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As technology evolves to support a wide variety of tasks, businesses increasingly rely on automation to help improve overall work efficiency and operations. Satellite analytics, in particular, is rapidly growing in popularity, helping companies in a variety of industries, including utilities, energy, mining, transportation, construction, and more. SnapLogic even released a report stating that 81% of employees say AI improves their work performance. Satellites can travel the Earth at 17,000 miles per hour and capture high-resolution images to give companies access to historical data, increase security and gain cost-effective insights.
Many satellites have been launched since the first in 1957, with many more to come. The latest satellites provide high-resolution images that allow a more detailed assessment of ground assets and thus smaller objects. The AI component helps upgrade images to even higher resolutions and is on a similar trajectory to high-definition TVs. In addition, it allows older, poor-resolution images to be used alongside new data, a process known as time sequencing. Today, satellites are gaining more multispectral, infrared and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) images that allow the AI to define specific vegetation types and assess data at night or through clouds.
Industries tend to rely on more traditional methods of fulfilling responsibilities, but satellite AI-powered asset inspections and maintenance can eliminate manual labor at a fraction of the cost. They are built to perform difficult and time-consuming functions to help businesses save not only time, but potentially lives in a high-risk work environment.
Drones can also be used to perform such tasks if they are equipped with high-tech cameras and software to overcome vision limitations during the day or night. However, satellites still prove to be more reliable, as drones may not be able to withstand certain weather conditions. Speed is also a factor to keep in mind. While drones can travel between 45 and 75 mph, they can’t compare to the orbital speed of satellites.
Artificial intelligence delivers information faster and on a higher scale compared to humans. Think Sputnik, the first artificial Earth satellite to orbit the planet in 96 minutes. Satellite AI can quickly capture large swaths of land, in some cases once an hour, and provide detailed insights and predictions based on the images — something humans can’t do immediately. To put it in perspective, manual utility crews can perform about 10 miles of detailed inspections per day, and drones can inspect up to 5 miles per day. However, satellites can complete over 10,000 miles of inspections in a single day — quick and easy, right?
With more efficient inspections through satellite imagery, data analysis (artificial intelligence) and planning (AI-powered optimization planning), companies save even more money and time. Accessing historical and real-time data on specific assets in minutes supports a company’s future and timely decisions. In contrast, the ability to retrieve data from a manual inspection for the same assets can take weeks or even months. The cost is also relatively cheaper compared to other sources. Between inspecting job sites and analyzing key findings, the cost of manual labor salaries and hourly rates of contractors and field crews can add up. Satellite-based analytics can help with the productivity of these workers, reducing the time spent on these tasks and allowing them to focus on other, more valuable parts of the job.
The work environment for manual inspections can be dangerous, but satellites help increase safety. According to Esurance, the chance of being in a car accident is one in 366 for every 1000 miles driven. Given that statistic alone, it’s not safe to send crews out to inspect miles of lines or other distributed assets. Many locations are also not easily accessible, such as mountains, swamps, backyards, etc. The chance of an employee being injured in a satellite inspection is significantly reduced, with a chance of no injuries at all.
In the US alone, there are more than a billion geographically dispersed assets across nuclear industries, and the costs of operations and maintenance at electric utilities continue to grow. Without the right resources, businesses continue to lose money every year due to liabilities related to wildfires, unexpected power outages, and more.
Satellite AI is beneficial not only for one specific industry, but also several that you may be surprised to learn more about:
Utilities: Vegetation management is often the largest item, at more than $100 million, in the annual operating budgets of much larger utilities. It was also one of the industry’s biggest and most complex challenges. Satellites help automate their manual tasks, allowing staff to be more focused and productive with limited time.
Energy: Automation is an increasing trend in the energy sector and satellite technology benefits everyday activities such as life cycle planning, costs, maintenance and asset performance. For example, detecting methane gas leaks from oil well pads can track a variety of metrics, such as the sustainability of the land.
Transport: Due to the wide spatial distribution of road and rail infrastructure, many modes of transport are exposed and vulnerable to natural disasters. This inevitably increases costs for transport agencies and operations. The power of satellites helps operators predict vegetation-related risks along distributed lines and helps mitigate hazards in the event of natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes.
Water and Wastewater: Water treatment, distribution and supply networks are spread over thousands of miles and can make it difficult for workers to navigate the area. Satellite AI solves the problem by effectively monitoring and managing the critical supply chain.
Mining: The mining industry reacts better to unpredictable situations than it is prepared in advance. Providing predictive maintenance strategies and automating mobile fleet monitoring via satellite AI helps companies be more proactive.
Construction: The construction industry is fairly dangerous and used to be operated only with manual labor, but now technology improves crew safety by managing the heavy equipment fleet more efficiently and optimizing overall performance.
How to put AI to work
In every industry, there are different ways to integrate AI-based solutions effectively and efficiently. Companies should consider re-evaluating tasks and implementing AI into their day-to-day workflows. New roles and responsibilities can be created specifically for AI to complement team members so they can oversee initiatives and focus more on other things that don’t require technology support.
In addition, 49% of employees believe that AI has improved their decision-making and accelerated time-to-insight. AI can be used to analyze problems at scale and identify the best areas for your team to address. Employees can then view the AI results and share real-time feedback with the continuous improvement technology. We will continue to see artificial intelligence integrated into various industries, but keep in mind that while it does the heavy lifting, it will only be made stronger through human insight and expertise. The combination of AI and humans is a powerful duo and will take workflows to the next level.
Abhishek Singh is the co-founder and CEO of AiDash.
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This post Let’s (Don’t) Get Physical: How Satellite AI Can Improve Human Work Speed
was original published at “https://venturebeat.com/2022/04/14/lets-not-get-physical-how-satellite-ai-can-improve-human-work-speeds/”