Starting with the simple brick and hammer, there is a long history of using tools and innovation to get more work done.
While bricks and hammers remain, technology has constantly evolved and truly transformed the construction industry. Take the iPad, for example. When it was first introduced in 2010, it started to rapidly replace the need for paper-based plans and processes. And since then, change has been constant.
Today’s construction technology is more advanced than ever. From cameras to sensors, we explore some of the most cutting-edge construction hardware transforming the future of the industry.
1: Construction Cameras
Cameras have changed the way we look at and experience a build. In the past, jobsite cameras grew from the use of early “webcams,” which were adapted for use in construction as early as the 1990s. They’ve been used across various industries, but as they have become more innovative and advanced, they’ve become irreplaceable on a construction site.
Today, jobsite cameras’ rich capabilities address three key areas:
- Risk and safety
- Winning new projects
- Productivity and safety
With solar-powered, wireless cameras more available than ever before, it’s not surprising to find them on on sites all around the world.
Five excellent cameras used in construction today include the following.
EarthCam, a leader in camera technology and an Autodesk Premium Partner, has transformed what cameras can do for construction. With the highest resolution imagery in the industry, EarthCam makes it easy to upload webcam, 360° VR photography and video content to Autodesk Construction Cloud. AI Object Detection and Safety Analytics deliver actionable data to augment RFIs and reports in Autodesk Build. EarthCam’s unique ability to accurately align real-time photos and video over 3D models in Navisworks gives new perspectives and transforms collaboration.
From the early stages of preconstruction through post-construction, DroneDeploy creates high-resolution digital replicas with 3D models, 360-degree virtual tours, and more to track construction progress.
Sensera Systems allows you to monitor jobsites from any internet-enabled device to avoid costly rework and delays while improving collaboration with integrations to solutions such as Autodesk Construction Cloud.
Multivista captures 360-degree photos of your jobsite every week to facilitate pay app reviews, schedule updates, remote monitoring and validation of as-built conditions. Multivista can also help with laser scanning and developing BIM models or floorplans.
Evercam is a leading provider of construction camera software that uses artificial intelligence, BIM, and project management software integrations to make multiple data sources easily accessible from within their platform for their customers. From time-lapse videos to 360° integration, they offer a visualization platform that informs users to make data-driven decisions and communicate efficiently.
2: Laser Scanners in Construction
Laser scanning is increasing in popularity throughout the construction industry. By 2024, the demand is expected to grow by $10 billion.
With laser scanning technology, also known as high-definition surveying and reality capture, it’s possible to map an area with a higher level of detail and accuracy than with former methods. As a result, your job can be completed with better accuracy and at a higher quality thanks to the immediate technology provided by each laser scan.
The following are three top laser scanning technologies in the industry.
FARO offers a full line of their latest Focus Premium Laser Scanners, which can be controlled by a handheld device or tablet for fast and easy data collection and on-site registration. As a complementary solution, FARO also provides the FARO Freestyle 2; a superior handheld 3D scanner designed for professionals requiring quick and easy complete scene documentation.
NavVis delivers survey-grade point clouds through mobile mapping technology. NavVis VLX can be used with surveying devices that you already have, like the GNSS rover, and will process, align, and georegister data.
Leica has created the world’s smallest and lightest imaging laser scanner, which can be used to capture point clouds and provide location tracking with the VIS system. The latest system, the small BLK360, is small enough to fit into the palm of your hand.
3: Sensors and Tags In Construction
Sensors and tags are extremely important on a jobsite and can help improve the way you measure your data. Sensors can monitor site conditions, enhance your equipment, improve material management, empower better facility management, and improve worker safety.
Sensors and tags, especially wearables, collect data about the jobsite that can help you keep an eye on safety, the status and productivity of certain equipment, and more.
There are many different sensors and tags available on the market today. Two that you may want to explore more include Awair and Tenna.
Awair focuses on improving indoor air quality by gaining insight into the quality of air within just a few minutes. With Omni, the company’s intelligent air quality monitoring system, you can track environmental factors such as Temperature, Humidity, CO2, or PM2.5. Building owners, managers, and others can use this data to optimize wellness on site.
Tenna offers various tracking devices that leverage different types of technology to gather asset data for everything in a mixed construction fleet, such as heavy equipment, trucks, or small tools. These Internet of Things (IoT) devices collect real-time information that is accessible on Tenna’s cloud-based total equipment management platform to help contractors make informed business decisions while enabling field, shop and office staff to streamline visibility and communication and work more efficiently with accurate information.
Investing in wearables can help your team and improve many workflows. This technology comes in many forms, though many people are most familiar with smartwatches or pedometers.
Wearables can track your vital signs, tell you about how much you walked today, and even give you insight into how much sleep you got last night.
The technology has also been extended into the field of construction, helping to keep workers safer. They can make jobsites more accessible to people and improve efficiency, so that jobs are done on time.
Wearables collect data, so you can review that information and take action to improve the safety of your jobsite or improve the workflow of a particular job.
RealWear designs original, head-mounted wearable devices. These devices are completely hands-free, making it easy to connect frontline workers to the information they need to complete their job tasks. The devices instantly deliver information, like IoT data, so it is available when needed.
It is connected with WiFi and Bluetooth, has sound recording and speakers, and a small screen to deliver information to the wearer. All of this happens in a device that easily snaps onto a hardhat.
XYZ Reality focuses on Engineering-Grade Augmented Reality (AR). Its wearable technology enables construction teams to view and position BIM on-site to 5-millimeter accuracy, reducing the likelihood of build errors and rework.
As an all-in-one, fully managed service, XYZ Reality’s Cloud platform works with the Atom headset (an Engineering Grade AR headset).
WakeCap assists HSE teams on construction sites in three ways: remotely ensure PPE compliance (all workers are wearing their hard hats) in real time, react to evacuation or medical emergencies and reduce time to resolution, and accurately investigate and analyze incidents with automatic location and event driven data.
As Tech Evolves, So Will Construction
The reality is that technology will continue to have an impact on the way work is done in the construction industry. While not every technology will stick around, augmented reality, safety wearables, sensors, laser scanners, and other kinds of tools are going to continue to find their place into the industry and into your workflows.