Last month on Interstate 55 outside of Chicago, an exhausted semitrailer truck driver crashed into three vehicles, killing four people. This is the third case in a year where a truck driver was falsifying driving logs in connection to a fatal crash on an Illinois interstate.
This incident highlighted once again what regulators and trucking experts say is an urgent need to transition away from paper logbooks (referred to as ‘comic books’ in the industry), which are easy to fabricate, to an electronic system for tracking hours on the road.
Although mandatory e-logs may not be a reality for another two years, companies need to be proactive about complying with the new regulations and prevent these kinds of tragedies now.
It’s time to get smarter about the way we do business.
As we become increasingly connected to the world around us, we have access to new, unexplored data. This new reality in technology, referred to as the Internet of Things, is about collecting and managing this data from a rapidly growing network of devices and sensors, processing the data and then sharing it with other connected “things”. The ultimate goal is to find uses for the data and analyze it to make better decisions in every day life.
You are probably already using the Internet of Things right now—such as in your home security system or your car’s self-monitoring capabilities. Now imagine the opportunities that exist for new products and services. We will be seeing a surge of new market opportunities in addition to the competitive advantage for current markets.
The Internet of Things brings a whole new way of thinking about the products and services your business provides. It represents a huge opportunity for the construction industry, which is constantly processing data and strives for workplace safety, as well as efficiency.
How the Internet of Things is applied to the construction industry
Equipment Monitoring and Repair
Equipment repairs are one of the largest operating costs in the construction industry. With the advanced sensors available now, machinery can self-detect the impending need for a repair before it becomes a larger issue.
Equipment Inspection: Lost/late forms, low accuracy and undue internal processing time are no longer an issue with electronic processes.
Inventory Management and Ordering: Downtime caused by low supply stock or personnel wasting time on site is another major drain on construction companies. With an IoT solution, site managers will be alerted when resources are getting low and support is needed.
Energy Conservation: Implementing a sensor system that monitors the lighting on a site reduces wasted energy costs construction companies regularly incur. Temperature monitoring can also conserve energy for indoor construction. Eliminating paper processing also saves on printing and contributes to tree conservation.
GPS Tracking: With advanced tagging and tracking of materials and trucks, technology can vastly reduce the cost incurred by businesses for lost or misrouted items. Monitoring a truck driver’s activity enables accurate time logging and safer driving.
Electronic Time Logging: Have we mentioned how important this one is yet? Electronic time logs are much more difficult to falsify, especially when connected to a GPS tracking device.
Wearables: A truck driver can be required to wear a “wearable”, which may come in the form of an activity band. Drivers and management can be alerted if a driver is falling asleep/falls asleep. Construction workers on-site can wear a helmet and vest with RFID, vitals monitoring, GPS sensors, motion sensors, etc.
Safety: Job site and trucking safety is your top concern. Keep procedures and reports easily accessible at all locations. Making a job site safer potentially reduces insurance and training costs. Wearable, RFID and ERP technologies have the ability bridge time and distance constraints imposed by working at remote construction projects. Read The Case for Wearables in Construction here.
An Internet of Things solution implementation is not impossible to manage, but it’s not easy either. In fact, developing solutions for the Internet of Things requires unprecedented collaboration, coordination, and connectivity for each piece in the system, and throughout the system as a whole. All devices must work together and be integrated with all other devices, and all devices must communicate and interact seamlessly with connected systems and infrastructures.
WhiteLight Group is in a prime position to help our customers with Internet of Things. IoT solutions are a combination of sensors / communication devices (Data Collection), cloud storage (Cloud Applications), ERP integration (JD Edwards) and business intelligence technology (Oracle and SAP). WhiteLight has been active in all of these technologies for many years. One of our great strengths is our ability to improve processes and this combination of ideas and technology allows us the ability to help customers identify, visualize, and execute on IoT projects.
Download our white paper The Case for Wearables in the Construction Industry to learn more about connected worksite safety.