IoT technology in construction boosts productivity while reducing time and costs. Explore the primary IoT applications in the construction sector.
IoT technology is slowly making its way into the construction world, where companies and project managers are increasingly aware of its advantages in the construction workflow. But what are its applications in the construction realm? And what benefits would its implementation bring to the construction process?
Let’s discover together in this article.
What is IoT?
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of physical devices equipped with sensors, an internet connection, and the ability to communicate with each other. These devices can collect data from the surrounding environment and exchange information with other devices or a central system. This innovative technology is revolutionizing numerous sectors, including construction.
Imagine, for instance, a crane at a construction site equipped with sensors to monitor load, temperature, and maintenance status. These data are continuously collected and transmitted to a BIM IoT platform that allows real-time analysis and informed decision-making.
Let’s delve into how IoT offers significant potential in construction, enhancing construction project management, worker safety, and operational efficiency within the construction sector.
What are the primary IoT applications in construction?
The construction sector is known for its complex challenges, including tight deadlines, limited budgets, and the need to ensure worker safety. This is where IoT comes into play, bringing a significant wave of change.
IoT provides the construction sector with the opportunity to overcome these challenges innovatively. With the ability to connect and monitor a wide range of equipment, machinery, and structures in real-time, IoT offers project operators and managers the possibility of more efficient resource management, better planning, and enhanced workplace safety.
So, what are the latest IoT applications in construction? Let’s explore them together:
- Site monitoring: This application involves using a set of sensors to continuously and dynamically record conditions at construction sites and workplaces. Installed sensors monitor and record real-time data related to factors like temperature, humidity, noise, and vibrations. Through IoT application, it becomes possible to prevent accidents and malfunctions, thereby increasing workplace safety and compliance;
- Fleet management: It refers to managing vehicles, machinery, and equipment owned by the construction company. Such management can significantly improve efficiency through automatic monitoring of vehicles, including automatic data collection regarding their position, speed, fuel consumption, and maintenance requirements. Automating vehicle management through IoT reduces the possibility of errors and simultaneously enhances operator safety;
- Wearable IoT technologies: As the name suggests, wearable IoT technology includes devices worn by operators, such as smartwatches, AR glasses, smart helmets, etc. These devices monitor personal data and wirelessly transmit it in real-time.
What is the future of IoT in the construction sector?
The process of digitalization and technological development in the AECO sector is slowly gaining ground after years of slow progress. Forward-thinking companies recognize the power of digital innovations and new design approaches involving IoT applications in the BIM world and with Digital Twin. However, the level of technological and digital implementation is still low, and many construction companies fail to fully grasp the potential of new technologies like AI, IoT, and BIM software.
However, one thing is certain: the construction site of the future could appear vastly different from what we see today. Therefore, it is necessary that:
- construction companies accelerate their digitalization process and recognize the benefits brought by these innovations;
- industry operators enhance their digital skills, which will be increasingly in demand.
Despite the relatively slow pace, we already see how IoT-enabled tools are used to:
- improve maintenance;
- monitor real-time status of equipment and machinery;
- monitor site conditions;
- plan activities;
- reduce project delays;
- optimize budgets.
As digitalization and technology make their way into construction, these innovations continue to improve and enhance. Better sensors, improved data analysis, and increased automation are expected to further brighten the future of IoT in construction. Within the next 3-5 years, the most forward-thinking companies will be well on their way to realizing this future where construction processes are more efficient, safety is heightened, and costs are reduced.
What are the advantages of implementing IoT in the AECO sector?
The benefits that the implementation of the Internet Of Things brings to construction processes are manifold and vary depending on the project’s specifics. However, some are more evident and universally valid, including:
- Enhanced safety: IoT use in construction helps identify potential hazards before breakdowns and accidents occur. Connected sensors and devices can detect temperature variations, humidity, air quality, and other parameters that could compromise workplace safety. These real-time data allow the construction manager to take corrective and preventive actions;
- Increased efficiency: IoT enhances the productivity of construction processes and project management. IoT devices can automate activities like monitoring and adjusting environmental conditions, equipment tracking, and inventory management. This minimizes potential errors and allows for more efficient resource utilization;
- Real-time monitoring and data analysis: IoT devices provide real-time construction progress data, enabling better decision-making, improved planning, and resource allocation, thereby reducing project timelines and overall costs;
- Cost reduction: Connected devices can monitor material and equipment usage, alerting managers to potential inefficiencies and under or over-utilization. This enables managers to take corrective measures and reduce costs associated with waste and excessive consumption;
- Better quality control: IoT devices can monitor activities, materials, and processes in real-time, ensuring that the final product meets quality standards and customer expectations.
How to integrate IoT into the construction sector?
After seeing the advantages that this technology brings to construction processes, let’s explore how to implement this technology in the workflow.
The process is relatively straightforward, thanks primarily to the software at our disposal. Once the IoT sensors and devices are physically installed, it is sufficient to associate the physical IoT device with its digital twin within BIM.
The BIM model acquires and analyzes real-time data sent by the sensors, altering its characteristics based on the information each sensor transmits. This enables detailed control even over vast environments with thousands of devices.
All this wouldn’t be possible without the mediation of the BIM IoT platform, which automatically associates physical IoT devices with their digital counterparts. All that remains is for you to start with 15 applications and 10 GB of free cloud space, then configure usBIM according to your needs!