Top 5 Health & Safety technology trends to watch out for in 2020

His medical checkup only took a few minutes, and Derek Demun was anxious to get on with it. The one-time high school surf champion and big-time snowboarder fell off a roof nearly a decade ago and broke his back, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down.

But, thanks to technology, he can now do all but impossible: walk, using a robotic exoskeleton. Demun activates it by shifting his weight; sensors and small motors move his legs, mimicking a natural gait, while his upper body catches up with the help of crutches.

Health & Safety Technology Trends

The rate at which technology is advancing is incomprehensible – From demographic changes and new regulations to innovative technology and medical advancements, there is a lot to explore.

Here are some of the top trends to watch for:

AI and Machine Learning

As the world population continues to age and grow, artificial intelligence and machine learning offer new and better ways to identify disease, diagnose conditions, crowdsource and develop treatment plans, monitor health epidemics, create efficiencies in medical research and clinical trials, and make operations more efficient to handle the increased demands they face today. By 2020, data will double every 73 days. Artificial intelligence algorithms powered by recent advances in computational power learn from the data and can predict the probability of an event. Blockchain technology is a great example of how AI is revolutionizing the financial institution, and this technology can extend to all industries.


When it comes to life or death, would you trust a robot with yours? Currently, collaborative robots—such as the da Vinci surgical robot— are already assisting humans with tasks in the operating room. However, the potential for robots in healthcare expands beyond surgical uses. With tremendous growth expected in the industry—the global medical robotics market is expected to reach $20 billion by 2023—there’s no doubt that robots used in healthcare will continue to conduct more varied tasks. Extending this into the industry, the application of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) for risk management and regulatory compliance is helping organizations to support components of compliance processes in a cost-effective, flexible and timely manner – far beyond what current systems can offer. Using RDA is akin to having an army of interns doing those repetitive tasks 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, without complaint. These workers are however software bots – or what is now being called digital workers. That is the essence of robotic process automation (RPA), a simple, but powerful, technology tool that growing numbers of organisations are using to streamline compliance costs while liberating talented, experienced employees to solve more challenging problems that require human judgment. Across organisations, RPA enables organisations of all sizes to efficiently scale operations with minimal impact on existing business processes.

Extended Reality (Virtual Augmented and Mixed Reality)

Extended reality is not just for entertainment; it’s being used for important purposes in health and safety risk and compliance. Risk and compliance functions will move towards a self-learning, intelligent, and optimized framework, through the adoption of new tools and technologies, such as virtual reality (VR). Top organization Executives have identified that compliance technology transformation will be the top spending priority over the next 12 months (57%) and the next three years (51%). Many risks and compliance departments are already experimenting with AI-powered technologies to streamline functions, while others are considering VR for different purposes such as a training tool. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia, for example, revealed that its RegTech pilot, which uses natural language processing and artificial intelligence to convert regulatory texts into compliance obligations, achieved 95% accuracy. Chatbot for Code of Conduct uses virtual reality and gamification to train employees to understand the required policies and highlight the ramifications of not being compliant. It also saves giving employees a lengthy document or forcing them to search for answers.

Extended reality can help risk and compliance departments address the current challenges of regulatory compliance and risk management. For example, compliance agents can click through a 3-D environment which represents the results of augmented surveillance of employee emails, chats via instant messaging and calls. Rather than having to dig through data in more traditional ways to possible violations, the extended reality technology assists in highlighting potential problems.

As the tide of regulatory change approaches, risk and compliance functions should look to technologies to provide game-changing strategies to deal with recurring challenges. Taking a proactive attitude toward emerging digital solutions and creating an agile model for an adaptive workforce will ensure that organisations are ready for what’s next.

After all, it’s not about the change that’s coming, it’s about how you can efficiently manage that change.

Digital Twins

The hazardous industries are abuzz with the latest Industry 4.0 trend: the Digital Twin. From its potential to virtually simulate the performance of facilities and processes without directly affecting the real object, process industry operators are implementing or piloting solutions in droves. According to LNS Research, 48% of companies in the Oil & Gas industry, 37% of those in the Metals & Mining industry, and 31% of organizations in the Chemicals industry are taking advantage of Digital Twin software. They are using the technology to improve decision-making by simulating the way varying factors will respond to the operational reality of an asset before duplicating it in the real world. The technology is a top trend, according to Gartner’s 2017 and 2018 analysis, for its ability to bring together the nearly 21 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices that are expected by 2020.

In the industrial spaces, Digital Twin technologies are typically considered and primarily used for monitoring and managing equipment health; however, digitalizing operations with Digital Twins can embrace the new value that will maximize efficiencies, improve safety and help operators achieve Operational Excellence across their workforce.

The industry is moving forward with this latest trend, fast. Industry leaders anticipate 481% growth over the next three years in Digital Twins to simulate what-if scenarios for improved operational awareness and risk management. In some cases, innovative operators have already broadened the Digital Twin value proposition beyond asset performance management (APM) and equipment health with simulations to transform the way they manage operations, reduce downtime and prevent wear-and-tear that could result in asset failure.


5G network architecture is significantly different from the architectures of any previous generation network. The biggest difference between 4G and 5G design requirements is the diversity of use-cases that 5G networks must support as compared to 4G networks that were primarily designed for the single use-case of delivering high-speed mobile broadband.

5G is the new generation of radio systems and network architecture delivering extreme broadband and ultra-robust, low latency connectivity, and massive networking for the Internet of Things to enable the programmable world, which will transform our individual lives, economy, and society. 5G will be about people and things. It is massive broadband that delivers gigabytes of bandwidth-on-demand, critical machine-type communication that allows for the immediate, synchronous eye-hand feedback that enables remote control over robots and massive machine-type communication that connects billions of sensors and machines.

Driverless cars will be able to “talk” to each other and traffic management systems. Swarms of drones co-operating to carry out search and rescue missions, fire assessments, and safety monitoring, all communicating wirelessly with each other and ground base stations over 5G networks. Mobile videos should be near instantaneous and glitch-free. Video calls should become clearer and less jerky. Wearable devices could monitor your health in real-time, alerting you and your organisation as soon as any emergency arises.

As you can see – the opportunities are endless…

Organisations are going to need to understand how they will adapt to keep pace in 2020. They are at serious risk of being out-maneuvered by their competition – at a speed, they cannot even comprehend. The technologies I have mentioned are not years away – they are currently being used and the benefits simply cannot be ignored.

Companies like OVS Solutions (Pty) Ltd, the Africa Licensee of the award-winning Rapid Global Software, have been delivering Health & Safety software solutions for over 15 years. Their only business is the continued development and improvement of their software, to make sure that the solutions keep pace with the ever-changing landscape. All their solutions come with mobile apps. Click the link https://ovs-solutions.com/products/ to see what their solutions offer.