Leveraging Data to Boost Worker Productivity

By Guy Skillett, director of construction innovation, Rhumbix

Telematics is relatively well known as a concept, especially in the context of construction equipment, but what can it mean when applied to construction labor?

Telematics encompasses telecommunications, sensors, instrumentation, and computer science, to gather data from connected objects, and to then implement some controls over them. It is a broad term that can be applied to a range of data collection, transfer and control processes, and protocols. For construction equipment it might involve the recording of equipment engine parameters and idling. For the craft workforce, however, the opportunities for capturing and using data in this way are less clear. 

The Benefits of Workforce Telematics

For the longest time the construction industry has had a data problem. It now faces a range of challenges and opportunities arising from the better collection and use of data. Workforce telematics describes the gathering of data and information from the craft workforce, at the individual level, the crew level, and from your entire workforce. Telematics by its nature requires telecommunications, so manual, paper-based processes cannot by definition meet the needs of telematics. Furthermore, paper and manual processes won’t support the emerging deployment of sensors and connected hardware solutions in the industry.

When critical project data like timekeeping, production tracking and daily reports are generated on manual, non-digitized forms, and you have a source of high-velocity, real-time data from connected jobsites, mobile apps, and connected software solutions, there is a fundamental disconnect that will impact any ability to capture data and extract value from it.

Understanding and embracing the concept of workforce telematics and designing data-driven processes for the future state will help contractors transition towards a state where they can realize the value of their data. But how can this transition occur and what does this mean in practice? At Rhumbix, we encourage all contractors to move away from some of the established norms around data in the industry.

Firstly, there must be zero acceptance of paper or manual processes in the industry. Fortunately, there are many excellent solutions out there for gathering field data, and we are seeing a much greater awareness of the need for interoperability and data exchange between software solutions. As integrations become more commonplace, software providers that refuse to empower their customers with exchangeable and interoperable software solutions will be replaced by those that do.


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