The way in which the construction industry used to work traditionally has been completely transformed by the advent of the Internet of Things. Providing many features like machine to machine communication, real-time access to information and connection to innumerable devices, IoT has modernized the communication in the industry.
IoT has facilitated an innovative style of construction by providing greater asset and employee control through tools like heavy equipment management, telematics, and asset tracking. Let us look at some of the ways in which IoT is facilitating and improving construction:
Remote Monitoring and Operation
IoT allows you to connect a machine to the web using a wireless connection, enabling you to monitor it remotely and give instructions too. The machines can operate on-site and be managed from the office. This is especially beneficial for high-pollution areas. Wearable devices also help the workers who are present on-site to access any piece of information online. This saves time and energy and might prove to be life-saving in the event of an emergency.
If the stock is fitted with sensors and tags, the on-site system will be able to keep a track of the number of units. When the inventory count drops beyond a level, the system can immediately place a request for further ordering. This ensures that you never run out of supplies and the cost of urgent ordering is eliminated.
Tracking of Tools and Equipment
IoT sensors enable smart tracking of tools and equipment like drills and excavators. GPS tracking can also track vehicle fleets. Tracking of tools and equipment not only save the time spent in looking for them, but also save the cost incurred to replace lost items.
Equipment Repair and Maintenance
Smart sensors in the machine can be used to track important machinery functioning information like heating, fuel level, working status etc. These sensors enable them to share such valuable information to determine what repairs will be needed and when. With greater control of the machine, you can conduct timely repairs and proper maintenance of the machine. Maintaining the machine before a serious breakdown will help you keep your equipment in better condition and prevent huge expenditures.
Saving Fuel and Power
With the help of IoT, the amount of electrical power used on the site can be controlled through automation of the lighting and other energy utilizing equipment. For example, you can control the on-site after-hours lighting to save on energy. Similarly, machines can also share their idle time and other related information so that the off periods can be utilized more intelligently.
Building Information Modelling (BIM)
Sensors placed in the building can provide valuable information about how different materials of the building are being affected by the change in climates and the general passage of time. They can provide important information about the behavior of the building during tremors or excess weight, and what changes can be implemented to make things more efficient.
The construction industry is a large producer of wastes that harm the environment. With IoT, designers are reviewing their methodologies to produce and construct high-performance buildings. For example, sensors implanted in the concrete floors can easily provide important information about various mechanical properties. Similarly, intelligent sensors fit in rooms can control the heating, cooling and electricity usage when the room is vacant.
Enhanced Safety of Workers
Many companies are producing devices. Devices can integrate with the existing PPE like hats, jackets, boots etc. It enhances the safety of the workers. As most of these devices are equipped with GPS. They can also help in tracking the workers wearing or using them. Some ways in which IoT has enhanced the safety of the workers include:
- Tracking and alerting site manager of on-site accidents like slips, falls etc.
- Devices providing illumination in dark areas
- Smart sensors in hats and boots that can track a worker’s body temperature, heart rate etc., to warn the workers of possible fainting and other potential health hazards.
IoT has already penetrated the construction world and is completely changing the way things were done traditionally. It has improved the construction and management procedures and enhanced the security of the workers and the people around it. However, there is much more to come soon.
The Future of IoT in Construction
With the widespread use of IoT, the construction industry will never have to face any uncertainties in the future. Tracking of all tools, machinery, devices, and people will give better insights into the status of the project.
Soon, with the integration of IoT and Artificial Intelligence, technology will be able to offer around the clock access to real-time information from the construction site. The software will also be able to resolve small human issues without human intervention. Within a few years technology will be able to offer improvement in efficiency, productivity, and cost-savings.