AI vs Tag-Based Proximity Solutions: A Comprehensive Comparison

AI vs Tags

AI vs Tag-Based Proximity Solutions: A Comprehensive Comparison

With the advent of technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Tag-Based Proximity solutions, organisations are now better equipped to monitor and manage on site workplace safety. Two leading methods of safety solutions are AI-based safety solutions, and Tag-Based Proximity solutions. 

This blog aims to provide an in-depth comparison between these two technologies, outlining their pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.

What is a Tag-Based Proximity Solution?

Tag-Based Proximity Solutions are gaining traction as a practical and efficient way to monitor the location and movements of workers in relation to potential hazards on the job site. 

These systems utilise physical tags, often in the form of wearable devices, that communicate with sensors or other tags to determine the proximity of workers to dangerous areas or heavy machinery. When a worker comes too close to a hazard, the system triggers an alert, which can be sent to both the worker and the site supervisor, thereby enabling immediate action to prevent accidents. Simple to implement and user-friendly, tag-based solutions offer a cost-effective approach to enhancing safety measures in the construction industry. 

Virtual exclusion zones

Benefits of Tag-based solutions

Cost-Effectiveness of Tag-Based Solutions 

Another advantage of tag-based systems is their cost-effectiveness. The initial investment and ongoing maintenance costs are typically considerably lower compared to AI-based solutions. This makes tag-based systems an attractive option for organisations operating on a tighter budget or for those testing the water. 

Behaviour Change  

One of the biggest differences with tag-based solutions, is that whilst the tags are not as convenient as AI, from a worker view, vibration and audible alerts on the workers arm acts as a negative reinforcement and quickly changes safety behaviour. The alerts act as a deterrent and safe distances are soon adhered to.  This not only benefits the workers at the time, but also helps them throughout their career to learn good safety practices should they work in another location that doesn’t use the same safety solutions. 

Ease of Implementation in Tag-Based Solutions  

One of the most appealing aspects of Tag-Based Proximity Solutions is the ease of implementation. These systems are generally quicker to set up and require minimal technical expertise, making them accessible for businesses of all sizes. This ease of use can be particularly beneficial for smaller companies or those without a dedicated IT team. 

Zonr Wireless Set up

Easily Move between Vehicles 

One of the standout features of tag-based proximity solutions is their portability and ease of transfer from one vehicle to another. Unlike more complex systems that may require extensive rewiring or reconfiguration, tag-based systems often consist of wearable tags and simple sensors that can be quickly and easily installed or removed. This makes it exceptionally convenient for construction companies that need to frequently switch vehicles due to varying project requirements or equipment availability. The ability to effortlessly move the tag-based system between vehicles not only saves time but also reduces the costs associated with multiple installations, making it a versatile and cost-effective safety solution. 

User-Friendliness of Tag-Based Solutions

Tag-based systems are generally more user-friendly, making it easier for employees to understand and adapt to the technology. The straightforward nature of these systems ensures a smoother transition, allowing employees to quickly become accustomed to the new safety measures. 

Privacy Considerations in Tag-Based Solutions 

Since tag-based solutions by Zonr do not involve video recording, they are generally less intrusive in terms of privacy. This can be a significant advantage for organisations concerned about employee privacy and data security. 

Analytics Data Platform 

Tag based solutions often feed into an online portal where data can be viewed from across all tags. The data from incursions into hazardous zones is recorded for each tag, where you can spot trends, see details of each incursion (time of entry, length of incursion) and see where the plant was located when the incursion happened. This can help managers reinforce safety with workers.  

Zonr Dashboard

Scalability in Tag-Based Solutions 

Tag-based systems are effective for smaller setups all the way through to scale across larger, more complex environments. As an organisation grows, the tag-based systems can scale accordingly, and without significant extra costs involved with installation and maintenance. 

Drawbacks of Tag-based solution

Dependence on Hardware in Tag-Based Solutions 

One of the challenges of tag-based systems is their reliance on physical tags, which can be lost, damaged, or forgotten. This dependence on hardware introduces a potential point of failure that could compromise safety measures. 

Battery Replacement Challenges in Tag-Based Solutions 

Despite the long battery life of Zonr’s tags, they will eventually require recharging. This can be logistically challenging, especially for larger organisations with numerous tags in circulation. However, this can be overcome with good processes and tag management. 

Human Error in Tag-Based Solutions 

The effectiveness of a tag-based system is also subject to human error. Employees forgetting to wear their tags or not maintaining them properly can lead to inefficiencies in the system. This could compromise safety and require additional training or reminders to ensure compliance. 

Worker wearing Zong Tag

What is an AI Solution?

In the construction industry, AI proximity solutions are increasingly being utilised to enhance safety and operational efficiency. These advanced systems employ artificial intelligence algorithms to analyse real-time data, often collected through video feeds or sensors, to monitor the proximity of workers to potential hazards such as heavy machinery, falling objects, or unsafe zones. The AI algorithms can instantly alert operators and shut down plant based on workers being in a dangerous situation, thereby reducing the risk of accidents. 

Benefits of using AI solution

Real-Time Flagging in AI-Based Solutions  

One of the most compelling advantages of AI-based solutions is the capability for real-time flagging of hazards without the need for tags. AI algorithms can process video feeds as they come in, providing immediate alerts for any safety hazards. This real-time monitoring ensures that any potential issues are flagged instantly, allowing for immediate action to prevent accidents or other safety incidents. 

No Extra Worker Hardware Needed 

With AI solutions, you do not need to rely on workers putting on extra hardware, such as tags. Workers can often forget them, break them or just not use them properly.  

Analytics in AI-Based Solutions 

Beyond simple proximity detection, AI-based solutions can offer analytics capabilities. This enables organisations to take proactive safety measures, further enhancing the workplace’s overall safety environment. 

Integration Capabilities of AI-Based Solutions 

AI-based solutions also offer robust integration capabilities. They can be seamlessly integrated with other enterprise systems like ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) or HRM (Human Resource Management) to create a unified safety and management solution. This integration allows for more streamlined operations and better data-driven decision-making.

Reduced Human Error in AI-Based Solutions 

AI algorithms are less prone to fatigue and oversight, making them more reliable over extended periods. Unlike human operators who may suffer from lapses in concentration or other forms of human error, AI systems provide a consistent level of monitoring and analysis, thereby reducing the risk of missed or incorrect hazard detection. 

Drawbacks of using an AI solution

Cost Implications of AI-Based Solutions 

While AI-based solutions offer numerous advantages, they come with a significant drawback: cost. The initial setup and ongoing maintenance of these advanced systems can be extremely expensive. This financial burden may be a barrier for smaller organisations or those with limited budgets.  

Increased Downtime for Installation 

One of the challenges associated with implementing AI-based solutions is the increased downtime required for setup. To integrate the AI system into your existing machinery, a significant period of downtime is necessary for wiring and testing the technology. This interruption can affect productivity and may require careful planning to mitigate its impact on operations. Therefore, organisations must weigh the benefits of enhanced safety and analytics against the temporary loss of operational time. 

Costly to Scale Up 

As AI solutions are often very costly, it can be difficult to then scale up as the need grows, and with the increased downtime for new installations, downtime can be massively impacted.  

Emphasis on Driver Alerts in AI Solutions 

The AI system is mainly designed to alert the driver operating the machinery when there is an intrusion into a hazardous zone, even going so far as to automatically shut down the equipment to prevent a collision. However, this approach leaves the worker who entered the dangerous area uninformed, potentially fostering a reliance on AI for safety. This could become an issue when workers transition to new sites that don’t employ AI safety measures, as the responsibility for avoiding hazards then fully shifts back to the individual worker. 

Complexity of AI-Based Solutions 

Another downside to consider is the complexity involved in setting up and managing AI-based solutions. These systems require specialised skills, which might necessitate additional training or even the hiring of experts. This adds another layer of cost and complexity to their implementation. 

Data Privacy Concerns in AI-Based Solutions 

The use of video feeds in AI-based solutions may raise concerns about employee privacy and data security. Organisations must ensure that they are compliant with privacy laws and regulations, which can sometimes be a complex and challenging task. 

Risk of False Positives in AI-Based Solutions 

While rare, it’s worth noting that AI algorithms can sometimes generate false alarms. These false positives may cause unnecessary disruptions in the workplace and could lead to a decrease in trust in the system’s reliability. 


Both AI-based solutions and Tag-Based Proximity solutions offer unique advantages and disadvantages. Your choice between the two will depend on various factors such as the scale of your operations, budget, and specific safety requirements. AI offers a hands off approach, but comes at a higher cost and complexity. On the other hand, Tag-Based solutions are easier to implement and more cost-effective but may offer tag management limitations. 


By understanding the pros and cons of each, you can make a more informed decision that best suits your needs. 

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