Top Five Hottest Tech at the Jobsite

The construction business is changing. More and more jobsites are being outfitted with technology solutions that increase productivity, safety, and collaboration. 

However, where should your construction company focus its attention? What are the hottest technologies for the construction jobsite? And how will these change the way business is performed in the future?

There are five emerging technology trends for the construction jobsite. Understanding how these areas will impact your workers will be key to conducting business in the future. The five-star tech trends are:

  1. Telematics
  2. Wearables
  3. Autonomous equipment
  4. Software
  5. Augmented and virtual reality

Telematics Ahead

The use of telematics in construction equipment is on the rise. While there is still a strong concentration on automotive vehicles and trucking using telematics, the advantages of the technology have sparked interest in the construction sector.

According to Markets and Markets, the advances in technical know-how being made in this market are being used by the construction industry on equipment and vehicles. The equipment tracking and monitoring solution enables instant access to important vehicle information, encompassing location tracking, remote diagnostics, engine predictive maintenance, and fuel management. The growth of this is attributed to its increased adoption to optimize the operations of the equipment. This tech knowledge also saves time and increases safety and security.

A lot of equipment manufacturers are putting telematics on their products, and it is changing how contractors operate out at the jobsite. “With connecting the equipment, you can tie in safety regulations to using it,” says Willy Schlacks, president, EquipmentShare.

Wearables at the Jobsite

Electronics and sensors that can provide multiple benefits to contractors on the jobsite are wearables. ABI Research forecasts that enterprise wearable devices will grow. Technology has been added to helmets, glasses, vests, headgear, badges, watches, wearable scanners, and more. The resulting wearables with smart technology can provide contractors with increased safety, productivity, and other advantages.

Michael Leyva, product manager at Epson America Inc., highlights how smart glasses have advanced for the industry. “Contractors should know that smart glasses will quickly become an indispensable tool for project development, from architectural renderings to surveying, site monitoring, and construction trouble-shooting. They create new efficiencies, reduce errors, and will be seen as a competitive differentiator,” Leyva says.

Having access to information on a device that a contractor is wearing can change the project flow. It can offer new opportunities for greater productivity and heightened safety at the construction jobsite.

Working with Autonomous Equipment

Another hot trend is construction equipment solutions that include autonomous features on them. These systems change behaviors without being explicitly programmed, based on data collected, usage analysis, and other observations.

Having this tech capability on equipment can be very useful. Autonomous sometimes can mean automatic, as in automatic braking when an object is detected in the path of the equipment, or automatic shutdown of the equipment if it is overheating. This type of advancement can be crucial on the jobsite when working with big and heavy equipment and materials. Keeping safety in mind, Transparency Market Research estimates the global automatic or autonomous emergency braking market will rise. And this is due to a number of factors that have a direct impact on workers at the jobsite. One such factor: safety.

Mitch Tobias, customer enterprise digital manager, Caterpillar Inc., says autonomous equipment provides improved safety by getting people out of harm’s way and reducing costs of material, labor, machine hours, fuel, and maintenance and repair.

Construction Software

A piece of technology that has been on the jobsite for a while is construction software solutions—but it is continuing to evolve, which makes it another appealing trend for workers in the field.

From having building information modeling (BIM) software to construction management software, these solutions help increase collaboration within the project team at the jobsite by connecting everyone involved and having a digital platform to make changes and update information instead of having to pass paper among everyone.

Software is evolving too, with the advent of new technologies. Gartner predicts artificial intelligence (AI) technologies will be in almost every new software product by 2020. Adding AI to construction software will provide contractors with more options on the jobsite.

Construction software is a tool for contractors at the jobsite, helping in a number of ways. “It is increasing the available workforce by making jobs easier to do and helping that new operator become more proficient quickly,” Tobias of Caterpillar says.

Augmented and Virtual Reality

Visualizing the finished project can be challenging. With augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) that has changed. This technology provides insights into the project for contractors at the jobsite.

Head-up displays are gaining in popularity, which incorporates AR and VR technologies. Instructions, along with the other necessary details, can be displayed in the line of sight. A number of contractors are readily embracing AR and VR technologies for predicting potential problems such as walls not matching up. Going forward, there will be a lot of innovations for the construction industry that will arise from that growth.

For instance, smart glasses have been the hardware of choice for many using AR on the jobsite. “Glasses can be also used by construction firms for various AR use cases as well, such as viewing 3D digital models of proposed projects with timeline animation to show the planned progress of the construction,” Leyva of Epson America says.

What’s Next?

As new solutions emerge—not only on the jobsite, but everywhere in construction—they are sparking many new opportunities. This rise of new digital industrial technology, also known as Industry 4.0, is the fourth industrial revolution.

The Industry 4.0 is the grouping of numerous major innovations in digital technology and refers to development of machines, which would be using self-optimization, self-configuration, and artificial intelligence to complete difficult tasks to deliver cost efficiencies and better-quality goods or services.

We will see Industry 4.0 becoming more common at the jobsite. As these technologies are embraced and adopted by the industry, they will bring about a new level of productivity, safety, and collaboration.

Posted: 9/5/2017 12:02:50 AM



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