Internet of Things, or IoT, is revolutionizing the way we do our work. More and more projects are incorporating them into the design phase and finding solutions to problems before they become real ones.
But what does that mean for construction? In this post, we take a look at how IoT can be utilized in construction projects – from the exterior walls of a building all the way to its wiring system.
What Is the Internet Of Things In Construction
The internet of things has been around for a while and refers to a wireless web of interconnected devices that share information with one another. The internet of things is all about taking the offline and analog world and digitizing it.
This means that anything that is on the physical plane can be integrated with the online digital world, thereby creating greater efficiency in projects. And there is no better place to do so than in construction projects – where virtually everything involved needs to be measured, tracked, monitored, or accounted for. Simply put, IoT can help make construction projects smarter – using sensors and data analytics to make them more profitable, streamlined and eco-friendly.
Internet of Things (IoT) in construction is expected to grow at a CAGR of 16.5% between 2019 and 2024, from an estimated market value of USD 7.8 billion in 2019 to USD 16.8 billion by 2024.
And construction projects are already taking advantage of this technology: from the outside walls to the wiring, hardware and plumbing systems, there are sensors that are tracking and monitoring what’s going on in real time. This data can then be used for analysis to see if any problems are cropping up before they become real ones.
Everyone knows that constructing a building can be a long and tedious process – especially with the external components such as the walls. But IoT is now making it faster and more efficient. There are sensors in these walls that keep track of how well they are insulated – a key factor in how sturdy and energy efficient a building is going to be.
Importance Of Internet Of Things In Construction
For the walls, which are a very important part of the building, it’s important to know if they are insulated correctly or not. If there is a marked deviation from how well insulated it should be – then that wall could be faulty and need to be replaced.
This is where IoT steps in: with sensors installed in the walls, construction companies can keep track of when insulation materials begin to move out of place – and by how much. When they start to shift, there is an alert sent out. So before they become a hazard, builders can take remedial action.
The size of the global IoT in construction market is anticipated to expand from $8,179.9 million in 2019 to $19,039.8 million in 2027, at a CAGR of 14.0%.
Another important aspect of construction is keeping track of the wiring, plumbing and hardware systems. With sensors that can do just that, construction companies can make sure there aren’t any deficiencies, leaks or problems before they become serious issues. In short, sensors are improving how buildings are built – and how they run.
The Need For IoT-Enabled Tools In Construction
IoT-enabled tools can help contractors to effectively manage project risks such as engineering failures, water leaks, slow site progress, and so on. For example, a system based on sensors can be used to detect any shift in the balance of an overhead crane.
This would help to notify the office staff, which could then notify the workers working on that specific crane. Thousands of lives can be saved by using these systems and similar IoT services.
According to the U.S. government’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), According to the Department of Labor, there are over 6.5 million individuals employed at 252,000 construction sites across the country.
In addition, real-time information provided by IoT devices in a construction project can also help companies save money by reducing the number of temporary electrical connections required during construction activities.
Risks Of Internet Of Things In Construction
Construction firms are facing a number of prevailing construction business challenges in the current business environment. Construction business owners are struggling to find qualified workers, manage costs, and keep up with the latest construction technologies.
The construction process is becoming more complex and time-consuming, making it difficult for firms to complete projects on time and on budget. As a result, many construction industry is being forced to downsize or close their doors.
1. Iot Devices May Compromise Security
Cyber attacks on IoT-connected devices are on the rise, and the number of vulnerable Internet-connected devices is growing at a rapid pace.
The increasing number of IoT devices can lead to an increased risk of cyber-attacks because each device would be a potential entry point for hackers. Therefore, it is important for organizations to take proactive steps in securing their networks against possible breaches.
2. Lack Of Expertise Among Workers In Construction Field
In many construction projects around the world, employees are not provided with adequate training to enhance their skills and keep up with changing business demands and regulations. Also, there is a need for more training to enable workers to access and understand the technological developments that have emerged in the field.
3. Inability To Identify IoT Threats
The U.S.-based company Triax Technologies introduced the Intrinsically Safe (IS) version of its IoT solution for use on construction sites in July 2020.
Experts say that an increasing number of malicious hackers are searching for vulnerabilities in IoT devices and systems. Malicious hackers can exploit these vulnerabilities to gain and maintain unauthorized access, potentially impacting critical infrastructure and threatening individuals who use them.
4. Insecure Deployment Of Iot Devices
While organizations are taking steps to use IoT to enhance their business processes, they must ensure that the devices they purchase and deploy are carefully vetted, updated and provided with security measures.
If deployed without proper precautions and guidance, these devices can leave the organizations vulnerable to attacks. It is also essential for organizations to work with their IT departments to develop a viable solution for securing IoT devices against cyber-attacks. This would help them avoid data breaches in future.
5. Incorrect Data Flow
Industries such as construction and other branches of industry need IoT devices that can perform tasks while receiving, processing and analyzing real-time data. But these devices require a secure connection to the Internet. This is the only way to ensure the integrity of data and thus reduce lost resources.
6. Data Theft
When IoT devices are deployed on top of insecure networks, there is an increased risk of unauthorized access to the stored data. The dangerous situation arises when sensitive information is compromised and can be misused by other individuals, or hackers. This may lead to identity theft or credit card frauds by hacking into systems that contain personal data – such as credit cards, social security numbers, etc.
7. Lack Of Data Analytics Skills
With the growing number of IoT devices, there is an increased need for companies to hire skilled professionals who can analyze the massive amounts of data that IoT devices generate.
These professionals should be able to convert this information into actionable insights. Experts say that 80 percent of IoT devices are used for collecting simple business data, which include usage statistics and product deployments.
8. Network Security Risks
Experts say that an increasing number of organizations are deploying IoT devices without paying adequate attention to the network security. This can lead to security breaches and compromise critical data. Improperly secured networks can also become redundant targets for malicious hackers using advanced malware and other methods to gain unauthorized access.
Benefits Of Internet Of Things In Construction
The building site for the new office complex is nearly complete. The minimal and low risks associated with the project have kept project costs down and waste management has been excellent. Real time business owners have been kept up to date with the project’s progress and are very pleased with the results.
IoT devices are expected to number over 50 billion by 2021, according to experts.
Construction company is turning to such remote devices ensuring timely delivery and a real time site map. By using construction equipment that is connected to the internet, construction companies can keep track of their progress and ensure that projects are completed on time.
1. IoT Devices Reduce Construction Time And Cost
The key benefits of IoT in the construction sector are cost reduction and project completion. With a high number of IoT-connected devices, it becomes easy to monitor machinery and equipment. Real-time monitoring helps constructors to analyze data and make better decisions in terms of maintenance, repairs, productivity and efficiency.
2. IoT Enhances Safety
Using IoT systems, constructors can monitor activities on a construction site in real-time. This allows them to keep track of employees’ whereabouts on the site at any given point of time. This would increase the level of security for both workers and assets present on the job site.
3. IoT Improves Customer Satisfaction
IoT also helps in identifying potential issues, before they happen. This enhances the quality of the final product and results in higher customer satisfaction. Real-time data can be analyzed to understand the root cause of any defect or malfunction. This information can be used to prevent similar incidents from recurring in the future, effectively decreasing the likelihood of complaints by customers.
4. IoT Enables Real-Time Monitoring And Maintenance
Using IoT devices, contractors can monitor projects for any signs of damage or wear and tear in real-time, which is otherwise difficult to detect on a construction site. For example, IoT devices can help detect leaks in underground pipelines before they cause damage to other areas as well as the surrounding environment.
5. IoT Reduces Accidents And Fatalities
The use of IoT in construction projects can help companies significantly improve their safety records by providing a way to identify any potential risks and take corrective measures. For instance, if sensors installed on a construction site detect environmental hazards such as hazardous gases or fire, this would eliminate the risk of accidents and fatalities.
6. IoT Improves Productivity For Contractors And Employees
IoT-enabled tools can be used to increase the level of productivity across various departments in construction projects. They can also help improve efficiency by accelerating the process of measurement and surveying. This would in turn help to reduce project time and costs.
7. IoT-Enabled Tools Boost Production Efficiency
IoT-enabled advanced tools can be used to enhance production efficiency while reducing labor costs, which otherwise may increase due to the need for more workers and employees. The key benefits of this are reduced construction time and cost, as well as lower operational expenses for the contractor.
8. IoT Enhances Communication Among Stakeholders
Other important benefits of IoT include improved coordination among various teams involved in a construction project, including those from the public sector, such as city and town officials, traffic police officers, construction surveyors etc. This would help to reduce project time and cost.
The IoT technology is very much an upcoming field and has not yet attained its full potential. However, it is of immense importance to the construction sector. By using this technology, it will be easy to maintain a proper working order among workers on the job site, which will in turn reduce risks and increase safety standards at construction sites.
A KPMG poll found that 95% of construction businesses think that new technologies like IoT will fundamentally change their sector.
Researchers have claimed that the increasing use of IoT devices in construction can help reduce the amount of time it takes to complete a project. It will also help reduce the number of accidents caused by human errors at construction sites. In addition, accurate data provided by IoT systems will allow companies to get insights about the overall performance of projects.
IoT is expected to play a crucial role in smart city development, where all public and private sector stakeholders interact with each other through a series of IoT devices. In time, all modern cities will be completely transformed into smart cities, where all these “smart” city services, including traffic control and smart street lights, will be linked with each other through IoT platforms.