What is the Internet of Things – IoT?
In its simple form, the internet of things – IoT is the connection of devices through the internet. At home, we can experience it when it applies to appliances, lights, thermostats, smartphones, toys, and more! From your smartphone, homeowners can adjust their thermostats, turn on lights. This what all happening today, but the possibilities are truly unlimited.
The internet of things (IoT) is the inter-networking of physical devices, vehicles, buildings, and other items—embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity that enable these objects to collect and exchange data.
The range of applications is vast. When you consider the possibility of connecting any machine, any system, or any site to the Internet to know at any time what’s happening, it rapidly becomes clear that the only limit in finding uses for IoT is our imagination.
The internet of things- IoT is an enormous network of connected things. Even people can connect to the IoT through wearables and smartphones. As per the estimates, there may be over 26 billion connected devices by 2020.
Internet of Things – IoT in Construction
While many do not view the construction industry as technologically advanced, the IoT in construction is not as far off as we think. It is something that is achievable for many contractors. In fact, one of your teams may be working on a smart (i.e., connected) job site.
The construction industry facing productivity difficulty. Many projects run over time, over budget, and the industry is slower than others at readjusting to change and it’s costing companies billions.
Large projects are taking up to 20% longer to finish than scheduled and are up to 80% over budget, according to research from McKinsey.
Other industries, such as manufacturing, automobile have turned to it and other new technologies to help unlock productivity growth so, it also could be the solution for the construction industry.
The real estate and constructions by large will be transformed into IoT devices with this technology. The objects will be connected to the internet and data shared among them. Imagine a bridge communicating with your vehicle to inform you of all possible routes you can use to avoid traffic, this will be astounding.
The IOT has become far more accessible as the internet has become more available to people. The cost of connecting is decreasing, and many devices now have Wi-Fi capabilities and sensors built right into them.
What role does IoT play in the construction industry?
Read on to find out how the Internet of Things is influencing today’s construction industry in remarkable ways.
The Internet of Things used in the construction industry to streamline processes, reduce waste, increase safety, and ultimately save money and time. In the construction industry, the IoT is sometimes referred to as telematics. The IoT, or telematics, allows people to keep up to date on important assessment information about their equipment such as the speed of idling, tire pressure, and GPS tracking.
To better understand how IoT functions in the construction industry, here are some practical ways that this technology is entering the construction zone.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming every facet of the building – how we inhabit them, how we manage them, and even how we build them. There is a vast environment around today’s buildings, and no part of the environment is unaffected.
Benefits of IoT in the Construction Industry
As previously stated, if IoT is the connection of devices (including people), then this is already happening in construction. Many construction sites have internet connectivity to enable a connected job site. These are more than just fancy toys. Connected devices on job sites provide a number of benefits to the project, the companies, and most of all the employees.
The following are the possibilities the IoT is impacting the construction industry.
Providing a varying range of data
Fluid temperatures, engine load, pressures, and other operational parameters are the most sophisticated systems used currently. These provide varying ranges of data depending on the kind of software being used. Having the best system in data analytics will provide less downtime and enable more predictive decision making.
Homes and offices with smart devices transform into something that is most relevant and can communicate. There are even more connected devices than people in the world thus more accurate to get information from objects. Energy usage can be monitored by the use of thermostats, digital power meters, and circuit breakers. this increases the lifespan of any constructed building as facility managers address issues promptly before they become devastating and more expensive issues.
Improved worker safety
Many field workers have smartphones. Frequently many job sites enforce strict rules on phone usage to maintain worker safety. However, many employees have downloaded safety apps, like a fall detector, that work in the background even when the phone is in use. This functions in the same vein as a wearable device and notifies a setlist of contacts in the event of fall. There are several different wearables to can improve safety. Some are separate devices that a worker wears. While some are embedded in personal protective equipment such as vests, helmets, and boots. They all function in the same way to monitor worker’s vital to prevent accidents before they happen.
With the data captured on the job site, everyone in the office benefits with real-time progress reporting. Some of the ways that stakeholders receive progress reports include electronic daily reports, data reported directly to the BIM, drone footage, or internet-connected video cameras. There are a plethora of internet-connected devices on the job site to feed data back to the office in real-time. The real-time reporting allows stakeholders to gauge where the project is at and make any adjustments to keep the project on track.
Sensors and RFID tags on materials and equipment can help in proactive ordering materials and servicing equipment. When an employee checks out or ships material to a job site, he scans the item. The system detects low inventory and notifies an employee to place an order for more material. Similarly, sensors on equipment monitor usage levels to flag potential issues for preventive maintenance. Previously running out of materials or equipment maintenance would cause delays. However, IoT in construction delivers automated workflows to minimize delays and keep projects moving forward.
Improved building lifespan
Smart thermostats, circuit breakers, and digital power meters are some of the ways building operators can monitor energy usage. If any abnormalities are seen, notifications are delivered to address quickly. With the proactive monitoring of building facilities, IoT increases the entire lifespan of the building. Now facility managers can address any issues promptly before they become more devastating and more expensive issues.
The value of IoT is data. But what can be done with all of this data? Companies utilize this data to make continuous improvements. Data unearths that the operations team can refine certain processes to deliver projects quicker.
Additionally, data uncover that certain materials or equipment have a longer lifespan. While the materials or equipment are more expensive to purchase, it doesn’t need to be replaced as frequently. Therefore, it is less costly in the long run. The data from IoT allows companies to make continuous improvements to execute more effectively and be more profitable.
Any machine that can be connected to the web can be given instruction remotely. This can be a valuable option when machinery needs to function in places that might be hazardous to humans due to pollution or other risks.
The use of remote operations can also keep humans from working with particularly dangerous equipment. Construction workplace injuries are fairly common. Remotely operated machinery has the potential to help reduce the risk that workers face on the worksite.
Wearable technology and devices have a very important place in the construction industry. “Wearable tech items” refer to any item that can be worn on the body that helps provide information to the user through connectivity.
Some examples of this technology might sensors that monitor the worker’s bodies and the surrounding environment to help ensure the safety of the worker.
Keeping Track of Equipment, Supplies, and Levels
The Internet of Things is largely beneficial to the construction industry because it can send on the minute information on construction equipment, tools, and workers. Wasted time can burn through funding, but RFID and sensors installed on the equipment and tools can greatly reduce the time and cost of a job by making things work much more efficiently. The internet of things will play a great role in theses type of activities.
Building Information Modeling (BIM)
Building information modeling (BIM) is another feature of IoT that is becoming increasingly more integral to the process of building and construction.
To put it simply, BIM gives businesses the ability to create 3D models of a building. But it’s really more than that because it holds all of the building’s structures and systems in an integrated and responsive design.
To make it even more compelling, BIM is not limited only to building structures. It can also be used in any type of construction including roads, bridges, utilities, architecture, and more.
When units of supply are labeled with Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) tags, a system on-site can count them. When the count drops below a given level, the system can trigger a request from a central system to order more. Idle time goes down and projects have better chances of being completed on time. Costs are also contained because the construction company does not need to buy in significantly more supplies than it is likely to use at any one time. Instead, just-in-time provision becomes possible automatically.
Construction tools, machinery, and equipment tracking
likewise, you’ll know where that pneumatic drill ended up or how many excavators are currently located at a given construction site. This will help reduce the time lost looking for misplaced items as well as the cost of purchasing replacements. GPS data is already being used to monitor vehicle fleet locations.
It also allows excavating or landscaping equipment to be precisely positioned on the terrain to then automatically carry out directives using a virtual map of the digging, cutting or other terrain modifications to be made.
Equipment servicing and repair
Sensors in machines allow them to transmit information about their status and any need for service or repairs. Fixing machines before they break makes more sense than waiting for failure, which by Murphy’s Law is all too likely to happen just at the wrong time.
Remote usage monitoring
For equipment used by workers, whether power drills or articulated earth-movers, the IoT means construction hours can be logged automatically. Limits can be monitored, so as to prevent worker fatigue and possible accidents. Wearable computing in the form of wristbands can also monitor driver health and alertness. Action can be taken if the limits are in danger of being exceeded.
Power and fuel savings
Via the IoT, sites can send back information on the amount of electrical power they use, so that after-hours lighting can be adjusted for energy-savings.
Machines can send back information on idling time (which uses fuel) so that on and off periods can be adjusted without penalizing projects through the time needed to restart machines.
Augmented Reality (AR)
Google Glass offers AR, but you have to be wearing the Google Glass goggles to make use of it. The next step will likely be to integrate AR directly into equipment visors and vehicle windshields. Operational instructions or navigational and driving information will then come over the Internet of things – IoT in real-time, and be overlaid onto the real-world view of the job to be done or the journey to be traveled.
Precise Construction Management
IoT offers insights into construction assets and with preventive maintenance avoids downtime. IoT in construction provides the chance of advanced tagging and trailing of materials or trucks related to your industry. This technology will considerably cut back the increased prices of lost or misdirected resources. This is known as IoT construction management.
The construction sector is conditioned by deadlines and targets. It’s mandatory to avoid backlogs because they result in budget increases. IoT can enable more readiness and efficiency thus improving productivity. IoT leaves people with less menial work, and, instead, they’re allocated more time to interact with project owners and amongst themselves, generating new ideas to improve project delivery and customer satisfaction.
Safety and Security
Some of the biggest challenges encountered on a construction job site are theft and safety. Human security agents are not adequate to monitor a huge site properly. Using IoT enabled tags, any material or theft of items is easily resolved as these sensors will notify the current location of the materials or item. It’s no longer necessary to send a human agent out to check out everything.
IoT allows for the creation of a digital real-time job site map together with the updated risks associated with the works and notifies every worker when getting closer to any risk or entering a dangerous environment.
UAVs and Autonomous Vehicles
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and autonomous vehicles are gaining popularity. Monitoring and surveillance at huge construction projects which span huge spaces are being made easy through UAVs, especially drones. Further, autonomous dump trucks and excavators are being tested in various projects to limit exposure of human life to unsafe work situations. e.g. Autonomous TMA Truck, Volvo Trucks, Smart Construction by Komatsu.
Real-time tracking and cloud-based data sets help construction companies reduce theft, increase productivity, and control usage costs. The beauty of IoT enabled solutions is that even the smallest companies and the shortest-term projects have found smart, wireless systems to be a cost-eﬀective option.
Another exciting trend shaking up the construction industry involves the application of IoT in concrete curing. Here, sensors are embedded in concrete during casting, and they follow the curing of concrete in real-time allowing the construction manager to monitor and plan their schedules with certainty.
Waste Management and Structural Health Monitoring
Waste management is a critical consideration on a modern construction site, especially nowadays given the increased attention to the carbon footprint of the construction process. It’s also crucial to immediately clean trash on a job site to create space and reduce hazards.
Monitoring waste disposal bins or vehicles in a cost-effective way is now possible through IoT trackers. Failure to handle waste properly may result in penalties for the contractor from authorities. Internet of things – IoT is also used in structural health monitoring to detect vibrations, cracks and conditions of critical building members and civil structures during and after construction.
Corrective to preventive maintenance
Within the development business, one of the critical operational prices is instrumentality repairs. However, with the advancements created within the fields of embedded code, sensors technology, property tools, and machinery related to IoT in the construction industry offers preventive maintenance. Instead of corrective maintenance, preventive maintenance, approaching allows needing a fix.
Reduce administrative expedience
IoT in the construction industry offers period info to create a lot of precise forecasts, data-driven choices. It informs about altering tasks that might have relied on manual processes. With IoT, paperwork, lost or late forms, low accuracy, and unwanted internal interval become a factor of the past. This may put an end to the paper process, which can save your business on printing and trees as well.
Tracking labor hours
At a construction site, many subcontractors work on everything from HVAC systems to glassworks, and plumbing works. If the final contractor is billed for 6,000 man hours of plumbing work, they generally won’t be ready to verify if that variety is correct or inflated. And since several contracts with subs are pricey, there’s not sufficient incentive for them. Once the contractor implements labor trailing with a low trailing badge, he will then check all labor hours. Hence with the use of IoT on construction site, tracking of labor hours gets easier.
Monitoring for loss interference, security and insurance protection
Vandalism and thieving are common at building sites. Easy IoT systems that sight movement or activate observance instrumentation will act as an extra level of security. There are several instances of insurance losses throughout construction, as materials rust or burn due to exposure or mishandling. An IoT-enabled system alerts a construction company of any smoke or water, to take any action before the hazard takes place.
What IoT technology can do for contractors?
It’s all about the total cost of ownership (TCO). How much does unscheduled downtime cost when a machine breaks down? Why does one of your operators use 40% more fuel than the average? Which parts or consumables can wait longer before being replaced? These are questions you may be able to answer if you look at the available data.
One thing you shouldn’t do is ignore the new technologies. Install the free app or log in to the manufacturer’s website, maybe you’ll glean some bit of information about your machines and operators that make a big difference. Just think, if you have 10 machines running and can save five gallons of fuel per machine every day, that adds $25,000 to your annual bottom line.
The future state of IoT in construction? It’s still really up to the imagination at this point. Maybe your excavator will send out a message that it needs a new hydraulic control valve, and a self-driving service truck will arrive at the job site and fabricate the part on its mobile 3D printer. One thing’s for sure, the Internet of Things will definitely be an area to keep an eye on.
Notwithstanding the forecasts of huge job losses, IoT adoption is unlikely to replace the human element in construction. Instead, it will alter business models in the industry, reduce expensive errors, reduce worksite injuries and make building operations more efficient.
The best approach for construction companies to introduce technology is to prioritize investment based on areas where IoT can have the most immediate impact as informed by their unique needs.
IoT is making significant headways for contractors looking to improve processes, reducing waste, and make more money. With the other technology available in the construction industry, there is even more room for improvement.
In terms of this type of technology is capable of, the sky is the limit. There is a growing demand for smart buildings — buildings that are designed to use automated processes that can automatically control things like heating, air conditioning, and lighting. Smart buildings help with routine maintenance and can identify potential problems in a system. They’re also very helpful for reducing energy waste and are valued for their lowered environmental impact.