Recognising an innovative start-up

Australian environmental management software and hardware manufacturer, SiteHive, was a stand-out finalist for the 2023 Awards.

The Outstanding Start-Up Award, proudly sponsored by BlueRock, recognises an Australian manufacturing start-up that has introduced a new product to market, filling a market gap.

A finalist for the Outstanding Start-Up Award, SiteHive, has been innovating the environmental management space over the last five years.

The company provides businesses with real-time environmental monitoring devices and software.

Designed and manufactured in Australia, its products transform how construction and other industrial sites manage the impact of environmental aspects such as noise, dust and vibration.

Manufacturers’ Monthly spoke to SiteHive’s co-founder, Ben Cooper-Woolley, to find out more about the future of SiteHive, and the environmental and manufacturing advantages of the Australian company.

Cooper-Woolley said the Endeavour Awards nomination highlighted the strength of the local industry and reflected what it means to share ideas, skills, knowledge, and experience.

Cooper-Woolley stated that the Endeavour Awards were “an opportunity to showcase and promote local manufacturing and for companies to connect and support each other on the journey as well.”

“It is important for us to get involved and engaged, and play our small part in the industry overall – anything we can do to support and promote the industry.”

SiteHive’s products

SiteHive’s products are a modern take on traditional ways of monitoring noise and dust pollution, and vibration impacts, for industrial work sites. SiteHive has produced the latest technological advancements for effective and accurate environmental management.

SiteHive Hexanodes are a family of environmental monitoring devices that enable the measurement and management of noise, dust, and vibration.

Cooper-Woolley says that the key components for creating an efficient product are to ensure it is proactive, accessible, and easy to use.

“Unlike with traditional devices, we calibrate SiteHive Hexanodes, and we maintain them. You just plug your SiteHive Hexanode in, and they do all the work and monitoring for you,” Cooper-Woolley explained.

“As well as data on noise, dust and vibration levels, they also capture a lot of additional contextual information. For example, we provide directional noise and dust data: we know where noise is coming from by using multiple MEMS microphones, and we map it out.”

“We can also trigger image capture in different directions, and record audio. For the latter, we classify it using AI.”

The SiteHive Hexanodes can distinguish noises that are exclusively related to the work that is being done.

“For instance, if there is a bird sitting out of the frame of view causing noise, you can’t always see that it’s what’s making the noise. Recording audio provides a unique opportunity for recognising patterns in what is happening and determining the cause of noise,” said Cooper-Woolley.

Each SiteHive device is significantly lighter and smaller than traditional devices, making them easier to use and move in the field.

Cooper-Woolley describes the SiteHive Hexanode devices as, “compact, and very mobile in a busy environment.”

The innovative SiteHive Hexanode products include three devices each managing and monitoring a different environmental issue: noise, dust and vibration. Plus one device that manages both noise and dust at the same time..

As outlined by Cooper-Woolley, a significant appeal of the modern technology that SiteHive provides is the real-time software that allows people to proactively manage noise, dust, vibration, and water quality so that their effects are minimised – and thereby protect work teams, communities, and the environment.

Cooper-Woolley said this was a major advantage on worksites.

“In my previous work, we were paying consultants hundreds of dollars to tell us what happened based on information from a month ago. But now these devices can capture images, monitor data and relay information in real-time. So people can make decisions and take action in the moment,” he explained.

Image: SiteHive

Embracing AI as the future

SiteHive celebrates innovation, and the emerging field of AI has been embraced in their products. Cooper-Woolley explained how the use of AI is advancing SIteHive’s technology and providing new opportunities.

“We’ve developed an AI-based audio classifier that has been trained very heavily on sounds of the built environment, including things that aren’t construction noise like bird sounds, motorbikes, sirens, background traffic – that sort of thing. SiteHive Enviro software uses this to classify and identify all the individual noises, so people can see immediately what’s construction noise, and what has nothing to do with the construction project.”

SiteHive’s environmental focus

SiteHive has grown quickly. Since being founded as a start-up in 2019, it has developed into a successful organisation working with industry-leading clients in infrastructure development, construction, and the extractive industries.

Cooper-Woolley credits his previous engineering, environmental science, and technology background as a solid foundation for implementing change in the environmental management industry.

“We’re confident we have the right product for the market. We are being used actively on over 200 sites across Australia and New Zealand, and now it’s about how we scale up our manufacturing and supply.”

Cooper-Woolley highlighted the importance of environmental management in an economy that is shifting towards higher environmental sustainability.

SiteHive enables proactive environmental management that keeps teams and communities safe, builds stakeholder trust, and minimises environmental impact.

“Community scrutiny is on the rise,” Cooper-Woolley said. “I think a catalyst for this was the bush fires a few years ago. After that, people started taking a real interest in their own personal air quality and the impact on their own health. We are now seeing that interest transfer into the urban environment, post the bushfires and COVID.”

In response to the rise in environmental sustainability, SiteHive has seen a new demographic of potential users.

“We’re seeing contractors, in particular, but also property developers and owners being more socially conscious,” said Cooper-Woolley.

“The environment and the Environmental Social Governance Agenda has really come to the forefront; and organisations are taking their corporate social responsibility seriously. SiteHive provides tools and technologies that allow people to be proactive about understanding and managing their environmental impact.”

SiteHive has identified the industries that use their products the most, with construction work, operational ports and mines being their major clients. However, as Cooper-Woolley explains, there is a lot of room for growth.

“The potential opportunities for this type of product expand way beyond infrastructure and construction, and into mining, ports, operational facilities, waste facilities, saw mills and even domestic situations,” he said.

“I think as urban density only increases, the opportunities for these types of products are only going to increase as well.”

SiteHive’s manufacturing

SiteHive’s products are manufactured exclusively in New South Wales.  Their electronics supplier is based in Hornsby (CNS Precision Assembly); the housings are made by an engineering company in Botany (Deepdish Engineering); and the assembly and testing are completed at the SiteHive headquarters in Surry Hills.

Cooper-Woolley sees the local nature of this as an advantage to his business, stating, “a key element of us working with [the supplier] is because we get to do it locally, and we get to learn on the journey.

“We get to iterate a lot faster as well. We have been able to do small batches, and faster iteration, which in product innovation and development has been critical.”

The future of SiteHive

Even though SiteHive has grown exponentially over the last five years, Cooper-Woolley and his co-founder are always looking for ways to develop and improve. He shared some upcoming and exciting new developments for the future of SiteHive.

“We are focussing on building our team on the go-to-market side. So we’ve got a real focus on that in the next two, three years,” said Cooper-Woolley.

“This will enable us to broaden our client base within the construction industry, as we will be able to service and supply a lot more of the mid-range and smaller projects now.”

“We do a lot of major infrastructure projects, but we think there’s big opportunity and potential with smaller builders like education precincts, campuses, hospitals, and all the way down to residential buildings too.”

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