To improve processes, construction firms need to ask themselves: how can technology be used to complete construction projects faster, more efficiently, safer, and with more coordination between people, locations, equipment, and devices?
Connected construction is a connectivity-focused innovation in construction site management that brings everything together via wireless connections to provide firms with a greater ability to make better decisions.
Learn more about connected construction and how tech can be used to complete construction projects below.
What is Connected Construction?
Connected construction is an encompassing term used when describing the construction equipment (vehicles, devices, people, locations, software, etc.) that are able to communicate with each other via wireless/digital technology. All this tech is managed by a single organization that collects data from each connected device or piece of equipment to help communicate, collect and share data, and monitor their continued effectiveness.
94% of businesses have experienced a positive ROI with IoT and other connected device investments
It lives in a very similar vein to other commonly known terms like industrial internet of things where many devices are connected, communicate, and help businesses improve and monitor everything based on data collected.
Benefits of Connected Construction
Connected construction brings many benefits to construction firms of all sizes because it doesn't take nearly as many resources as most would expect to connect everything on a construction site. Simple technologies can work together to provide considerable improvements to the way a site works and how a firm can manage a major project.
Here are a few of the largest benefits that firms can expect when connecting their equipment:
- Improved Communication: Smart devices like phones, tablets, and computers all being connected can vastly improve communication between those on-site, in the office, on the road, and anywhere else. All channels of communication can be actively available to everyone at any time.
- More Transparency: As for equipment and other devices, sensors within them can help firms know more about that specific piece of equipment (is it working well? Does it need repairs? Etc.). This collects a lot of data that can be used to monitor the status of each piece of equipment as well as ways to potentially optimize processes.
- Risk Management: More transparency and communication will naturally lead to improved risk management as more unknowns are removed and more information is readily available. Issues that arise throughout a project can be better predicted to avoid downtime, accidents, and other detriments that might slow down a process.
- More Accurate Estimates and Timelines: More data helps firms to make better estimates which means more accurate timelines for deliverables.
- Faster Updates: Firms can get real-time updates on the status of projects, equipment, people, and much more.
- Risk Mitigation: With more transparency, key stakeholders can get a better idea of project timelines, bugetary concerns, inventory levels, and more information that helps keep projects in line with objectives and from failing outright. Connected construction removes many unknowns typically associated with a project, enabling better risk management from project leads.
How Can Technology Be Used to Complete Constructions?
The technology that makes all this connectivity work is not tech that most people would be unfamiliar with in most cases. Smartphones, tablets, laptops, equipment sensors, and other pieces of tech are not new, but the way they work together is truly innovative. The software acts as the bridge between them all (the cloud and other wireless technologies) by connecting the previously unconnected and opening a line of communication between them where previously there was none.
Elevating this technology in this way has opened the door for construction firms to gain additional insights that didn’t even exist before.
This new era of connection is ramping up and ushering in a new era of collaboration, transparency, data, and control that'll allow firms to make better decisions on project planning, equipment maintenance, worker management, project bids, and more.
Examples of Connected Construction Technology
Of the technology most used in connected construction, here are some of the most common, most helpful, and most effective for construction firms:
Wirelessly connected sensors provided a plethora of data to construction firms regarding job site status. Sensors on equipment can help adjust for more accurate timelines, predict repairs and maintenance, improve safety, increase production, and more.
From something as simple as alerting you to lost equipment production due to part failures or wear to showing you how weather and other elements are impacting everything, sensors provide the info you need to make better decisions.
Additionally, wearable sensors can track health numbers like heart rate, posture, body temperatures, and other things to help keep workers safe and healthy.
When your team is spread out amongst multiple job sites, offices, on the road, or working with suppliers, communication is key. Connected devices (phones, laptops, tablets, computers, watches, etc.) open up all possible channels for communication to ensure nobody is disconnected from their team no matter where they are.
AI and Machine Learning
All the data collected by equipment and wearable sensors can be stored, tracked, and analyzed using AI and machine learning to identify trends. These trends can then be used in predictive analytics to help firms know when parts need replacing, equipment is faltering, or if something isn’t being used to its highest potential.
Related: Quick Guide to Decision Making with Hyperautomation and Data Analytics
This helps to avoid downtime by being able to pre-order replacement parts, to repair or replace faulty equipment, and optimize job sites using data.
Many of the tasks we’ve discussed above can also be automated to save time, reduce errors, and keep everything moving efficiently. For example, you can automate part ordering if your data suggests a replacement be brought in, or you can automate data collection and organization to ensure your data is easily accessible and usable in everyday decision-making. Typically, these types of tasks are manually done which means they take up a lot of time and can be easily forgotten.
Related: 10 Benefits of Process Automation
Forgotten tasks lead to production halts, downtime, inefficiencies, and more, but they can be avoided by automating key processes.
Explore the Technologies Needed for Connected Construction
Construction firms that want to improve their processes, connect their technology, and improve all aspects of their construction site need to turn to technology as the answer. Connected construction is an innovative way to use technology to complete construction projects as effectively and efficiently as possible. But, with so many innovative technologies available, it can be overwhelming to not only decide which pieces of tech to adopt but also how to build a plan to bring them all together within your organization.