Every machine or piece of equipment on a construction site will soon be connected to the internet. It’s very likely that even the clothing we wear on site – for safety or comfort – will also be connected.
These connections will not only help us understand and track things – which floor is the generator on, which trucks are on site and which ones are on the road, how much lumber or steel is in inventory – but such connections will also help us understand and track our activity.
By combining GPS data from an earthmover and the safety vests the crew is wearing, proximity limits or concerns can be issued to job site supervisors. In extreme cases, the data may even be used to automatically shut down a piece of equipment to prevent an accident. Time and motion studies will be simple and automatically generated. Maintenance or repair schedules will be generated on the fly. Productivity and efficiency will rise with simple analytical tools that compile and review the data generated by the “things” we use, wear, drive, install, remove, or build.
The pundits call this the “internet of things” or IoT, and it’s simply a way to describe how we interact and communicate with digital information that has been embedded into physical objects. But regardless of what it’s called, IoT is going to produce enormous changes on the construction site of the future.
Earlier this year, ARC conducted a survey in which respondents weighed in on the various benefits of the “big data” generated by IoT. Among the top benefits identified were the improvement of onsite and offsite equipment management, and pinpointing reasons or indicators of project delays. Top three benefits mentioned were:
All by themselves these few benefits will significantly enhance project productivity, but it’s not hard to see that we’re just scratching the surface of the potential of the IoT on the job site.
Imagine the job site of the future with this list from technology integrator WhiteLight Group.
As technology developers, we play close attention to the productivity and efficiency our products and services can generate on the job site, but we also realize that when combined with other technology – on a backhoe, in a hardhat, or on a handheld power tool – the process of construction can be safer, faster and better managed.
What can you imagine? Please let us know about your experience and plans for the internet of things, and write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.