prior to moving to Informa, Ian worked in business to business trade print media, in the automotive sector. He was Online Editor and then moved on to be the Editor of two publications aimed at independent automotive technicians and parts distributors.

November 6, 2019

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Arco Innovation Award

Intelligence and reality in safety

AI, AR, MR, VR. Although similar sounding, each acronym refers to a different and distinct form of technology and they each form the first two categories of the Arco Innovation Award finalists.

Software and AI Solutions

Artificial Intelligence (AI) – the simulation of human intelligence in machines – is firmly entrenched in new technology as it develops.

Using complex, pre-determined algorithms, AI software can monitor and analyse data, images, machinery and even humans. This offers us many opportunities for use in the workplace. For instance, AI technology is able to constantly analyse a worker’s posture or movements as they undertake a specific task or pinpoint their location in relation to a hazard in the workplace. This could prevent work-related musculoskeletal disorders from developing and in some instances, easily prevent an accident.

Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality – separating them out

virtual realityDespite all having ‘reality’ in common, artificial reality, mixed reality and virtual reality are three very different forms of immersive technology. While VR can take users anywhere in the world, AR and MR are capable of bringing anything in the world to them.

In health and safety, VR in particular is a transformative tool for improving training. Wearing a VR headset places the user into an environment that replicates a scenario they may encounter as part of their job, in order to interact with it. Learning how to work in hazardous conditions, such as at height or in confined spaces – without having to physically experience it in real life until the user is ready – will have a profound impact on workplace training and safety.

AR and MR’s ability to superimpose information over an object or within an environment can greatly enhance industrial training. For example, AR and MR allow workers to access tasks or operational instructions by overlaying them on a particular object or location. Doing this completely removes the burden of memorising a complex set of instructions or plans. It also lessens the risk of human error and furthermore, the risk of an accident occurring.

AR and MR also offer benefits for industrial maintenance, allowing workers or engineers to access and project information about the piece of equipment they are working on in real time.


The Arco Innovation Award aims to drive innovation in the health and safety sector. A specialist agency has identified 36 start-ups who will go through a detailed assessment, the first 13 finalists can be seen here.

As part of the launch, SHP visited Arco’s Headquarters in Hull to sit down with Director of Marketing, Adam Young to find out more about the competition and how it works.

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