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Being a construction professional, you know that construction technology has gone through a digital transformation in the past 50 years with the advent of artificial intelligence, drones, and smart devices, just to name a few breakthroughs.
All this technology that has transformed the industry comes together to form what is known as connected construction—and it can help construction teams and contractors improve communication and transparency, create a safer work environment, and produce more accurate budgets and timelines.
So what exactly is connected construction, and how can you use it to align your construction teams through improved communication, safety, and clarity? Let’s take a look.
What is connected construction?
Connected construction refers to a network of construction equipment, vehicles, devices, people, and locations that are all communicating with each other via wireless or digital technology under a single firm or organization.
Gartner defines connected construction vehicles as “vehicles with an embedded connection, often cellular, as well as GPS, allowing for location detection and monitoring of usage/subsystems. This includes dump trucks, backhoe loaders, excavators and mobile cranes.” (Full report available to clients.)
On a larger scale, connected construction applies these same principles of interconnected systems to everything from personnel to physical locations and equipment.
Another way to think about connected construction is through the lens of information technology. Imagine all of the computers and technological devices in a traditional office, and how they communicate with each other and are monitored by a centralized IT team. Now, add construction vehicles into that mix, and you should have a better idea of how connected construction works.
Ready to see what connected construction looks like in the real world? Check out this video from B1M:
Step inside the Connected Construction site (Source)
What are the benefits of connected construction for small firms?
Three key benefits of connected construction are improved communication and transparency, minimized risk, and more accurate timelines. And even contractors and smaller construction firms can realize these benefits without the resources of large enterprises by leveraging this connected technology strategically.
Let’s take a look at how that works.
- Improved communication and transparency: Connected construction allows for improved active communication—for example, a worker reporting back to a supervisor via a smart mobile device—but also improved passive communication via sensors and tags embedded in vehicles and equipment. Want to know where a specific concrete truck is and how much fuel it has? Connected construction can help.
- Minimized risk: Connected construction enables improved risk management by removing as many elements of the unknown as possible. With real-time inventory, staffing, and budget updates shared among all stakeholders on a centralized platform, the chances of a construction project going over budget, past deadline, or failing outright are significantly reduced. When issues do arise they can be addressed before compromising the viability of the project.
- More accurate timelines: Connected construction helps turn estimates into actual data, which improves timelines and budgets across a project. Rather than estimating when a key deliverable will be finished, connected construction technology allows site managers and construction teams to pinpoint exactly when one part of a construction project is completed and when the next step can begin.
Ready to learn more about how technology can help your construction firm?
As we’ve seen in this article, the term “connected construction” refers to a wide range of capabilities and technology. And any modern construction firm should be taking advantage of this connected construction technology to minimize risk, improve efficiency, and ensure project success.
What is construction software? (Source)