IoT, also called the internet of things, refers to a network of connected devices that allow the exchange of data and information over the world wide web. IoTs in construction are often embedded with software, sensors, and other technologies that facilitate the easy flow of information to as many devices as necessary.
Teams use cloud platforms and technologically connected devices to streamline work efforts, ensure product quality, maximize project control, and minimize loss. In the IoT construction industry, these devices sync with each other and the control room to provide a real-time 3D view of all projects.
Traditional construction methods have proven ineffective over the years.
Some common challenges your business may experience include the following:
- • Poor project quality and profitability;
- • Inadequate budget and resource management;
- • No timely delivery of project deadlines;
- • Reduced team productivity, management, and communication;
- • Inadequate refuse management;
- • Outdated administrative follow-up.
As technology invades every aspect of modern life, it is no wonder the construction scene is rapidly changing. The emergence of new technologies and techniques help businesses better manage staff and resources.
Applications of IoT in Construction
IoT is extremely versatile and can perform several roles in all facets of the economy, including construction. IoT solutions for this industry take on various forms, such as:
Management teams use IoT systems to monitor and document project progress. This documentation often includes resource acquisition and usage, project costs, and work deadlines. With automated processes, management teams can see what setbacks affect progress. They can also make data-driven decisions to resolve those issues.
Project site overview
Various monitoring devices like sensors and alarms can alert the control team of what happens on the construction site. These alerts include noise levels, site temperature and pressure, danger zones, and any other physical effect they need to keep track of. Predictive management becomes possible with IoT remote management as these tech devices can predict topography changes based on physical input.
With IoT for construction, it has become easier for management to map out danger zones and protect employees from potential harm. These surveillance systems are becoming more sophisticated, requiring little human input.
Consequently, safety teams can focus on other high-priority tasks like providing workers with physical and mental medical services and allocating more resources to safety machines and benefits. These industrial IoT devices can also increase human response time and reduce the severity of emergencies.
Administrative tasks and employee management
Teams use IoT processing systems to record, track, and flag project administrative roles automatically. The inclusion of technology in construction easily makes things like bookkeeping, salary payment, and financial reconciliation possible. They can also keep track of employee productivity, helping the business and worker develop a mutually beneficial relationship with wages and expectations.
Managers use these devices to supervise waste generation, management, and disposal.
With industrial IoT, you can:
- • Track the amount of waste generated on-site and determine if they comply with local laws;
- • Discover ways to reduce waste;
- • Manage refuse using environmentally-friendly methods.
Management teams can also access this technology to determine the most cost-effective methods for garbage collection and recycling.
Benefits of IoT in Construction
Every day many industries use the internet and technology to deliver impeccable service and reduce business costs. By combining the power of the internet and construction tech, many construction teams are able to deliver excellent service without additional costs associated with traditional construction methods. Here are some benefits of using IoT in the construction industry:
Manage resources and budgets
One major problem facing traditional construction is budget management. Due to poor tracking, contractors are unable to evaluate the correct quantity and value of resources invested in the project.
IoT allows business owners to monitor and track resource usage in real time by creating complex automatic budgeting systems. It also enables the team to reduce costs by delivering resources on time, keeping an inventory of construction materials and equipment, and reducing waste.
Automatic project management
This remote option provides a flexible working condition that allows managers to oversee the entire health of the project without missing out on key factors. For example, the construction team may employ machines like drones to perform a safety analysis of the working site.
These devices are particularly useful in construction projects on sites where the topography isn’t easily accessible for humans, including places that suffer from alarming pollution levels and are unsafe for humans. Managers can also use these devices to collate post-labor analytics and determine the quality of the work done.
Worker safety has always been one of the primary concerns in the construction business. As such, IoT devices can help construction companies care for their workers by improving protection and alert systems.
In addition to regular safety training and warnings, IoT devices make it possible for managers to monitor worker adherence and implementation. For example, a worker wearing a location-based tracker can help the control room map their movement and alert them if they get too close to dangerous hotspots. These devices also help the team create a healthy work environment where workers no longer spend an insane amount of time on vigilance and can actually focus on their jobs.
These technologies allow many real-time events to be automated, allowing the team to focus on more high-priority tasks. These reduce the need for management to collect data, process findings, and make critical decisions all the time. With a monitoring function, the team can easily automate planning and improve deadline adherence, thereby increasing the effectiveness of project management.
Augmented Reality in Construction: Use and Benefits
Augmented reality is the interaction and integration between the real world and virtual reality. In construction, managers use AR features to ensure on-site construction is in line with the blueprint. Here are some additional benefits AR offers your business:
Accuracy and speed
Before construction work begins, AR can provide a detailed breakdown of the project and the required measurements of materials. Access to this data allows the team to increase speed and accuracy during construction. Once part of the project is completed, the AR device runs a check to pinpoint potential errors that need fixing.
Improved architectural designs
Architects and project designers can use AR to construct better practical designs as the software allows them to determine flaws that might affect construction effectiveness. AR software also provides template designs and virtual models to help construction teams create designs without wasting time and incurring additional costs.
Over the years, AR has proven to be cost-effective, helping teams avoid the need for reconstruction caused by mistakes in the initial construction. With the integration of mobile devices, AR has made it easy for project managers to detect errors and collaborate with on-site teams to ensure project completion.
For instance, in a construction site, after the proposed design is uploaded on the AR mobile application, the application provides detailed information on the construction and provides a list of the materials and equipment needed for the construction process. Then, after a stage is completed, the app points out places where corrections need to be made. This process occurs up until when the construction process has been completed.
The Future of the Construction Industry
Just like the rise of smart technology, the future of smart construction is already happening. With the advent of sensors, augmented reality, wearable devices, asset tracking tools, predictive maintenance systems, and remote equipment management systems, construction teams are using technology in innovative ways to speed up construction services and project management. A study from PWC noted that, moving ahead, over 98% of European industries expect to increase efficiency with integrated technology.
A typical IoT construction environment is one where synergy exists between equipment, materials, and workers. Several companies keep developing products that encourage construction owners to tap into the needs and possibilities of digital tools.
Although many companies are implementing IoT in construction, workers need more time to adapt to the new changes affecting the industry. This slow adaptation often arises because many workers are unaware of the positive effects IoTs have on work speed and efficiency. With proper education, construction companies can increase worker buy-in and improve business delivery.
As construction IoT solutions continue to evolve, businesses and investors are increasingly incentivized to grab a slice of the cake. So, whether you’re a large corporation or a small business just starting out, you stand to gain a lot from the benefits of IoT in construction.