The construction industry has much to gain from adopting new technology to address common industry problems like labour shortages, unplanned delays, miscommunication, extreme weather conditions and equipment failure.
When technological devices are utilized on a worksite to provide feedback, management and control, this establishes a smart worksite. Real-time and historical data is utilized for the next steps in the construction, allowing for informed and proactive decision-making that reduces waste, improves quality and controls costs. On the construction site, having machines that connect to the internet means those working on the project can access real-time information from anywhere. Having information at your fingertips gives you more control over your projects.
While smart home automation utilizes technology to improve living conditions and efficiency, the benefits of implementing similar technology on large construction sites can be a thousand-fold. The main differences are not only in what inputs are being measured, but the requirement for accuracy, flexible setup, more robust hardware for varying conditions, and interface requirements that make it easy to understand large datasets.
Traits of a smart worksite To be considered ‘Smart’- a worksite should have these 3 key traits:
Using just one smart device on site doesn’t necessarily mean that your site is smart. It’s the integration of services that work together to streamline tasks that give a worksite the smart edge. Smart tech designed for one purpose can often be used for several and should be integrated with other devices.
Devices that are connected to the internet are a necessity for smart worksites. This allows for real-time availability of data, feedback and control. Project managers and superintendents need to know what’s going on at all times in order to keep true control over a construction site. Stepping away from traditional methods, a more connected system with instant notifications lets crucial information get where it needs to go when it is still helpful.
Developing a smart worksite means allowing it to function at its full capacity. Equipment and software need to be built tough enough for challenging conditions, so that you can count on them when it matters most. Having smart systems in place that only work some of the time is just not helpful enough when it comes to minimizing risks and trying to guarantee quality construction.
In 2017, WesternOne (now United Rentals) developed a smart technology for worksites called WEDGE. It’s a fully-integrated, reliable remote monitoring service providing accessible data 24/7 from the worksite, to your smartphone, tablet or computer. WEDGE uses robust sensors installed on the worksite to monitor conditions such as temperature, humidity, and fuel levels and sends instant text alerts to site managers and team members if set parameters are exceeded.