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The Internet of Things (IoT) is helping construction companies boost their productivity, improve site safety, reduce project costs, and much more. IoT in construction has rapidly gained popularity over recent years, with new devices, features, and capabilities coming to market every year. There are numerous amazing ways that any construction company can add IoT into their projects and workflows, including these top six applications.
1. Predictive Maintenance
One of the most convenient applications for IoT in construction is predictive maintenance. Anyone familiar with the construction industry knows what a big deal vehicle maintenance is. If a vehicle experiences a major breakdown, it can seriously impact productivity, delay projects, and result in expensive repairs. IoT sensors can prevent all of this through predictive maintenance, also sometimes called preventive maintenance.
IoT sensors integrated into construction vehicles will monitor performance around the clock and report the data back to an IoT hub. This data is valuable for all kinds of things, such as tracking downtime or fuel consumption. The performance data collected by the sensors can indicate when a vehicle is in need of maintenance long before it begins to show warning signs of an imminent breakdown. This allows vehicle technicians to perform quick and easy tune-ups before a breakdown can happen, reducing the likelihood of a large, expensive repair and the resulting downtime.
2. Construction Site Safety
Safety is a top priority for every construction company. IoT is the perfect tool to help construction companies meet their safety goals and improve site safety on every project. From personal safety wearables to smart hazard detection, there are numerous ways IoT can make construction sites safer.
For example, construction wearables help site workers stay safe while performing their jobs. These smart wearables include watches, vest clip-on devices, and even boots. They can detect things like a raised heart rate or even falls. Wearables built specifically for construction may even have a built-in emergency alert feature that workers can use to call for help.
Additionally, IoT sensors can be placed around construction sites to detect and monitor the presence of various air pollutants, such as fumes or chemicals. Hazards like these can be particularly dangerous to construction workers because they are often difficult or impossible to see. If air pollutants or chemical hazards are detected by the IoT sensors, site managers can be automatically notified so they can ensure any workers in the area either relocate to safety or put on protective gear.
3. Waste Management
Waste management is a top priority on many construction sites today. Good waste management is key to meeting ESG initiatives, particularly in terms of reducing negative environmental impact due to construction work. IoT is a great tool for improving waste management systems on-site. With IoT devices and sensors, site managers can easily and accurately keep track of waste quantities and storage throughout the project.
The data from the sensors is invaluable for finding ways to reduce waste and improve the storage and removal of it. For example, by monitoring sewage waste management, construction companies can pinpoint areas of their waste management systems that could benefit from sewage optimization devices. Optimizing waste management systems can improve quality control and reduce the physical footprint of waste management equipment, diminishing the impact it has on the local environment.
Using IoT to track and optimize waste management also has the helpful side effect of creating a detailed backlog of environmental data. This can be extremely useful when it comes to reporting on sustainability initiatives and environmental impact.
4. Asset Tracking
Construction sites have an extensive inventory of vehicles and equipment to keep track of. It’s no surprise that one valuable application of IoT in construction is asset tracking.
By using IoT devices to track vehicles and expensive machinery and equipment on-site, project managers can make sure nothing goes missing. This is great for preventing theft when no work is happening on-site, as well.
It’s also worth noting that IoT asset tracking can actually help optimize construction sites and operations. The tracking data can reveal traffic patterns on-site and even indicate which vehicles and pieces of equipment are being used the most. Construction companies can then direct funds toward investing in specific pieces of new equipment based on concrete data. They can also organize sites in a more strategic way using the traffic data from their IoT asset tracking.
5. Site Monitoring
IoT offers a versatile way to keep an eye on construction sites around the clock. This is particularly valuable today since many construction professionals are working remotely or partially remotely. IoT allows key project team members to check in on building progress at any time, from any location. With the above IoT applications, they can monitor vehicle performance, safety stats, and project waste alongside building progress.
IoT can also allow for some key security measures. IoT security cameras can keep sites safer, even when no one is on the job. From equipment thieves to trespassing crane climbers, IoT surveillance can detect any unwanted guests on-site and automatically notify site security personnel. An IoT security system can also have connected alarms and warning lights, which can scare off intruders and alert the authorities.
6. Project Reporting
ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance) reporting is becoming a major priority throughout the construction industry. Widespread civilian interest in sustainability initiatives is motivating more and more project owners and construction companies to improve their ESG impact and conduct responsible reporting. However, collecting this data can be especially difficult in construction. There are simply too many moving parts to keep track of everything with conventional methods.
IoT is perfect for tracking ESG metrics in construction. Even simply using it for any of the above applications can capture ESG data with minimal effort from project team members. IoT devices collect data in real-time, so there’s no need to estimate or approximate metrics in reporting.
For example, a construction company could use IoT devices to track fuel consumption over the duration of a project. At the end of it, they would have comprehensive, precise data on how much fuel they used and how they used it. They could even use a carbon calculator to measure their carbon footprint with the help of this IoT data. This allows for informed, concrete project reporting on virtually any metric needed.
Innovating With IoT in Construction
The capabilities of IoT technology continue to expand year after year. At the same time, the popularity of IoT in construction is growing, as well. Construction companies can innovate and optimize their operations with the help of IoT devices. By integrating a few pieces of IoT tech, construction teams can improve safety and security, save money, reduce their carbon footprint, improve data collection, and optimize site maintenance and management.