Tech firm monitors construction activity during COVID-19 outbreak

Atlanta-based OxBlue is using its onsite cameras to gauge workplace activity and slowdowns.

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Atlanta-based OxBlue, a company that offers camera and monitoring services to construction site managers, says it is using artificial intelligence (AI) to measure the effects of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic on construction activity in the United States.

The firm says the data will be updated on a regular basis and will be “used to determine the activity level based on near real-time field data, created by measuring jobsite activity and comparing it to previous milestones.”

 OxBlue says the initial analysis covers all 50 states and more than 100 metropolitan areas. The report uses anonymized data from more than 150,000 unique images and thousands of unique construction projects, adds the firm.

“As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the United States, the construction industry faces incredible challenges and difficult decisions,” says Chandler McCormack, CEO of OxBlue. “Because we’re business owners in the trade ourselves, we understand that it’s critical for companies to be able to separate the noise from the facts and make data-driven decisions.”

The first report, available for viewing on this web page, covers construction activity for March 2020, during which many states implemented shelter-in-place orders. That analysis has found construction has been most severely curtailed in Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington.

By late March, work had stopped or slowed at more than 70 percent of projects in Michigan and Pennsylvania. States OxBlue in its first report, “By contrast, 12 states who have not yet issued shelter-in-place orders have seen an increase in construction activity.” A map posted as part of the analysis seems to indicate Arizona, Georgia, Texas and Wisconsin as among larger states that have not seen slowdowns.

New reports will be published every week on the OxBlue website, says the firm. OxBlue indicates its AI tool was originally developed to assist OxBlue clients in understanding construction activity on their specific projects. As the COVID-19 crisis began to worsen, OxBlue says it began analyzing data at a national level in order to share timely and actionable data with the construction industry.