The internet of things, IoT, consists of a myriad of applications in hundreds of industries. When appliances, machines, devices, and systems can connect to the internet and communicate to, and with each other, the possibilities are endless. The only limiting factor in making the Internet of Things in construction successful will be the imagination of contractors.
As more advancement in technology comes to light, IoT will find its spot in construction. Among the areas where contractors have used the internet of things in construction include:
Application of the Internet of Things in the Construction Industry
The use of the internet of things in construction site projects is expanding. Below are just some of the applications that all types of professionals (including engineers) are using the internet of things for.
Operate Machines Remotely
When machines are connected to the internet, they are easy to operate remotely without having human labor on site. This is advantageous in instances where the area is considered hazardous to human workers. Besides running it from a device, workers can use wearable computing devices such as Google Glass to access instruction manuals.
With IoT, it is easy to replenish material supplies when the count goes below a given level. Here, units of supply bear RFID tags allowing a system to count the units. The system will be set to request the central system to more units when the count goes below a given count. This way, at no time will there be fewer units than needed, and there will be no idle time, thereby saving the construction company some money. Again, the company is less likely to order more units than needed.
Track Tools in Real-Time
When construction tools and equipment can connect to the internet, you can track them. When workers misplace drills and other items, it will be easier to track them. Instead of walking up and about the construction site, you will pinpoint the exact location of a given tool. Today, construction companies already use GPS to track fleet locations. Again, when you can track tools and equipment, you can position them on-site to make the necessary drilling, cutting, or excavation. This is one of the tech trends that are taking over the construction industry; you can see more on Procore.
Monitor the Status of Equipment
With the IoT, you do not have to wait until a machine breaks down. With the internet of things in construction, sensors will show you the status of a machine and inform you when a repair is needed. This way, you can fix your equipment before the total breakdown.
Log Working Hours for your Workers
Field engineers and workers use the bulk of the equipment connected to the internet. If drills, movers, and other machines can connect to the internet, you can monitor their working hour and log them remotely. You can also monitor how much work a worker can do every day to prevent fatigue and accidents. For fleet management, drivers can wear wristbands that monitor their health and alertness. If you feel the driver or the worker has exceeded their limit, you can take action to ensure they do not cause accidents.
Saving Power After-Hours
You can monitor the power that machines and lights use. After hours, you can adjust the lighting to save energy and switch off idle machines to save fuel. Even better, when machines send their idle time fuel use, you can adjust their fuel use without costing the project time it requires to restart machines.
Augmented Reality (AR)
One of the applications of the internet of things in the construction industry is augmented reality. Google Glass is one of the main players in this space, but others are coming up. If AR is integrated directly into machines and vehicles, it will be easier for site workers to access operational information and navigational details when driving.
The Importance of the Internet of Things in the Construction Industry
When using IoT, there are a lot of benefits that construction companies can reap. At first, it will be relatively expensive to purchase tools and equipment that can connect to the internet, but ultimately, it becomes easier to manage projects. Read on.
Reduce Equipment Downtime
Sensors on machines can send information to you when parts are worn out and need replacement. This way, you will take equipment breakdown preventive measures. Again, you can schedule equipment maintenance and get a reminder when maintenance is due.
Reduce Administrative Costs
One person behind a computer can manage the entire project, sometimes even two projects. Instead of so many managers and supervisors on the ground, one manager can track all workers, equipment, and aspects of a building from a remote location. The internet of things on a construction site reduces the need for paperwork, there will be no lost items, there will be high accuracy of data, and everything runs smoothly. When a few papers are used, more money is saved, and trees are protected too.
The manager of a construction site can access data in real-time from sensors. By receiving updates on project progress in real-time, a manager can enhance the critical stages of a project to ensure there are no costly delays, and a project runs on time. The manager is also able to find leaners ways to operate to cut down costs. By reducing downtime, the construction company saves a lot of money.
Again, with IoT, managers can tag and trail materials and trucks working for the project. This way, the misdirection of resources is avoided, and this will possibly cut down the cost of operation. Again, in case of an emergency on the construction site, the manager knows the number of workers on-site and their exact locations. This makes it easy to evacuate them.
The internet of things in the construction industry can help cut costs and make operations run smoother. However, many companies are still running conventional systems because of the lack of advanced equipment that can connect to the internet or the high cost of smart tools and equipment. In the future, many companies will embrace the internet of things in construction to stay ahead of the competition.