The IoT in Construction: How it’s Transforming the Industry

The IoT in Construction: How it’s Transforming the Industry + engineer uses smart construction technology + Construction, OffRoad |Parker GlobalInternet of Things (IoT) technology enables otherwise unconnected objects to be connected digitally. The technology already is transforming industries such as automobile manufacturing, consumer products, shipping and logistics and more. IoT in construction promises to be transformative as well.

With IoT, objects are tagged with unique identifiers (UID), through technology such as UHF RFID chips. As “smart” objects, they can collect and transfer data through a gateway and over a network, all without the involvement of human operators. That data can be put to use in a variety of ways, depending on the application.

Fact is, such smart construction technology makes good sense. According to an article in Orange Business Services:

The (construction) industry has seen a rise in operational complexities, and since the start of the current decade, construction companies have been growing in scale and expanding their operations geographically and in the type of projects they undertake. They need to manage projects simultaneously in different geographies, while also needing to optimize asset lifecycle management and manage projects to tighter deadlines to prevent potential delays and reduce unnecessary costs.

All this means that more robust project management is needed in the face of intensifying competition and the need to be more environmentally focused. Digital technologies are providing the way forward.
Paul Tucker, global ICT sales and account management professional


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The benefits of IoT in construction

IoT enables smart construction, where machines collect and transmit data to each other, via cloud networks, to site supervisors, company managers, and even original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Sensors placed on individual pieces of IoT construction equipment can track performance and location, providing broad datasets for further analysis. 

According to a projection by Bain and Co., 6.8 million smart construction machines will be shipped between 2018 and 2025.

IoT in construction offers a range of potential applications and benefits, including:

  • Equipment maintenance — Sensors can monitor the operation of a piece of equipment, and alert operators and users that equipment needs to be serviced or repaired. Improving the frequency of preventative maintenance can help companies better manage costs. Meanwhile, IoT gives equipment suppliers the opportunity to evolve into long-term partners who can monitor customer equipment from afar, and provide necessary maintenance as needed. Such services open new value streams for the OEM while allowing the customer to focus on their core business.  
  • Site monitoring — Supervisors and company managers can get real-time insights into the activities of both construction workers and machinery without having to keep track manually. IoT can, for instance, help monitor man-hours and the efforts that are put in by each employee at a construction project. In some cases, IoT can monitor the motions and movements of individual workers, alerting supervisors to inefficiency, human error, and possible employee fatigue. This data can also help owners better calculate the cost of construction projects, to create more accurate estimates for future work. 
  • Equipment tracking — Construction technology using GPS can help site managers keep track of the location of individual pieces of equipment at a construction project, helping prevent loss and monitor theft. Through geofencing, they can limit how close equipment gets to sensitive structures. IoT can also monitor things such as tire pressures and temperatures, axle load, harsh braking/acceleration, and even seat belt use. All of this can help managers and operators improve overall efficiency and safety.

Parker’s mobile IoT solution for construction

Many of Parker’s core equipment offerings already are being outfitted with the types of sensors described above. These are designed to integrate with the Parker Mobile IoT solution, which includes a ruggedly engineered gateway that’s installed on a machine (an excavator or loader, for instance) to create smart construction technology. The gateway then collects data made available by the sensors and transmits it to the Parker Internet cloud. 

That data can then be made available to construction project supervisors, company managers, OEMs, and other stakeholders, and analyzed by Parker software to provide a range of actionable information. In the future, the technology may provide for levels of autonomy, where the equipment can respond by itself to the gathered data. Imagine a construction crane that turns itself off when detecting a failure mode, helping avoid damage, and possibly preventing a safety issue.

The Parker solution thus allows construction equipment OEMs to track and stay in touch with all the machines they have deployed in every fleet, in every country throughout the world, in real-time. So, they know the status of every machine: whether or not it’s operating, and whether or not it has failure modes. It allows them to deliver new services and capabilities to their end-users — the owners/operators of those machines— that they couldn’t deliver before.

Industrial IoT Solutions are Revolutionizing Material Handling Equipment - WP Cover Image - Parker HannifinDownload our white paper Off-Road Trends: Driving Cleaner, More Efficient and Connected Machinery, and learn what influences the advances in mobile heavy machinery.







This article was contributed by Hydraulics Team.


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Parker's Mobile IoT for Equipment Manufacturers

Parker Innovations That Keep the World Moving

A Look at the Compact Construction Equipment Market

The Strategic Approach to Fleet Optimization for Heavy Equipment


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