Where is it? Where is it going? Who is operating it? Data to answer these common questions can be found on the jobsite if you know where to look. And new technology knows.

Heavy equipment might be easy to find—backhoes and graders are usually easy to see—but smaller gear, down to hand tools, are often lost, strayed or stolen. At the recent ConExpo trade show, ZTR Control Systems, a Minneapolis company invested in telematics and the Industrial IoT (Internet of Things), introduced its ZTR Data Brokerage service that enables benefit sharing from machine IoT data across multiple customer accounts. With ZTR as the trusted broker between parties, client relationships, contracts and technology elements are managed to create the right sharing arrangement and increase IoT data value for everyone.

Extending the concept to connect non-powered equipment, attachments and hand tools, ZTR T-series tags are mounted to accessories to provide a clear view of machine and asset locations and usage. In addition, their ZTR M7, a flexible and rugged device with global coverage, the latest wireless technologies and powerful processing capabilities, provides a clear picture of usage, safety, productivity, performance, assets and more – all in a cost-effective, compact device.

ZTR Access Management solution allows contractors to improve safety and apply greater management over equipment using a keypad. Using the M7 device and ONE i3 Access Management service, users can assign equipment access rights to authorized trained operators, preventing unsafe machine use and theft.

Another approach to jobsite asset control is the “eye-in-the-sky” method. Using drones on the site can be a good way to track movement of equipment in the moment but new sensor technology is making constant tracking possible. A company named Propeller Aerobotics, in Australia, has developed DirtMate, a machine tracking system that can produce survey-grade progress data as often as the user needs it.

DirtMate sensors fill in the blind spots that occur between surveys with real-time data. After a simple, wireless installationthe sensors collect RTK (Real-Time Kinematics) GPS and IMU (Inertial Measurement Units) information and makes it available immediately. DirtMate sensors can run on solar power or can be wired into the machine they track.

The data stream feeds directly into the Propeller Platform, which converts the data into live 3D surfaces. Worksites can use this information to generate cut and fill heatmaps, utilization graphs, and progress-to-design measurements. Site supervisors can know what headway their team is making, where it is being made, and have a timestamp of the exact moment the work was complete.

A demonstration on 20 machines in Australia showed DirtMate:

  • measured volumes moved on a daily basis, quickly and cost-effectively.
  • optimized vehicle routes and improve the efficiency of vehicles working.
  • reduced reliance on contractors for progress data and started collecting the data themselves.
  • and, quickly identified traffic management issues, such as pinch points or areas of high risk, using the snail trail feature.

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