We are a bit of IT geeks so anything technical always raises my pulse and therefore unable to resist poking my noodles on the subject.
IoT aka Internet of Things is such a big subject the moment and it’s on most people’s lips. So we decided to take a closer look at it not for personal (household) reasons but in terms of the construction industry.
What can IoT do and help achieve?
From experience, construction sites can be dangerous and complex workplaces because they involve multiple entities such as workers, heavy machinery, electricity, works like demolition and excavation and big budgets that need to work in tandem, otherwise big financial loses or even terrible accidents could happen.
So I have explored how you can link up your project to the IoT by connecting various smart devices using multiple technologies:
Safety – Employee
- Any incidents on a construction project are disruptive and affect both your employees and the project itself. So connecting a machine to the Internet and operate it remotely from a safe distance (remote operation capability) will keep your employees safe because they don’t necessarily need to operate large machinery that can be dangerous or need to work in environmentally hazardous zones.
- Wearable devices is a growing trend across all UK industries, and the benefits for construction are enormous such as Google Glass (hands-free device) which enable workers to transmit images and access important instructions without taking a hand off their machines. Such devices also allow for automatic time logging, which prevent records falsification and can even provide for health monitoring.
- Augmented reality technology (AR) is also a growing trend, if not quite as well-established or available as ‘wearables‘. But soon AR will be a normal part of the construction industry, with special instructions, weather conditions, and safety alerts projected across equipment and wearable devices in real time.
- Electronic time logging which is not just solely an advantage towards the construction process of a building but also for a company that would eventually use the building. The advantage is that it would clearly be hard to falsify the log-in time of every employee, which would prevent fraud and promote transparency.
Financial – Save you Money!
- If your project is bleeding money, IoT will enable your business to track and manage supplies and equipment remotely using RFID tags, and at different sites. Therefore you will be able to know how much stock you have or need, so avoid ordering things not needed
- Self-detecting sensors can be used for mechanical maintenance such as large drills where it alerts you when the tool needs repairing to minimise breakdowns
- Monitoring i.e. the temperature of a building – energy conservation and also track how often the machines are idle
Better Designs – BIM (Building Information Modelling)
- Workers on construction projects are provided with 3D computer building designs / plans / models to provide useful visualisation of the project and its integration with the real world environment
- After a construction project has actually been completed, sensors in the building itself can monitor how well the building continues to withstand changes in temperature, pressure, and other environmental factors. The sensors can then transmit this data back to a central system, updating the original BIM in real time and informing future maintenance decisions.