The Internet of Things Brings “Things” Together for the Construction Equipment Industry

“Things” are starting to look a little different due to expanding connectivity and possibilities of the internet of things for the construction equipment industry.

In today’s increasingly connected environment we are starting to see not only devices living on the web, but things we interact with day-to-day as well. Adding our things to the already expansive network of devices on the internet is the next step in creating a more efficient world.

The internet of things has promised to be the most disruptive technological advance since the internet. This technology means that devices equipped with sensors, hardware and software are networked together through the internet, where they can communicate with one another, machine-to-machine (M2M). Intelligent devices can be programmed to do things automatically, allowing us to be more productive and efficient.

But what does this internet of things mean for field service industries? The ability to put sensors in all of your equipment can yield a huge amount of data. Once you have all that data, it’s what you do with it that can provide significant advantages. From diagnostics, to prevention, to communication and more, the internet of things will change how industries operate.

To start off our three part series, we will take a look at how IoT is making its mark on one of the most complex field service industries, Construction Equipment.

Construction Equipment Manufacturers are an Inherent Fit for an Internet of Things Network

Construction requires tools and vehicles for almost every phase of the job and it’s up to construction equipment manufacturers to provide those things. That’s a lot of assets to monitor on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. The IoT allows firms to collect data for all of these assets and more, and big data can provide big opportunities to increase your bottom line.

For example, the IoT can combine GPS receiver data to identify machine location with an on-board data logger which captures information sent from various sensors on a machine. Telematics devices then transmit information about the equipment, including location, condition, and operational data to provide powerful tools for monitoring machine health and productivity, as well as reducing costs of managing and maintaining equipment.

How Construction Equipment Manufacturers are Using IoT Today

Operational information flows are now standard, but new capabilities in telematics mean that the automation and coordination of control can become very precise. Some companies have already ventured into what this deeper trough of information can do for them.

For example, Caterpillar has used telematics data to analyze if machines at job sites are idling too much, which can then be minimized to save fuel for customers. In addition to vehicle analytics, CAT has also been working on rollover-protection design and analysis, job-site simulation, statistical tolerance analysis, and structural optimization. Because of increased data through telematics information, CAT has been able to increase the durability of its machines while decreasing their weight, create design solutions without burning fuel, and help customers optimize their product use.

How IoT will Change the Future of Construction Equipment

Although we can see a few signs of early adoption in the next step towards complete interconnectedness, the long term implications of the IoT in the construction equipment industry are also promising. By using this new technology to constantly process data, the industry can make inroads on workplace safety, as well as efficiency. Here are just a few ways the IoT could propel new innovations in the field:

    1. Wearables

    Wearables have become a hot topic in both consumer and business spheres. This IoT technology can come in many shapes and forms, including activity bands, smartwatches, and eye wear. This kind of personnel equipment can allow management to be alerted of vitals, position, work time, etc. Further down the line we could see even more sophisticated use in other wearable equipment, like helmets.

    2. Equipment Monitoring and Repair

    Service and repair work is an integral part of any construction equipment company. With M2M sensors in equipment and tools, you will know when repairs are needed before problems can escalate into a more expensive issue.

    3. Safety

    Tracking employee and site data can give you a comprehensive look that makes implementing safety protocols easy and on target. Knowing where you are most vulnerable to accidents or negligence gives you an upper hand and keeps your workers safer.

    4. Equipment Inspection

    Self-diagnostics/reporting sensors make late or forgotten inspections a thing of the past, which also means more time for your workers to spend on billable repair and service work.

    5. Inventory Management

    Getting to a jobsite with insufficient or absent tools to do the job results in a loss for both you and your customer. If your inventory is connected to the IoT, sensors will give you a heads up on low inventory before any of your teams are sent out to the field.

    6. GPS

    Tracking technology can go a long way in reducing lost or misrouted item costs. This tracking can also have implications for your drivers as well, making sure they are both alert and on schedule.

Conclusion: Greater Connection Means More Opportunity

As more and more devices become connected we will continue to see innovations that harness that new reach. When it comes to construction equipment manufacturers, this also means the next step in efficiency and safety. The internet of things is sure to makes things better for everyone.

A Buyer’s Guide to Mobile Field Service Software: 9 Tips for Choosing a Mobile Solution

As things progress towards a world of complete connectedness, mobile will continue to be the standard. Having a comprehensive mobile solution is necessary to keep in line with the ever changing landscape. Learn important tips, guiding questions, and to-do’s in our free, educational whitepaper: “A Buyer’s Guide to Mobile Field Service Software.”

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