The use of telematics in construction helps optimize resources and continue to advance construction businesses’ profitability
Over the last decade, construction companies have begun making use of more and more technology. This occurred despite the recent economic recession the U.S. went through. Various telematics systems and data analytics tools have become so important to construction companies that it’s hard to believe these tools haven’t been used for that long. There are many different benefits to data optimization that construction company owners are just now seeing for the first time.
Telematics allows you to keep track of all of your equipment and machinery, seeing at a glance what’s being used on which job site, its overall performance, and much more. This use of technology has a number of different benefits for your company, so if you haven’t already implemented telematics, here are a number of reasons why you should and a number of challenges you may face.
There Is a Cost
It’s important to note that telematics is still fairly new, and as with any new technology, it’s still costly. It is widely available, but many companies still hold off on fully investing in it to the point that every piece of equipment owned is tracked. Many only equip their heavy equipment and major tools with telematics. In addition to the cost of the hardware, this is partially due to a lack of fast decision-making. Companies have held off making the leap to fully investing in telematics, wanting instead to see what kind of return on investment they get.
Not All Telematics Systems Work Together
Some new equipment is coming with telematics systems installed, but these systems often only work with specific software. You may have one telematics system already installs on some of your machines, but then you purchase equipment that only reports to a different piece of software. Now you’ve got two different tools you have to use, juggling data from both and doing your best to find some way to consolidate the information in some form. This makes it easier to make mistakes or miss information from one of the systems. Trying to always purchase tools that use the same telematics system can be challenging, too.
Some Areas Lack Good Service
In order to report accurate data to any software, the telematics devices on your equipment needs to have access to Wi-Fi, cell signal, or satellites. Some job sites, especially remote sites, may not have good access. Some areas may not have any access at all, making it impossible to collect data regularly. When this occurs, you have to either come up with another way of gathering data or accept that you won’t be able to collect information at all.
The Future of Telematics and its Benefits
Fortunately, the future of telematics is looking fairly bright due to many of these challenging being directly addressed. In 2013, the Association of Equipment Management Professionals and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers joined forces to create a standardized format for telematics data. This would mean that regardless of what company created the hardware or software, data could be collected and analyzed. In 2016, the proposed protocols were adopted by the International Standards Organization and are now considered standard across the world. While some of the other systems are still in use, companies can begin phasing them out and replacing them with telematics devices that use the standard.
As with many tools, telematics is also becoming increasingly mobile. More and more apps that harness telematics data have been introduced, allowing construction teams to make use of the data collected at any job site or location around the world. This data is being presented in a more streamlined manner, making it easier to immediately grasp the relevant information and put it into use.
With all of this data now involved in decision-making, construction crews can use it to improve their efficacy and performance optimization. You’ll be able to know where your machinery is, when and how it’s being used, and what state it’s in. This will let you better schedule maintenance and other repair needs without leaving your crew stranded at a job site unable to do much work because the machinery they need is not available.
That, of course, means that you will also be saving money. Besides keeping your crew working at peak efficiency, you’ll also be able to see when machinery is running when it shouldn’t be, decreasing fuel waste and wear and tear on the engine.
A Tool for the Future
Telematics is definitely not going anywhere, and as it grows and becomes more easily available and budget-friendly, more and more construction crews will begin to rely on the information it provides. While it may not fit your budget to implement telematics across your entire fleet of machinery and equipment, a limited rollout can let you start gathering data and saving money now.