How IoT is Changing the Construction Industry

June 23

The construction industry has not stopped evolving for the past thirty years. Innovations are shaking up the building sector, which is increasingly open to the development of technological concepts such as connected objects and IoT (Internet of Things). These tools help improve the speed of construction, the efficiency of workers, and even safety on construction sites.

Related: Robots in Construction: A Changing Workforce

What is a connected object?

To put it simply, IoT is a network of interconnected physical objects that can share information, hence the name Internet of Things. So how can IoT transform the construction industry?

Energy-saving on construction sites

Sensors on water, gas, and electricity meters can provide real-time energy readings that operators can evaluate to bring optimization to the site’s energy consumption patterns.

Management of material stocks

Do you have enough wood or cement? Using a fleet of tracking sensors coupled with a control console in the form of an application or software simplifies inventory management.

Employee safety

Thanks to the new generation of connected headsets, you can improve the safety of your employees on construction sites. Indeed, these helmets are notably equipped with high-voltage line sensors to prevent the risk of electrocution. They can also signal the presence of workers on the tracks or announce the arrival of trains on construction sites taking place near railways.

Read on: How IoT Is Transforming Civil Engineering

Real-time monitoring

Sensor data assists construction companies in staying on schedule as well as driving rapid improvement of processes. Construction firms often incur large losses from downtime caused by a periodic supplier of stock or a worker’s failure to execute. IoT can help to stay on track.

Remote monitoring

Thanks to geolocation sensors installed on your machines and linked to an application on your smartphone, you can monitor your site in real-time and evaluate the activities of the various workstations even when you are far away.

Constructing with precision

Through the collection of large data sets, IoT empowers workers with actionable insights. Material and vehicle tracking are made possible, thanks to IoT. By using this innovation, the costs associated with property damage or losses or are reduced.

Hourly labor tracking

Construction sites often employ subcontractors for nearly every aspect of their work, from HVAC to glasswork to plumbing. But even if they receive a bill for 7,000 person-hours of plumbing work, the contractor is unlikely to cross-check that work. Tracking labor hours becomes easier with IoT at construction sites.

Access management

Access management can also benefit from advances in the connected building. Traditional badges and physical keys, which are complex to manage, can be replaced by mobile applications. This system can facilitate occasional and regular visitors, such as delivery people.

In addition, companies can deploy connected locks. Unlike physical locks, these can be reconfigured as needed to allocate or refuse access to a user identified using different devices (smartphone, biometrics, IoT chips, etc.)

Read more: Artificial Intelligence of Things: Edging Closer to Artificial Consciousness

Machine control

On construction sites, human operators control heavy equipment used for heavy machine work. IoT-enabled machine controls can simplify this process. Intelligent machines can improve efficiency and autonomy in the construction industry. These machines can function more precisely with IoT sensors, requiring less human intervention.

Also, a system like this can keep operators apprised of equipment status constantly, so a breakdown or failure won’t occur unexpectedly. Keeping construction equipment in good shape reduces the risk of downtime from unplanned maintenance.

Wearable devices

Construction has several good use cases for wearable technology and devices. In the field of Wearable technology is any device that provides information to the user through its connectivity. These sensors can monitor activity data and detect when a worker falls, which helps speed up response times to accidents.

Equipment maintenance and repair

Machines have sensors that allow them to communicate information about their condition and whether they need repair or service. Machines that can fail will likely fail at just the wrong time, so fixing them before they break makes more sense than waiting for failures to occur. IoT sensors for maintenance and monitoring can help to identify issues and schedule maintenance and repair. A digital revolution is underway in the infrastructure sector due to the democratization of intelligent objects. As such, construction industry will continue it steady path towards digitization. In the future, we are more likely to see new capabilities and tools become available that improve site safety, worker health, and productivity.

Johannes Beekman

About the author

After 25 years in engineering, Johannes Beekman founded IoT Marketing with the goal of helping companies bring wide-scale awareness to their inventions. He received a Master of Science in Physics degree from the Eindhoven University of Technology, and a Master in Business Administration degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and started his career in the semiconductor field. Johannes pioneered two successful wafer fab startups for Philips Electronics; one in Europe and the second one in Asia. And served as Senior Program Manager for Sematech, where he provided solutions for semiconductor industry-wide product improvement and cost reduction challenges. Johannes has also published articles on several trade-focused websites.


construction, construction management, smart building, smart construction

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