Historically, the construction industry has been known for its traditional approach to building, relying on manual labor and physical processes. However, as the industry faces challenges like lengthy delays and rising costs, more companies are turning towards technology to streamline their operations. In recent years, the Internet of Things (IoT) has emerged as a powerful tool for improving construction processes and outcomes. While IoT is still relatively new in construction, early use cases have demonstrated its potential to revolutionize the industry. Let’s take a closer look at five unique applications of IoT that are currently being used in construction to optimize efficiency, safety, and sustainability.
“In light of lengthy delays and skyrocketing costs, more firms are turning toward technologies like the Internet of Things for help.”
The Five Applications
In the world of construction, wearable devices are making a significant impact on safety and efficiency. While smart helmets and connected work boots are already in use on construction sites, the potential applications for wearables in construction are numerous.
More than one in five workplace deaths happen in the construction industry, but wearables are helping to improve safety by alerting workers to hazardous situations. Smart helmets equipped with sensors can monitor heart rates and body temperature to recognize when employees are in danger of overexertion and notify them to take a break. Proximity sensors can alert workers when they approach a fall hazard or heavy machinery, preventing accidents.
Wearables also play a vital role in boosting efficiency. By providing location features, managers can know where every worker is at all times. Data collected from these sensors can also reveal where the biggest inefficiencies occur, informing workflow changes. Wearables are already providing benefits in the construction industry, and the potential applications for these devices are limitless.
#2: Safety Sensors
IoT technology has numerous applications in the construction industry, and on-site or on-vehicle safety sensors are among the most significant. These devices can help improve worksite safety by providing critical safety information and alerts to workers.
Heavy machinery is often involved in struck-by accidents, which account for around 75 percent of all worksite accidents. IoT sensors installed on this equipment can help prevent these accidents by alerting operators or stopping the machine if it gets too close to a worker.
Maintenance sensors can also be used to prevent equipment breakdowns or malfunctions that could endanger nearby employees. By notifying teams when repairs are needed, these sensors can help prevent accidents from occurring.
On-site IoT sensors can also be used to monitor for hazardous conditions, such as toxic fumes or high temperatures. When these sensors detect dangerous levels, they can alert employees, allowing them to evacuate or pause their work, thus preventing accidents and injuries.
#3: Material Monitoring
With the help of IoT devices, construction teams can now monitor materials, ensuring optimal results for project completion. One such example is the use of concrete sensors that are connected to the internet.
By placing these sensors in concrete, construction teams can remotely monitor the curing process and make any necessary repairs. This is important since curing can vary due to factors such as temperature and humidity, making it hard to predict a specific timeframe. With IoT app development devices, construction teams can optimize the project’s completion timelines by ensuring they don’t start work prematurely or wait too long.
But the benefits of IoT devices extend beyond just the construction phase. After the project is complete, IoT sensors can monitor the infrastructure’s condition, alerting building owners or infrastructure authorities of cracks or weakening concrete in real-time. By addressing these issues sooner rather than later, the life of the infrastructure can be extended, saving costs and ensuring safety. The use of IoT devices for material monitoring is an exciting development for the construction industry, providing greater efficiency, cost savings, and increased safety.
#4: Theft Prevention
The rise of IoT technology in the construction industry has brought about new ways to combat theft, an issue that has plagued construction sites for years. With the value of construction materials on the rise, theft has become an even more significant problem for construction companies. However, IoT devices offer a range of innovative solutions to prevent theft and recover stolen goods.
One promising approach is the use of connected drones to patrol construction sites. These machines can fly around a site without human intervention, providing 24/7 surveillance and monitoring. If a thief is spotted, the drone’s video footage can help identify and track them down. This technology can act as a deterrent to potential thieves, reducing the likelihood of theft occurring in the first place.
IoT trackers can also be used to locate stolen equipment in real-time. By attaching a tracker to a vehicle or tool, construction companies or police can quickly recover stolen goods without alerting the thief. This technology can help construction companies save time and money by avoiding the need to replace expensive equipment.
Overall, the use of IoT in construction theft prevention is a game-changer, providing effective solutions to protect valuable construction assets and equipment.
#5: Waste Management
The construction industry is one of the largest contributors to global waste, generating a staggering 600 million tons of waste in 2018. This includes construction and demolition operations alone, and does not account for wasted fuel or energy. Fortunately, IoT technologies are being implemented to minimize waste and increase efficiency in the industry.
By using IoT tracking, construction teams can identify patterns of inefficient fuel consumption and adjust their usage accordingly. Furthermore, IoT sensors can monitor on-site waste levels, providing valuable data to guide future practices and minimize excess debris. This not only benefits the environment but also improves safety on construction sites by keeping them clear and organized.
In addition to reducing waste, IoT technologies can optimize the use of equipment and machinery, saving energy and costs. By tracking equipment usage and performance, construction teams can identify inefficiencies and make necessary adjustments to reduce energy consumption. This not only benefits the environment but also contributes to the overall profitability and success of construction projects. With the implementation of IoT technologies, the construction industry can operate more sustainably, efficiently, and safely than ever before.
Applications Continue to Grow
The construction industry is experiencing a wave of technological advancements with the growing number of applications of IoT. From smart sensors and connected job sites to real-time tracking and monitoring of equipment and materials, IoT is rapidly transforming the way construction projects are planned, executed, and managed. With the ability to collect and analyze vast amounts of data, construction companies can make more informed decisions, enhance worker safety, reduce costs, and improve overall project efficiency. As more businesses realize the benefits of IoT, it is expected to continue to shape the future of the construction industry, making it more innovative, productive, and sustainable.