Machine 2 Machine: How Smart Apps Monitor Construction Site and Equipment for Better Project Margins
Machine to machine (M2M) monitoring for construction equipment has been evolving for over a decade but recent advances have brought the technology to a new plateau in terms of saving money and generating better project margins. The world outside the construction industry is just beginning to see the promise of the Internet of Things (IoT), which has been delivering cost-effective solutions during a very difficult global economic slowdown.
“When the sites are hard to get to or in hazardous environments, breakdowns are not only more common but also take longer to discover.”
Every time a piece of equipment goes idle due to equipment failure or poor planning there are two costs: a) the cost of the repair in cost, labor, etc. b) the opportunity cost of lost revenue. There are also substantial costs involved with keeping contractors nearby while waiting for the machines to return to service. Downtime, scheduled or unscheduled, is essentially time that the site and the equipment is not earning back its investment costs.
The latest advancements in remote monitoring provide detailed information on how the construction equipment is working. The data is updated immediately and can be delivered wirelessly virtually anywhere. Pipelines, job sites in remote or dangerous areas, even individual trucks and drivers can be managed and generate comprehensive reporting functions. If there is a mechanical problem, the solution doesn’t have to wait for someone to notice and a specialist to be dispatched for a diagnosis of the damage. From oil to gas to commercial construction, capabilities that were merely hinted at a few years ago can become standard operating procedure today.
“The latest advancements in remote monitoring provide detailed information on how the construction equipment is working.”
M2M programs originally were designed only for the biggest machines that were hardest to repair. However, thanks to miniaturization and cost reductions, cloud-based software accessing tiny sensors by WiFi have made M2M possible for even the most common equipment. In many cases, some type of onboard diagnostic system has become standard equipment. Basically, assets come in all sizes and asset control is what M2M is all about. The biggest obstacle that most of these advanced control systems face is making equipment owners aware of what is possible now with all the recent changes to remote monitoring and reporting technology. To stay competitive against a global marketplace with widely different standards and economics, it is more essential than ever to minimize the cost of downtime and improve project margins. Here are some of the more serious real world problems addressed by the new monitoring software.
Rapid repairs: When the sites are hard to get to or in hazardous environments, breakdowns are not only more common but also take longer to discover. Companies can evaluate how heavy equipment is operating in remote areas. Technicians can identify the cause and bring the right parts when sent around the globe to fix it.
SITESENSR is a hosted Internet application that tracks and monitors critical assets, tools equipment, vehicles and inventories across multiple work sites using the latest GPS positioning, the simplicity of barcode scanning and online workflows. Essentially, this gives equipment a voice to report working conditions according to customized measures. Top level management can keep their fingers on the pulse of their business even while they are in meetings or on the road. Currently, the most popular modules include:
Track and trace
Tools and asset check-in and check-out Rental and lease management
Equipment utilization by job and type Equipment use and maintenance scorecard
Hours of operation minder
Site noise and vibration regulatory compliance
Fuel management Spare parts and consumables management
Mixed vehicle and fleet tracking Predictive fault identification
Custom KPI’s by site and solution type
Multi-site service minder
Optionally connects to existing telemetry, asset and work systems via simple API to provide a single lens for distributed operations.This means that SITESENSR can keep job sites up and running with the right equipment, at the right place at the right time. By staying ahead of wear and tear, companies can avoid equipment failure and increase maintenance speed. Constant vigilence also acts like an alarm system to prevent and discourage theft when no one is around to watch the site. Through auto-manage tools, spares and consumables, companies are able to optimize their processes for more efficient equipment ownership and leasing.
SITESENSR also helps work sites improve their public relations by measuring critical work and service processes in order to comply with noise and vibration regulations. Surprisingly, integrating this new technology into existing equipment is extremely rapid. On average, the fast deployment cycle can be completed in 30-60 days depending on scope and scale of operations. On the supply side, SITESENSR is white-label ready for OEMs and service providers to help customers optimize their asset base. Even smaller companies need not worry because low customization costs make it practical for more specific and highly-tailored solutions via SeeControl “no coding” IoT platform.
SITESENSR is the newest construction equipment monitoring deployment from Seecontrol, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform provider for managing M2M data. The platform strengths are around managing mixed fleet assets including all construction equipment, transportation containers and a wide variety of trucks. One of Seecontrol’s main functional areas involves locate and recover tech so that managers can be able to pinpoint where their equipment is at any moment and have some level of detail about its condition. They provide rental management solutions that can be customized according to utilization by job, company or equipment. Seecontrol is known for Equipment Score Cards that provides instaneous insights into utilization of resources and equpment maintenance schedules. With predictive fault identification, companies can prepare for spikes in operating costs and adjust schedules to minimize impacts.
As communications and intelligent software make managing large scale construction and engineering projects more profitable, M2M will become even more ubiquitous and less visible. There is a great deal of opportunity in establishing standards so that various M2M equipment works together seamlessly across the industry.