Can the Internet of Things Revolutionize Construction?

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Robison Wells

Construction workers account for 7% of the world’s workforce, but in a world where robotics is replacing people’s jobs, these workers seem relatively safe. Why? According to an article in TechTarget, it’s because the industry isn’t adopting new technology fast enough.

They site a report from the McKinsey Global Institute from 2017, which states that productivity in construction has actually decreased by 50% since 1970, and that productivity has seen zero increases in productivity in recent years. While other industries, like manufacturing, transportation, and tech, have seen huge increases in production, construction hasn’t followed suit. The net result is that, adjusted for inflation, construction costs twice as much as it did 40 years ago.

Some of the issues cited involve the notorious shortage in skilled labor, increased product costs, low performance projects, smaller margins, sustainability and, most of all, lack of accommodation for new technologies.

That’s where the writer’s suggestion lies: that new technology, specifically the Internet of Things (an umbrella term that refers to the concept of interacting communication of devices in everyday things, like smart phones that can unlock doors, start cars, or operate refrigerators.)

The report states that while even though adoption of these technologies would increase productivity and profitability, the industry remains slow to pick up the devices. According to a report by EY, the “Global Survey of Construction and Engineering”, construction is at the tail end of the information revolution.

There are four major categories cited where construction could benefit from the Internet of Things: machine control, construction site monitoring, fleet management, and wearables.

Some practical examples of IoT in construction include remote operation, replenishment of supplies, equipment construction and monitoring tools, submitting payroll via mobile device, maintenance and repair of equipment, remote use monitoring, and energy and fuel savings.

While the construction industry has been slow to pick up these new devices, the report states that it’s an inevitability that it will have to, and that the early adopters will have a distinct advantage over their competitors in the future. A good example of that change is hh2’s own Remote Payroll, with which worksite managers can submit a worker’s hours from their mobile device directly from the job.

To read the full article, go to TechTarget.

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