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How the Construction Industry Can Benefit from the IoT

Posted September 12th, 2018 in IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of those things that is easier to describe by what it doesn’t do, rather than what it is able to do. The range of applications is huge. Just think of the opportunity to connect any machine, system, or site to the Internet to know what’s happening any time, it becomes clear that the only limit for using the IoT is our imagination. But, the construction industry is a practical activity that deserves practical examples.

How the Construction Industry Can Benefit from the IoT

  1. Remote Operation

    If a machine can be hooked up to the web through a physical or wireless connection, you are able to give it instructions remotely. The machine can then operate alone in areas that would be hazardous to humans because of the pollution. Therefore, wearable computing is becoming more popular in a variety of situations. For example, Google Glass is able to assist workers on-site to access instruction manuals in a hands-free mode or benefit from remote support that is able to see what they see.
  1. Supply Replenishment

    When units of supply are labeled with RFID tags, a system on-site is able to count them. Then, when the count drops below a given level, the system can trigger a request from a central system that is able to order more. The result: idle time goes down and projects have better chances of being completed on time. Costs are also controlled because your company doesn’t need to buy more supplies than what is likely to be used at any one time. Instead, just-in-time delivery becomes possible automatically.
  1. Construction Tools and Equipment Tracking

    You’ll know where your pneumatic drill ended up or how many excavators are currently located at a construction site. It’ll help reduce the time that you spend on looking for misplaced items as well as the cost for purchasing replacements. GPS data is already being used to monitor vehicle fleet locations. It allows excavating or landscaping equipment to be accurately positioned and then instructions are automatically carried out using a virtual map of the digging, cutting, or other terrain modifications to be made.
  1. Equipment Servicing and Repair

    Sensors that are located in machines allow for them to communicate information about the status and any need for service or repairs. Fixing machines before they break makes more sense than waiting for them to break down. Which you know by Murphy’s Law that it’s all too likely to happen at the wrong time.
  1. Remote Usage Monitoring

    For equipment used by your workers, whether this be power drills to articulated earth-movers, the IoT means that construction hours can be automatically logged. Limits can be monitored; which prevents worker fatigue and possible accidents. Also, wearable computing in the form of wristbands can also monitor the wearer’s health and alertness. Action can be taken if the limits are in danger of being exceeded.
  1. Power and Fuel Savings

    Through the IoT, work sites can send back information on the amount of electrical power being used, so the after-hours lighting can be adjusted for energy-savings. Also, machines can send back information on idling time so that on and off periods can be adjusted without penalizing projects through the time needed to restart machines. 
  1. Augmented Reality (AR)

    Google Glass offers AR, but to make use of it you have to be wearing the goggles. The next step in AR, will be to integrate AR technology into equipment visors and vehicle windshields. Operational instructions or navigational and driving information will then come over the IoT in real time and be overlaid onto the real-world view of the job to do or the journey to be traveled.
  1. Building Information Modeling (BIM)

    Computer models that have been used in direct real-life construction can be updated by sensors placed in buildings that have now been constructed. These sensors can send back information that materials are affected by changing climates and over time. They can supply information of possible changes in energy efficiency in roofing, how structures behave when there are earth tremors, or how a bridge bends over the weight of passing traffic.

Hopefully you have been able to learn how the IoT has and will be changing how the construction industry is working. If you’ve noticed anything of these changes or other changes, feel free to leave us your comment below. Also, if you have any questions or additional comments respond below.

 Learn More About IoT

References

Burger, R. (n.d.). How "The Internet of Things" is Affecting the Construction Industry. Retrieved from https://www.thebalancesmb.com/how-internet-affects-the-construction-industry-845320

     

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