The Internet of Things, commonly abbreviated as IoT, refers to the connection of devices to the Internet. These IoT devices range from cellphones, computers, and wearable technology to cars, homes, and appliances. Although it might not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of connected technology, one field that greatly benefits from smart devices is the construction industry. Contractors buy IoT devices for their job sites for the following reasons:
Due to its unpredictable nature, working on a construction jobsite can be dangerous. Concrete contractors specifically need to work in a timely manner as to not create or use faulty materials that can lead to injury. Smart, connected sensors for monitoring the properties of concrete are a safe alternative to traditional strength test methods, such as break tests, because they use non-destructive methods to measure these properties in real time and send data wirelessly to contractors and decision makers. The process requires less work and delivers more accurate, and therefore safe, data to those who matter.
Working with concrete requires ample scheduling to ensure a project is completed on time. Therefore, having tools that can communicate in real-time allows contractors to avoid any delays. Utilizing connected technology and installing sensors such as SmartRock or BlueRock at a job site creates an efficient workflow. The sensors provide real-time data, decreasing the margin of error when measuring the strength, temperature, or relative humidity in concrete. It decreases labor costs due to its ability to relay information instantaneously, thus eliminating the need for break tests and the cost of laboratory testing.
Living in countries that exhibit extreme weather changes and having to constantly adjust to temperature fluctuations can drain project resources. Traditional ways of measuring concrete properties can result in inaccurate measurements risking the structural integrity of the project. Much like how smartphones have revolutionized the way we communicate, wireless sensors are paving the way for smart technology in the construction industry. More often than not, industries who have cemented years and years of their own knowledge and experience into certain practices are reluctant to adopt new, IoT technologies.
[New technology] doesn’t require paying a lab technician, waiting on results, and dealing with inconclusive breaks.
When operating on small or large-scale projects, traditional ways of measuring temperature, strength, and humidity levels in concrete can be time consuming. Another reason contractors opt for IoT devices is convenience. Wireless sensors are easy to install, don’t require any expensive data loggers or fancy equipment, and enable people on site to make quick decisions based on real-time data. For instance, Smart Concrete is a sensor offered by ready-mix suppliers that provides pre-calibrated data via the smartphone application instead of requiring contractors to calibrate mixes themselves. BlueRock measures humidity and temperature of concrete allowing contractors to better schedule installation of flooring work and avoid disasters down the road.
When comparing new testing methods, such as wireless sensors, to traditional concrete break test methods for strength estimation, the new methods have proven to have a much higher level of accuracy. SmartRock sensors “consistently achieve 90% accuracy in maturity-based strength estimation when compared to standard concrete cylinder breaks—the only difference being that SmartRock doesn’t require paying a lab technician, waiting on results, and dealing with inconclusive breaks,” says Frank Hoffman of Graham Construction. It’s no secret that field-cured and standard-cured cylinders are known to have their downfalls when it comes to the accuracy of estimations. Advancements in concrete sensing technology and IoT devices are eliminating that gap and delivering more accurate data, thus improving the credibility of test results and providing contractors with more trusted data.