Linking Smart Devices to Construction Equipment

Technology development in the construction market is evolving quickly and the benefits that it can bring to the user of the equipment are extensive. The latest developments aim at providing users with visual information in the form of virtual and AR (augmented reality) that allow them to perform their jobs faster and with higher precision.

While this technology paints a picture of where machine controls are headed, often the challenge is in determining what design changes to introduce now, to be best aligned with the technology of the future. The use of wireless communication and the integration of smart devices, such as tablets and smartphones, is an emerging technology in the construction market that is well proven but will lay the foundation for future development.

Picture an operator who walks up to their excavator to begin work for the day. Upon entering the vehicle, they take out their smartphone and open an app named ‘Excavator Operator.’ The app requests them to login and establish a connection with the vehicle. Instantly the machine turns on and the app informs the operator that user authentication was successful and a friendly greeting is provided. The app uses the phone’s resources to connect wirelessly to both the vehicle and Internet; uploading the results of an initial diagnostic check and downloading prescriptions for the day’s work.

The app asks the user if they’d like to start the engine and upon acknowledgment, the engine starts. The phone uses its weather information to see that it is cold outside and commands the vehicle’s HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system to turn the heat on. The GPS (global positioning system) is used to guide the user to the jobsite.

In this example, the machine controls utilize a direct wireless connection to the smartphone, allowing data to be shared with a dedicated app. The app makes use of other services available on the smartphone, such as weather and GPS, to aid in machine operation. The app authenticates the user and enables the operation of the vehicle. App updates can be pushed to the entire user network through the app store, making updates easy to perform and building upon common technology.

At JCA Electronics, we focus on the integration of machine controls with wireless technology and app development. We see a future that combines familiar smart devices with the job, and displaying relevant machine control data on a friendly user interface. Learn more about how your vehicle system can make use of this technology at http://www.jcaelectronics.ca/. 

Paul Gomori is application engineering manager for JCA Electronics.

Posted: 6/14/2017 1:21:15 PM