oT – Internet of Things is nowadays on everyone’s lips as a term for communication technologies that allow the networking of physical and virtual objects. It is, as the Global Standards Initiative defined in 2013, the “infrastructure of our information societies” with their global connection. Of course, IoT also affects construction industry.
IoT is more or less a network of internet-based devices. Almost every machine or device with a sensor that transmits data via internet can be part of an IoT system.
IoT allows the collection, processing and storing of that data. It makes the integration of physical things into computer-based systems possible.
For construction industry that means that construction machines, material, devices and construction sites with all their sensors can be connected via internet. The benefit of collecting, analyzing and using this data is cost reduction, higher efficiency and an easier management. Explaining this in detail you should for example have a look on maintenance: Traditionally, each machine went through a regular check in specified time intervals. Of course that helped to maintain the operability and reduced downtimes. But it often also meant that parts that still worked were changed. Instead of this, with IoT nowadays a much more forward-looking maintenance is possible: The sensors monitor the actual condition of the machine and transmit the data via internet. That means that all deviations from the norm are displayed. This way maintenance intervals can be adapted to the sensor data and are only performed when really necessary. And the data helps avoiding failure times, which can become very expensive.
Another aspect is fuel efficiency: Fuel consumption and idle times are recorded by sensors and can be optimized via the recorded data. Asset tracking allows to track all machines or material so that the time planning of machinery and material can be adapted and waiting times reduced. Also theft gets immediately apparent as you can see the actual position of each machine. Furthermore, remote management of construction sites via IoT allows the site manager to control the working process on different, geographically distant construction sites at the same time. So he can check from anywhere, if everything works like it should and sees all the data from the construction site.
So when it comes to the equipping with IoT technologies, the effort and cost might on the first view look high, but if you offset the potential savings, it looks really attractive and can help to save a lot of money. And it the future, no construction site or any other part of our industry and society might get along without IoT.