Have you ever spent time thinking about what the job site of the future might look like? When artificial intelligence (AI) is combined with telematics and robotics, it could be much different from today’s typical job site.
Stanford University has released a report that shows AI will soon impact almost every aspect of our lives. That includes home services, education, the job market, transportation, medicine, public safety, entertainment, and an array of other things. One of those things happens to be the construction and heavy equipment industry.
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Computer scientist Nils J. Nilsson defines artificial intelligence as any activity designed to make machines more intelligent so that they can function correctly with an awareness of the environment. While some people think of AI as futuristic robots from books about the future, the reality is creating better access to medical care, making police more responsive, and building safer vehicles.
Based on The Future of Work: Robotics, AI, and Automation by Darrell West, AI will within the next decade be capable of driving trucks and writing high school essays at a higher level than the average human. There is a half-and-half chance that AI will be able to outperform all tasks done by humans in less than 50 years. Total automation of all jobs may be possible in the next century.
In the simplest terms, telematics brings together telecommunications with informatics. Today, telematics is typically used to reference a variety of solutions that can be added to commercial fleet vehicles and equipment in a variety of industries.
A telematics system incorporates a tracking device in a vehicle that can store, send, and receive telemetry data. It connects with the onboard diagnostics and uses a modem to ensure constant communication.
Telematics data that can be captured include speed, fuel consumption, location, idling time, harsh braking, vehicle faults, and more. The analysis of this data provides deep insights into an entire fleet of vehicles and equipment.
Robotics is another scientific field that blends engineering and science to design, create, and use mechanical robots. Robots are machines that can act as substitutes for human actions. As technology gets better, the scope of robotics broadens.
For example, in 2005, about 90% of robots were used to assemble vehicles in automotive factories. Today, robotics includes robots and bots that can help with healthcare, explore harsh climates on earth, and even assist with law enforcement tasks.
There are several characteristics that all robots have in common:
- Each robot will have a type of mechanical construction designed for the environment where it will do work.
- Electrical components are required in robots to control and power the components.
- Robots require computer programming to handle the tasks they are made to do.
The promise of robotics is likely to be seen sooner than many expect, especially as AI and telematics become more popular. Innovations in these fields will create smarter, more flexible, and energy-efficient robots that can solve issues in many areas.
Today, data and information are collected from various sources, which has led to great success for organizations, industries, people, and processes in all sorts of ways. The stakes are particularly high in the construction industry as the appropriate people need to have access to immediate real-time data.
While the industry works toward emerging technologies and the adoption of a Internet of Things (IoT), the connected job site is becoming a term that more people understand and use. This job site is one in which resources, such as equipment, information, machinery, people, materials, and tools, are connected across the project chain, no matter where they happen to be located.
A connected job site relies on a central, often cloud-based, control center that creates a single real-time stream of information. In the heavy equipment and construction industry, the connected job site refers to AI paired with robotics and telematics.
It has a huge number of benefits that make the process likely to expand and become the de-facto option for job sites within the industry.
When these three technologies are brought together, people have access to information more quickly than ever. When this occurs, it gives individuals the chance to adjust things in real-time to create a better level of efficiency.
In a construction company, having a connected job site offers the benefit of always knowing where people, materials, operations, and machines are. You can see it in real-time without having to walk into a job site.
Having new technology available is an excellent way to revolutionize a company in the construction industry. There are all sorts of benefits to using AI, robotics, and telematics that makes investing in the technology worthwhile.
In times past, business owners have had the issue of not being capable of being at the job site at all times of the day. When a connected job site is implemented, this is no longer a concern. The technology is used to create a full view of what is happening at each job. The entire process is more straightforward than ever.
Owners and managers can easily anticipate what will be needed in the future instead of needing to react to issues and changes when they occur. This creates a more efficient system and will likely transform the industry as this technology is ushered in, and new technology is created to streamline all of these things.
A connected job site lets owners determine what is happening at each site, including what equipment is being used. In addition, owners can see component and machine statistics from nothing more than a smartphone or tablet. This might include information about fuel levels, operation performance, location, and machine health.
In addition, this system often offers a way to communicate any issues with dealers and service providers. A technician will no longer need to visit the site to see what is happening with the equipment. The entire diagnosis process will be capable of being done on a remote basis. This can save time and ensure all pieces of equipment are in the best possible order.
Another way that a connected job site can change the construction world is through access to smart inventory management. Inventory management tools let workers customize and track the parts used regularly. This helps address the needs of the site, making it more efficient.
In terms of construction, inventory management is beneficial for tracking both assets and inventory. For example, when parts are connected with the overall service management process, a company has all of the crucial information in one place, rather than being forced to use pen and paper or juggle spreadsheets to manage what is available.
Instead, uses can easily keep detailed records of all inventory. This makes it easier to create a budget and plan for equipment spending on an annual basis. In addition, information can be shared from the back office to the field in an organization by tracking owners and locations for every piece of inventory.
In heavy equipment situations, professionals need a great deal of speed and power. However, large amounts of power can be hard to control, which may lead to damaging items, breaking screws, and other accidents that require rework. With connected equipment, users can control and monitor the massive tools that are used each day.
With top technology options, it’s just as easy to know where people are as it is to keep track of equipment. Owners and managers can easily see who is on the job and whether additional workers are needed. If more or fewer employees are required on a project, it’s a simple process to move more people in or take them out. This creates better efficiency across a variety of jobs.
Safety is key for any job site and a connected solution can make that easier than ever. Safety wearables can take the stress off of the people working. For example, Bluetooth-equipped vests can be used to alert workers that they are near machines. In the future, this could also incorporate futuristic items like exoskeletons that help humans stay safe and healthy while doing vigorous work. Other options include proximity sensing, accident detection, and even fatigue management.
The use of robots and other autonomous equipment can also create a more productive and efficient workforce. Robots who are trained to do the work needed will work at any time of day or night, on holidays, and more. Unlike humans, robots don’t get stressed or bored with repetitive tasks so that each task is done perfectly every time.
On top of that, when robots are incorporated into the space, humans can do other things. With no need to do the boring tasks, the most challenging and exciting tasks will keep people motivated and excited to do their jobs each day. Employees will be able to work in places they are good at and others can be brought in for locations of inefficiency, something that can boost the entire organization.
With control, awareness, and performance created through the connected job site, business owners will soon have access to all sorts of performance updates and data that could not be made in the past. The advances in technology will change the way construction sites run and people do business.
A connected job site will help businesses connect the dots to be successful on upcoming projects. It will help with the flow of communication as technology will offer insight into people, machines, operators, and the entire job site. As a result, it will not only improve efficiency but help create profits for business owners.
A report by Dodge Data & Analytics and Viewpoint called Improving Performance with Project Data looks at how important it is for contractors to have accurate, real-time data, which is precisely what the connected job site offers. A few of the most interesting statistics are listed below.
- 54% of contractors believe it is a priority to have the ability to gather accurate data from the field.
- 74% of those contractors are currently happy with the available commercial software for construction data collection.
- 93% of general contractors and 91% of specialty contractors note that project performance data is the most important data type for a project.
- 59% of the contractors are currently still using some manual processes to track and collect safety data.
- 82% of general contractors and 72% of specialty contractors utilize apps to capture field data.
This report also has other great data, such as 37% of contractors using drones, only 25% using paper forms, and 47% unsatisfied with spreadsheets. Accurate data matters and many people in the construction world are realizing that new technology is the best way to be efficient and cut costs on the job.
Moving to a higher level of technology could make life easier for anyone working in construction or heavy equipment. The main challenge that we see right now is how to use the huge amounts of data available in an efficient way. The key to that is integration, something that can be worked on moving forward in creating the modern construction industry.
In the end, the level of success a company enjoys comes down to meeting and exceeding the expectations of clients or customers. When there is no way to access real-time information, it can create miscommunication, job site injuries, and hazards, resulting in projects that fall behind. In addition, when a project is behind, it often leads to a rush to make up the time, which can result in accidents.
When using technologies like AI, robotics, and telematics, the job site will have better communication, productivity, and safety, creating a space that thrives. As technology continues to grow and adapt, being on the cutting edge is the best way to be seen as a construction and heavy equipment industry leader.
About the Author
As the CEO of Foresight Intelligence and Fleet Intelligence, Dale helps organizations utilize their critical data in a seamless and painless manner. With an electrical engineering degree from Cornell University, Dale knew that he wanted to focus on using technology to help people improve the efficiency of their businesses and organizations, rather than focusing on pushing the boundaries of technology itself. As such he created results-driven businesses that are focused on revolutionary solutions not evolutionary bells and whistles; including the only telematics company that features no-touch options.
For over ten years, Foresight Intelligence has helped many companies become more efficient; saving time, money and precious resources. While others sell technology, Dale delivers results. His companies were created following his personal motto “SPIRIT” … they provide the best service to clients, are passionate about what they do, proceed with integrity, ensure they provide a rockstar performance, work with an innovative mindset, and always use teamwork to do what is best for clients.
When he is away from work, Dale enjoys spending quality time with his wife and four children in sunny Scottsdale, AZ. As the lights of his life, he is resolute in making sure they receive all the love and care they need to become successful.