Smart glasses to revolutionise hygiene audits

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

Food hygiene audits could be revolutionised by smart glasses
Food hygiene audits could be revolutionised by smart glasses

Related tags Food safety conference Food

Wearable wireless technology – specifically, smart glasses with inbuilt video cameras – is set to revolutionise the way food hygiene audits and training is carried out, according to the boss of an international auditing company.

Speaking at a food safety conference in London last month, Tom Chestnut, senior vice president for the Global Food Division with NSF International described trials over the past two-and-half years by his company working with Google technology to prove the concept.

Once the technology is properly rolled out, it will allow hygiene experts and auditors from one location to remotely observe what is happening on a food production line on the other side the world.

Not only does this technology offer the auditor real-time remote access to what is going on, he is able to interact with the person wearing the glasses to request other views and actions to be carried out to record operational practices and plant condition and to provide training.

“This last six-to-eight weeks we have shifted our technology and our use of wearable devices more than in the previous two years and we are going to have a lot more to say six months from now,”​ said Chestnut.

Integrated display technology

He outlined the rapid advances taking place in integrated display technology – including two-way audio and video communications – to make the glasses more fit for purpose and cheaper to buy. He estimated that over the next few years, their price would fall to below $900 (£727) a pair.

“Some of the leaders in the food industry are starting to embrace this technology and use it for applications for their organisations,”​ he added.

“We are about to embark upon a new journey and it’s going to affect all of us … as smart glasses advance at the rate that we anticipate, the uptick on using wearable technology will far outpace anything we have seen with people embracing hand-held technology.”

Chestnut predicted that by the end of 2017 wearable technology would be at the point where it would be “transformational”​ for the consumer market to the same degree as it was continuing to evolve for enterprise applications.

Advances in hardware

Progress to date had been made possible by advances in hardware, connectivity and the computing power to drive it, he added.

“We do something like 160,000 audits around the globe every year,”​ reported Chestnut. “We have got to look at some form of disruptive technology that is going to have an impact on food safety that is better than what we have been able to do today.”

Instead of auditors travelling across the globe, NSF could use a smaller number based centrally that were connected to individuals in plants under the auditors’ direction to carry out investigations and with equipment, such as thermocouples and swabs, to carry out tests and take samples as required, he explained.

“We are on the cusp of some major changes occurring in our industry that are going to be driven by wearable technology,”​ concluded Chestnut.

Meanwhile, don't miss the Food Manufacture Group’s food safety conference​ on Thursday June 22 at Woodland Grange, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire.

Related topics Hygiene, safety & cleaning IT

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