For maritime and logistics companies to stay competitive, the automation of insights is more important than ever. So how can facility managers leverage emerging technologies to monitor productivity, safety and security in a more efficient way?
This is where Lebanon-based start-up BeamBot comes in.
In this Alumni Feature, founder & CEO Adib Al Ghossein discusses how smart surveillance can enhance productivity and safety for heavy industries around the world.
How did you get into maritime/logistics, and subsequently found BeamBot?
I have a Bachelor in Industrial Engineering with Minor in Business from the Lebanese American University. I enrolled in MBA classes while joining an incubation program in Lebanon.
As an industrial engineer, I learned to optimize operations and processes. The majority of examples that I studied in class were about maritime industries.
I realised that there was much room for improvement in many industrial operations, which was why I wanted build innovations around this. My ergonomic professor was also a huge influence and played a big role in encouraging me.
BeamBot was born when I was selected to be in the Stars of Science TV show program, a Qatar foundation initiative in Doha. We then became a finalist in many regional competitions, such as Arabnet and the United Nations Development Programme. In a country without economic and political stability, it was difficult to get grants but we managed to secure one to develop our idea further.
We were then selected to join other incubation and acceleration programs in the region, before joining PortXL Singapore as the founding cohort. Since then, our small company has participated in exhibitions and demo days in Singapore, Qatar, Dubai and Beirut.
How does BeamBot’s technology help industries?
Common challenges faced by large facilities across sectors include: high labour cost, low resource productivity, and lax safety and security processes. This is why industrial facilities need an intelligent and easily deployable solution that optimizes operations.
We have built an smart software platform that collects real-time surveillance data, and transforms it into actionable insights.
Our AI-powered algorithm is compatible with any CCTV, and this data is aggregated into the BeamBot dashboard, which gives you a full overview of the operations.
By using BeamBot, facility managers can utilize space and machinery more effectively, reduce manpower costs, and monitor safety hazards. In addition, the system is easy to deploy and requires very little investment to make huge productivity changes.
What are some specific case studies when it comes to productivity, safety and security?
Be it in maritime, ports and terminals, logistics, airports, metro stations, construction sites, or other industrial areas, companies can make huge improvements to their operations by tracking assets autonomously.
In terms of warehouse productivity, BeamBot can monitor station workers and assets, such as forklifts. The data collected can then be analyzed, allowing managers to plan for better workstation productivity and floor utilization.
At hazardous construction or industrial sites, the software detects workers who are not wearing their PPE (Personal Protection Equipment). Managers are then automatically alerted and can instantly rectify the situation. This decreases safety issues.
BeamBot also enhances security by powering autonomous checkpoints via our tracking technology. Therefore, less manpower is needed.
There are so many more applications across sectors, and we believe our technology can truly help companies make an impact on productivity and operation costs.
What were some challenges you faced as a start-up founder, and how did you overcome them?
Initially, our technology had so many applications that we struggled to identify a space to focus on, which is a good and bad thing!
Since our inception, we’ve pivoted from the original idea of BeamBot as a hardware-cum-software solution for warehouse energy optimization and management.
In our old concept, the device would be integrated with an AI-powered software. This allows for the detection of moving assets in order to turn on/off the lights automatically.
Companies were interested in this solution, but we quickly realised that there were many issues. For example, hardware needs to be certified according to each country’s standards, which might mean that models need to be calibrated by country to meet those requirements.
In addition, having a hardware component slows down deployment and increases installation costs.
So we thought: CCTVs are a common asset in all industrial facilities, so why not build a software that could be integrated into these existing equipment? We learnt to adapt and evolve to suit market needs, by using the same technology but serving different and better purposes.
This new idea was much more well-received and we are currently in talks with corporates to pilot the BeamBot solution.
From a start-up perspective, what are key challenges when it comes to piloting a solution with a big corporate company?
One key challenge would be access to data.
AI-powered software requires a big input of past data to identify patterns and enhance the algorithm’s ability to detect similar incidences in the future. However, it’s not easy for a big corporate company to share data with a start-up, so we need to come up with a ‘Plan B’ if the management is unable do that.
The next challenge is process time and communication.
Usually, many departments are involved in a single project due to the size of the company, so a start-up needs to be patient. We also had to meet different stakeholders from various departments, which meant that we needed to be clear and concise with our solution. This aspect of communication is important to maintain a transparent and good working relationship.
What’s next for BeamBot?
Our software and dashboard are now fully developed and ready for deployment, so we are in the midst of discussing pilot projects with 3 interested companies. We’re also embarking on a marketing campaign and our next funding round, so exciting times ahead!