Construction jobsites are joining the modern world by incorporating smart technology into an internet of things ecosystem. The internet of things (IoT) is a term for a network of devices, sensors, and people connected to the internet that collect and exchange data.
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Devices such as cell phones, tablets, and laptops are outfitted with computing systems and allow workers to access or share up-to-date documents and data. Sensors connected to the IoT can turn objects other than computers and mobile devices into a valuable source of data about that object and its surroundings. On construction sites, sensors have the important task of monitoring preventable problems, optimizing assets, and improving management.
Prevention And Safety
According to the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 937 construction worker deaths in 2015. Construction sites can prevent these deaths in the future by outfitting their workers with wearable sensors. These sensors can clip on to workers’ belts and jackets to detect injuries and proximity to high voltage or harmful toxins, as well as bodily functions. By measuring a worker’s body temperature, perspiration, and heart rate, the sensors can tell when a worker is in danger. The sensors are also alerted when a worker is exhibiting dangerous behaviors, such as drowsiness or distraction. To protect the inanimate elements of a construction site, the sensors can provide data on humidity spikes, water infiltration, and temperature changes. With real-time data, construction sites can save tens of thousands of dollars as they proactively address these environmental risks.
Optimizing The Business
Sensors on construction equipment not only collect data, but they can direct that data to cloud networks so that it can be analyzed. With this data, the construction company can organize relevant information and discover ways to make the best use of their machines. Actions such as measuring fuel spending and determining optimal equipment needs can create a more efficient company. Sensors also help to track materials through the supply chain, allowing construction companies to monitor the materials in real-time. By doing so, sensors create a more efficient supply chain, improve ability to adhere to the timelines of projects, and foster better communication with clients.
With real-time data, construction sites can save tens of thousands of dollars as they proactively address these environmental risks.
It’s well known in construction that machinery maintenance can be costly if not managed in a timely fashion. Unexpected breakdowns in equipment can extend a project’s timeline, increasing expenses in every department. By reducing the risk of repairs and breakdowns through promoting predictive maintenance, sensors can bring a 20% reduction to the total lifecycle costs of a project. This reduction is achieved by the real-time data that sensors collect. The data tells project managers the status and productivity of construction equipment. Once a structure is build, sensors can provide information on the structure’s temperature patterns, energy usage, and foot traffic. This data is essential in managing the long-term costs of a heavily-used building, potentially saving millions over the years that the building is in operation.
The advent of sensor technology in construction is a push towards the future. As the industry keeps pace with other fields that utilize data sharing, it will become more efficient and more safe. This increase in data sharing could spur the widespread use of robotics in construction as workers gain more information that is efficiently collected by sensors.