There’s no question that construction work comes with a certain degree of risk. The construction industry has the highest fatal accident rates, comprising a whopping 20% of all U.S. worker fatalities. Perhaps not surprisingly, construction companies are struggling with a widespread labor shortage. With hundreds of workers on a site at once, monitoring is essential for keeping people safe and maintaining safety records. 

Project management has come a long way since managers were making calculations with pen and paper and workers were punching a clock. To manage construction sites, automate machinery, and monitor worker safety, construction firms are increasingly turning to technology, in particular those connected with the Internet of Things (IoT), which can bring practical cost-effective solutions to construction-based problems. 

On the jobsite, IoT helps with everything from tracking workers and materials to enabling remote managerial oversight to providing automated systems for controlling equipment. IoT can provide job-site surveillance and send back reports in order to streamline the building process. IoT systems can also monitor the temperature of materials as well as track their location as well as automate equipment or keep close watch over personnel.

Tracking Workers and Materials

General contractors, subcontractors, and project owners need to keep track of a wide variety of assets––both human and nonhuman––in order to keep a project on budget and on time. IoT can help by monitoring and tracking both people and materials. 

One such technology is Eyrus, a workforce-visibility platform, which provides devices that collect specific metrics from points throughout a jobsite. Real-time data collection is possible utilizing worksite wearables like bluetooth-equipped badges or tags on hardhats. This allows construction managers to track worker attendance and onsite location from the palm of the manager’s hand. 

IoT devices can also keep track of expensive construction materials and building supplies. For example, Jovix is a material-readiness application that provides real-time monitoring in the construction supply chain. Jovix accomplishes this through a combination of cloud software, mobile devices, and attached RFID tags and barcodes that helps keep track of materials. The tags are physically attached to materials, and as they pass through points throughout the supply chain, fixed readers monitor and update the location, usage status, and inventory levels of the materials. 

These IoT systems can also monitor environmental conditions and track material quality. EXACT’s concrete-monitoring sensors can monitor and regulate concrete strength using wireless temperature loggers, allowing construction crews to store concrete with confidence. The system is constantly monitoring the concrete throughout the construction process and sends text alerts to workers and managers when anything significant changes.

Remote oversight

IoT devices enable construction managers to monitor how many people are on-site at any given time as well as where personnel are currently located through wearable security sensors that connect to a smartphone app. One such system is Spot-r-Radius by Triax, which has sensors that can be placed throughout the jobsite and integrates hardware and software to track employee headcount and position in real-time.  

These IoT systems can also provide site security. Raw materials and expensive equipment are prime targets for thieves. Site-wide monitoring can prevent break-ins and protect valuable equipment and materials. Sigfox provides an IoT system with smart alarms that connect directly to the cloud and feed into handheld smart devices. The alarms can even differentiate between animal and human motion, and can immediately alert management to any suspicious activity. 

Nabto has designed its own remote oversight system, in tandem with Cavius, in which smart alarms are controlled remotely with P2P-based IoT. Check out how Nabto’s P2P IoT system can set up a secure and fast connection between your IoT devices.

Safety and productivity 

IoT devices can also help construction companies monitor the health of workers. Numerous IoT wearables allow managers to monitor such health indicators as pulse rate and blood pressure to make sure workers are in fit condition to do their jobs. For example, Smart Cap is a wearable device that tracks brain waves to monitor worker fatigue to prevent collapse or other work-related accidents.

GPS-guided machine-controlled equipment gives the operator a three-dimensional view of the jobsite. This view eliminates error and allows operators to confidently navigate the terrain, and by monitoring the people, objects, and structures surrounding the machinery. Sitech Northeast provides a GPS system to track the position of all types of heavy machinery, such as excavators, dozers, motor graders, milling machines, compactors, and pavers. 

CraneView from Versatile is a simple plug-and-play hook, a hardware device attached to a construction crane that connects to software. As a building project progresses, these systems use artificial intelligence and IoT technology to capture and analyze construction field data from an aerial view above the site. For example, CraneView captures how long a task takes and sends reports back to a phone or computer. This can help streamline processes and weed out inefficiency.

IoT has also started incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) into construction projects. Built Robotics creates an after-market system that can convert any excavator into an AI-powered robot that allows construction crews to perform hands-free work.

In conclusion

It’s really no overstatement to say that IoT has the power to transform the construction industry. The combination of smart devices, internet connectivity, and smartly designed user interfaces can help construction companies streamline their processes, improve efficiency, and ensure compliance with safety regulations. Contact Nabto today to see how IoT systems can make your construction business safer, more efficient, and more profitable.

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