The construction industry has not always been the fastest moving sector when it comes to embracing technological change. For example, while the manufacturing industry has seen a 3.6% year-on-year growth in automation over the last decade, construction has shown a mere 1% growth.1 However, an increasing number of companies want to add more automation and digitisation to their processes.
What kinds of technology is out there? And what can they offer construction companies? This article focuses on a few technologies changing how construction companies work and how those who have adopted them are benefiting.
Machine learning and artificial intelligence
We’ve all heard the hype around this topic and for a good reason. Machine learning and AI can take over repetitive duties making construction sites more productive. And they can process some information faster than humans can, which can improve safety and help companies plan projects more efficiently.
- Efficiency and cost: Project planning solutions can use AI to quickly take various factors, including budget, environmental concerns, mechanical systems and more, into consideration.
- New working processes: Builds parts of a building offsite before bringing them to the site where the human workforce completes the more detailed work and pieces together the components.
- Safety: AI engines can act as a virtual safety manager. Using predictive analytics, it scans through massive amounts of historical data and incident reports to identify hazards based on that.
- Productivity: By automating more site work, the human workers on a site can concentrate on other duties, increasing productivity.
Virtual reality and augmented reality
Both VR and AR technologies are being used by construction companies to visualize the building process before construction begins. Also, many companies incorporate them as part of the training process, as they give a ‘hands-on’ experience of operating heavy machinery without risk.
- More effective showcasing: Gives clients and potential clients a full tour of what the eventual building will be in a way more immersive than a drawing or presentation.
- Better planning and co-ordination: Streamlines co-ordination process with hands-free blueprints, overlaying 3D models to real-world sites with pre-built and multiple scenarios for evaluation.
- Safety: Virtual training environments can be created, increasing safety.
Telematics, vehicle data and connected vehicle technology
Vehicle telematics uses a combination of GPS and onboard diagnostics to track, record and map the movement of vehicles like bulldozers, dump trucks and caterpillars and powered assets like generators. It also collects key data on their usage, performance and health.
Increasingly more construction companies now understand the benefits that can be gained by taking control of their data. And vehicles, powered assets and machinery are all valuable data sources.
Construction companies are using telematics solutions like WEBFLEET to make their data meaningful, putting it to use in the planning, management and assessing of construction projects to increase efficiency, tighten security and reduce the time they spend on administration. With access to real-time data from their machinery, vehicles and equipment, they can then plan operations and maintenance more effectively and better understand how these assets are being used.
- Location tracking: Knowing the location of vehicles, assets and staff with a vehicle tracking system, construction companies can manage resources and plan their work better.
- Reduce repair costs and less downtime: Detects when an issue might be developing that could lead to repairs and downtime and act fast to stop it from becoming a costlier problem.
- Productivity: Data on how vehicles are being driven and powered assets are being operated allows managers to identify inefficiencies and react quickly to make changes that will drive up productivity.
- Security: As construction sites remain a target for crime, telematics adds a layer of protection with visibility of where your valuable vehicles and assets are.
- Workforce management: Automates the recording of trip registration, working time and who is driving which vehicle with a digital mileage logbook.
Interested in adopting one of these new technologies but concerned about safety, cost, training, liability and data security? Take a look at this article that discusses these concerns and how technology providers can support construction companies to adopt new technology safely.
And to learn more, take an in-depth look at the technology discussed here and actionable insight on how to adopt them with this free guide.
- The benefits of AI in construction – Constructible (2019)