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Telematics in construction
The connected construction site – IoT in the construction industry
Where is the excavator shovel? Are all the machines on the construction site being used to full capacity? How can site managers prevent the excavator from requiring maintenance at precisely the time when it is urgently needed?
Image: Connected assets on a construction site
These questions are answered immediately on connected construction sites. Regardless of the size of the company, everyone benefits from the digitized construction site, where information is gathered at a central point and can be accessed at any time. This enables construction companies to optimize utilization and make processes more efficient.
Because the excavator shovel reveals where it is by means of a beacon. The construction machines broadcast their location and transmit further information, for example, about their current utilization rate. Those responsible receive all the information from the construction sites centrally in a telematics portal, can see the utilization of the machines and equipment, make smart decisions on upcoming maintenance times and can avoid downtimes through predictive planning.
Better planning through clear information
Many processes on construction sites are delayed because important information is missing. The larger the construction project, the more complicated it becomes to keep track. Without tools, this flood of information is almost impossible to manage. Who is supposed to remember where the hammer drill was last put down, when which machine needs to be serviced, and where a bottleneck may arise because equipment utilization is too high?
Analyzing data – deriving actions
The connected construction site collects data and makes it available to those responsible in a clearly structured form. Construction site managers do not have to laboriously collect information themselves, but can derive actions directly. This means that machines, equipment or add-on parts can be found immediately and downtimes can be significantly reduced. As a result, the productivity and efficiency of the construction company increases and completion deadlines are easily met.
Information at your fingertips, anytime!
This means that construction companies have all the information they need at their fingertips. This benefits not only procurement planning, because it can take the utilization of the equipment as a basis, but also the controlling department can assign trips to specific cost centers and invoice them more easily, and the workshop manager can organize his maintenance planning more efficiently. The IoT device sends information to an IoT portal, which is able to trigger an alarm if a device leaves a previously defined zone or a machine is put into operation without permission. In the event of unusual activity, the theft protection system is activated immediately and those responsible for the site can react quickly.
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How does a connected construction site work?
The goal of the connected construction site is to have all the important data of a site combined in one central location. This means that every object, every “asset” on a construction site, must be able to transmit information about its status. The ability to transmit data via interfaces is now integrated as standard in numerous construction machines. Other assets or small devices without a power supply can be equipped with special tracking hardware. This ensures that all the information is stored and processed centrally without gaps in a software solution, for example on an IoT / telematics platform such as the t-matix Construction Solution (TCS). The resulting overview of the digitized construction site enables site managers and other responsible parties to keep an eye on processes and optimize them. After all, only those who have all the information can plan ahead, notice undesirable developments at an early stage and thus avoid delays and increase productivity.
How is the data transmitted?
On a construction site, a variety of assets from various manufacturers as well as different technical solutions are usually used. The information is either sent directly to the portal via sensors installed in the construction machines or are transmitted by external systems (e.g. manufacturer platform) via interfaces.
Clean & complete data
One of the biggest challenges is therefore to have information from all devices and systems flow together centrally in one portal. This is only possible if a solution is highly flexible and reliably absorbs data from various interfaces, sensors and hardware. Site managers can only benefit from the connected construction site if the data arrives and is processed in full in the portal. That is why sufficient interfaces to as many manufacturers as possible and the ongoing expansion of those are a must-have for high-performance IoT-software.
Secure & flexible data transmission
Another important factor: security and flexibility in data transmission. Every sender needs a receiver and the transmission must be protected from access by third parties. Otherwise, unauthorized parties may have access to valuable information. In particular, the portal on which the data converges must be appropriately secured and must not allow unauthorized persons to access this data. The data is transmitted, encrypted of course, in different ways such as NB IoT, LTE, 2G, 3G and soon also 5G up to Bluetooth 4.0.
Site managers can only benefit from the connected construction site if the data arrives and is processed in full in the portal.
- Rudolf Windbacher, IoT construction expert , t-matix
Why is IoT so important for construction companies?
The “Internet of Things” significantly expands communication possibilities and enables information to be accessed anytime and anywhere. As a result, it is no longer necessary for those responsible to be on site in order to make smart decisions and to react to undesirable developments. Construction site managers have access to all the necessary information from assets, equipment and machines in one portal and can derive optimization potential directly in the office or via the app. This saves time and increases efficiency.
Not only because of the multitude of potentials and opportunities, IoT is a trending topic and will revolutionize the way we make decisions on construction sites. The benefits are obvious for any construction company: making better decisions through big data and thus increasing productivity. IoT is a megatrend and industries such as the construction industry are just starting to unleash its potential. Those who start with IoT today will be one step ahead of their competition tomorrow.
The t-matix Construction Solution (TCS) is an end-to-end IoT solution specifically developed for the construction industry – from small device tracking and fleet management to manufacturer interfaces and ERP connections.