Putting Wearables to Work at the Jobsite

The construction jobsite can be a hectic place with numerous contractors working on the project separate, but together. One way to bring them all closer together is to have a connected jobsite. With digital collaboration, the job can go smoother and be more structured.

Having a connected jobsite can mean many different things to different construction firms. There is a lot of technology available to connect workers, managers, and owners. When it comes to technology, what is an advantage today will become a requirement tomorrow.

For instance, wearable technologies are designed to improve worker safety, boost productivity, and enhance comfort. They are even designed to help connect the jobsite.

Consider the example of Hourigan Construction, which is a firm that is using wearables along with other technology to create the ideal connected worker in the field. The company just completed Stone Brewing Co.’s East Coast production and distribution facility, in Richmond, and is concurrently working on several projects where company executives believe wearables are likely to make a significant impact.

Hourigan has been looking at wearables and in the immediate future will implement a proximity sensor safety vest that will ID when workers are in areas of danger and also keep track of everyone in case of an emergency.

Hourigan’s first wearable adoption is focused on safety. The use of a wearable in this instance showcases how to use wearable technology at the jobsite.

In general, wearable technology can help improve safety at the jobsite. For instance, it can track worker exposure and alert and protect them from hazards in the natural and built environment. Providing real-time wearable data to alternate reality environments promises to better integrate data-active humans into the digital arena.

As these technologies are adopted by more construction companies on the jobsite, the benefits to the contractors will outweigh any complications that are currently being sorted out through trial and error.

One of the challenges with adopting technology to connect the jobsite lies in economics. Large-scale, high-profile projects where the technologies could make the biggest impact are typically awarded to low-bidders who are expected to maintain tight margins. They are the ones who do not have the budgets required for investing in new technologies.

Having technology that connects the jobsite that is used by individual contractors can be an obstacle to overall adoption. Construction managers might be reticent to invest in hardware that could be made redundant in just a couple of years, and high turnover on the jobsite presents the possibility of workers walking off with the technology. The addition of new workers means more time spent training them on how to use the technology.

However, adopting high-tech solutions to connect the jobsite will allow contractors to communicate better and collaborate on the project. The connected jobsite is gaining momentum and it is just a matter of identifying the obstacles and opportunities to drive successful adoption forward.

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