Changi Airport adopts smart glasses, tech solutions to address challenges of Changi East project

Changi Airport adopts smart glasses, tech solutions to address challenges of Changi East project

Innovative technology-based solutions such as an online work declaration system and smart glasses have been developed and deployed to address the unique challenges faced in the Changi East project, said Changi Airport Group (CAG). Gwyneth Teo with more.

SINGAPORE: Innovative technology-based solutions such as an online work declaration system and smart glasses have been developed and deployed to address the unique challenges faced in the Changi East project, said Changi Airport Group (CAG).

Highlighting some of these challenges in a media showcase of the solutions on Tuesday (Oct 9), CAG said the project, which will include Terminal 5 and an industrial zone, sits next to an operating airport. Several main contractors with multiple large-scale construction works are involved, with 3,000 workers and 700 vehicles on site, it added. So solutions are needed to enhance safety, security and efficiency at the work site, CAG said.

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To manage the contractors, a web-based management system which provides greater oversight and enhanced situational awareness for the worksite has been commissioned, CAG said.

The Online Work Declaration system, which was implemented in 2017, helps to manage any risks that might arise as a result of having different teams of workers employed by several contractors working alongside each other.

Changi East old map
Work declarations used to be done manually on large printed copies of different work zone maps posted on the walls by each contractor. With the new web-based system, contractors can register and assess the information of their work areas with ease. (Photo: Gayathiri Chandramohan)

The system allows supervisors to access the website on their devices from anywhere to check on the details of any construction work and who is in charge. Without the system, work activity would have to be managed manually with contractors physically updating a large map posted at the site.

CAG’s associate general manager Marken Ang said the system was inspired by how London’s Heathrow Airport managed contractors for its own projects.

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The information uploaded by supervisors is fed to the “nerve centre” of Changi East, located right next to Runway 2 where it watches over works near the operational runway. At this Changi East Command Centre (CECC), CCTVs and electronic trackers allow them to monitor the movements of their workers and equipment.

Changi East Command Centre
The Changi East Command Centre is manned throughout the day to ensure work safety within the airfield. (Photo: Gayathiri Chandramohan)

To enhance security at the work site, a centralised checkpoint was set up in September. 

“In that way, we can account for exactly who are onsite and who are leaving the site,” Mr Ang said. 

WATCHING WHERE THE WORKERS, VEHICLES GO

To ensure that workers do not put themselves in unnecessary danger, such as by crossing the runway, both workers and vehicles are each equipped with a transponder to track their movements when they are deployed to work airside.

The transponder worn by the worker on his safety vest will sound an alarm when he crosses a virtual geo-fence. On the ground, board markers were installed to indicate "no-go" areas.

Managers back at the CECC are notified of incursions through the e-tracking feature so that they can deal with them.

They can also tap on safety managers, inspectors and engineers in the field who have been issued with smart glasses. These smart glasses are able to stream back footage in real-time to the CECC.

The glasses, which were sourced from a Chinese manufacturer, also allow their wearers to make calls hands-free.

Changi East Smart Glasses
Safety inspectors, managers, and engineers can use these Smart Glasses to help relay what they see on the ground back to the Changi East Command Centre easily. (Photo: Gayathiri Chandramohan)

The smart glasses complement the CCTVS that have been installed on site, CAG said.

“For the CCTV, once it’s fixed and in a dynamic environment in the construction site, it is difficult to install everywhere,” said Mr Ang, adding that the glasses give CAG the added mobility to deploy safety managers to various locations.

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With works being carried out in close proximity to an operational runway, contractors have to abide by height restrictions to ensure that the equipment used do not interfere with aircraft safety.

As no such monitoring device exists for construction use at an existing airfield, CAG engaged a local company MG&G to come up with a solution. The result is the Automatic Height Infringement Detection System which uses sensors and GPS. Sensors placed on equipment detect when it exceeds an area’s height limit. 

When a breach occurs, an alarm will be triggered at the CECC and duty managers will take appropriate action. Before the system was put in place, height limits used to be checked manually.

While Mr Ang declined to reveal the cost of implementing the technological solutions because it is “commercially sensitive”, he added that the solutions sourced are equipment that are already available in the market, except for the height monitoring system and the online work declaration system.

When completed by 2030, Terminal 5 at Changi East will be able to handle an additional 50 million passengers, on top of the existing 85 million passenger capacity by the current terminals.

Source: CNA/fs(ms)

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