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The global construction industry is facing numerous challenges, such as pressure to increase profitability and productivity, labor shortages and stagnant productivity. The connection of data from a myriad of sources through the Internet of Things (IoT) offers infinite possibilities to those who take advantage of it.
The IoT can address the biggest challenges facing the construction industry, and by resolving them helps to future-proof the sector. The IoT is only limited through our ability to devise applications for it. It is almost limitless; therefore, its use is flourishing across all industries, including construction.
Sensors allow data to be collected from a plethora of inputs, which can be monitored, analyzed and integrated through other connected technology through the internet. The construction industry is being future-proofed by following various applications of the IoT.
IoT Supports Remote Operation of Construction Sites
To begin with, the IoT supports the remote operation of construction sites. Areas that are dangerous for a human workforce to operate in, either because of the terrain or because of hazardous pollution, are able to be worked on through the relay of data from machinery to remote operators, allowing construction to be managed at a distance. In addition, this relay of data can work inversely. Workers on site who need access to information, such as manuals, can get the information they need instantly through connected technologies such as Google Glass. Construction becomes future-proofed because this application enables construction on difficult sites and cuts the cost of mistakes or errors, as well as reducing time wasted due to the worker’s ability to access necessary information instantly.
Applications of RFID Tags and Sensors
RFID tags can be added to supplies which are automatically scanned, sending data on unit counts to a connected application. This can be programmed to send information to automatically re-stock when levels are too low. This future-proofs the industry by providing a sustainable system meaning projects are more likely to be completed on time, as it reduces the waiting time for supplies.
Next, further time can be saved by using sensors to relay data on where equipment is located, which also eliminates the cost of replacing it. Sensors placed on equipment can also do more than track the item, they can guide for their precise positioning and can carry out instructions. This further boosts profitability through reducing time to complete tasks and it also relies less on the availability of a human workforce which is in short supply.
Sensors can also report data on a machine’s status, alerting staff to any requirements for servicing and repairs before a breakdown happens. This supports productivity by reducing stagnant downtime.
The IoT opens up the ability for construction to reduce power and fuel usage. Sensors like this are already being used in other industries; people are even using them in their homes to collect data on their energy usage and identify where they could be making savings. The IoT also opens up the possibility of automatically cutting energy usage when not required.
Equipment with AR Technology
Finally, the future of applications is likely to include the incorporation of augmented reality into the construction environment. It has been suggested that the next move will be to develop equipment with AR technology already integrated, such as visors and vehicle windscreens that can connect with the IoT, allowing information to be overlaid onto the vista in real-time.
Data has many current and future applications that support the future of the construction industry by connecting it with the IoT and providing resolutions to some of the industry’s major barriers to success.
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