There is a major trend towards sustainability

‘The pandemic has drawn attention to the importance of employee health’ says Paddy Byrne, CEO of Xenon.

24th November, 2020
There is a major trend towards sustainability

What's your name and what position do you hold?

Paddy Byrne

CEO of Xenon

What are your day to day responsibilities?

Xenon is a technology company that develops electronic hardware and software solutions that help improve safety and security.

Our latest product - Xenon Fever Defence - is a standalone temperature screening device that quickly and easily screens for potential fever helping to reduce the risk of COVID-19.

I work with an excellent team of product engineers, software developers, sales and customer support staff to help keep our customers safe.

What is your professional background?

I am an Irish engineer and entrepreneur. After earning a degree in Building Services Engineering from Dublin Institute of Technology, I obtained a master’s degree in Business Management from UCD Smurfit.

Using technology to improve the built environment has always been my primary focus and passion. In my role as CEO of Xenon, I have worked to build the company into a leading provider of electronic safety and security solutions in the Irish market.

Following recent venture capital backing the company has expanded operations into the US, UK and EU markets - helping protect thousands of customers against COVID-19 with the Xenon Fever Defence device.

Do you believe the COVID-19 pandemic will have a lasting impact on occupational safety and health and, if so, how?

The COVID-19 Pandemic has created an immediate public health and safety risk due to high infection rate and potentially deadly symptoms. Governments around the world have enforced lockdown of businesses and public places in an effort to reduce the spread of the virus. The imposed lockdown has had a huge ,detrimental effect on business activity in almost every sector of the global economy, resulting in unprecedented human and economic losses.

Thinking back to the first months of the pandemic, it is a credit to the Construction Occupational Health & Safety industry how quickly it was able to react.

The construction industry here in Ireland has been able to continue to operate safely, providing jobs and livelihoods for thousands of families across the country.

The occupational health and safety principles of identifying and mitigating risks with practical measures has been instilled in the construction industry for years, and I believe that these principles enabled the industry’s fast response and ability to sustain itself during the crisis.

I think without doubt that the pandemic has drawn attention to the importance of employee health, particularly from an infectious disease perspective. I would however like to think that it might also bring more focus on health and well-being of employees as a critical part of the success of all businesses.

How do you see tech innovation transforming this industry? What do you think will be the major breakthroughs over the next 5–10 years?

IOT or Internet of Things is a huge growth space that promises to help transform every industry including construction and health and safety.

IOT is a network of sensors and smart technology that will be implemented throughout our daily lives. These sensors will allow for fast and easy gathering of useful data that when combined into data visualisation reports can provide very useful information and insights.

To use Xenon Fever Defence as an example of IOT, when installed at a site or building entrance it records data about people entering the premises. This includes data such as temperature, facial scan photography, time and date of arrival. This information can be then used for a number of useful application by different site management stakeholders.

Health and safety managers can use the data for:

-Covid-19 risk reduction by fever screening including automated email alerts

-Automated records of who is on site for contact tracing

-Easy completion of site induction records using facial scanning

Site managers can also use the data to

-Prevent unauthorised site access by combining facial scan functionality with an access control system

-Keep time sheet records of when employees check in / check out.

Fever Defence is just one example of IOT technology that will play a major role in improving health and safety across every industry in the next 5-10 years.

What will be the leading trends in the construction industry in the coming years and how will businesses need to adapt?

Globally there is a major trend towards sustainability and tackling the issues of global warming. This can be seen from both east and west - from China’s commitment to being carbon neutral by 2060, to Joe Biden making the environment one of the four pillars of his presidency.

I believe that there will be an environmentally focused trend in construction, as clients seek to achieve governmental and sociallyresponsible, environmental driven goals.

I know that many of the health and safety professionals, including Javad from our discussion panel play important roles in their company’s environment policies and their implementation. I think that this aspect of their work will become even more important as companies strive to deliver sustainability as a value.

Paddy will be speaking at the 2020 virtual CIF Health & Safety Summit on November 26

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