The COVID-19 pandemic is a worldwide issue and companies in various industries and nations are responding in different ways. Almost universal, however, is the understanding that bad things can happen and we all must prepare better than last time. One approach, worldwide, is to explore the benefits of new technology or expand on the technology already in place.

The construction industry has faced significant business and technology challenges for a long time and many have been exaggerated by the pandemic. These include equipment and skilled labor shortages, increasingly short project schedules, and rising costs of infrastructure delivery. IoT (Internet of Things) will allow construction sites to leverage realtime data feeds to tackle these issues head on.

For example, Australian infrastructure contractor McConnell Dowell sought a smart IoT solution for construction sites that would collect, analyze, and visualize data in real time to better manage resources and improve project management, increasing agile decision making. They selected Orange Business Services to design a customized, smart, and scalable IoT solution that will enable construction sites to collect and report on real-time information, such as heavy machinery utilization and asset tracking, to enable smarter decisions for operational efficiency, time saving, and cost reductions.

Not just a supplier-buyer relationship, Orange and McConnell Dowell plan to co-create applications from innovation and idea to platform deployment. Orange created a flexible, scalable IoT platform to collect, report and visualize real-time information over a private IoT network, focusing on digitizing manual and paper-centric processes, and removing manual tasks from the construction site. Prior to this approach, McConnell Dowell could only access reports that were manually collated from physically captured data, a time consuming and inconsistent method.

With the Orange IoT platform, McConnell Dowell can access multiple devices and sensors that are collecting environmental data and measure asset utilization spread across construction sites to harvest data. This is then sent across a LPWAN (low-power wide-area network) to the company for analysis, correlated with other environmental data. Via realtime dashboards, McConnell Dowell can collect telemetry data, such as machine movements, and track assets onsite allowing project teams to assess efficiency of machine use and report on individual asset utilization.

The company can also track material such as concrete panels from manufacturer through transportation and installation. On site they can identify each individual panel and avoid incorrect placement, rework, and project delays. More use cases, business applications and new construction site roll outs are planned across the business.

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