Following the rise of big data analytics in the era of information technology and web based platforms, the highly used term, IoT, or, the Internet of Things, has been experiencing wider market adoption, despite being a concept around for a long time. IoT describes how anything of value has a connection or interface to the Internet and easily store and exchange data, ultimately offering greater integration, with less invasive installation. While applications can range from monitoring health and fitness through wearables, to having your fridge tracking and replenishing crucial groceries, to self driving connected cars, the notion of IoT has already, and will continue to, integrate into our daily lives. The advantages of IoT go even further as they are also prominent in the construction, manufacturing and contracting industries, where every stage of their processes can embrace the idea of IoT, enabling its short term payback and long term benefits.
IoT and the above mentioned industries go hand in hand, especially towards the future of digitalization in these environments. IoT in construction has multiple benefits, more specifically in regards to power and fuel savings, monitoring equipment, and supply replenishment. By having the technology in place to monitor the electrical usage and downtime of underutilized assets, the data can be used to pinpoint these times to reduce usage and therefore save costs, and capital. In terms of monitoring equipment, by having sensors which communicate that an asset needs to be replaced or serviced before it breaks down, it saves time and embarrassment down the road. This is known as predictive maintenance, one of IoT’s biggest value propositions across every industry. Rather than spending time and money fixing a problem, operators can use gathered data to work towards a solution, before it happens. In fact, according to a TATA Consultancy Survey, those who used IoT solutions in the manufacturing industry saw an average increase in revenues of 28.5% between 2013 and 2014. According to McKinsey, the construction industry is ripe for disruption from technology as large capital projects typically take 20% longer to complete, and are up to 80% over budget.
More specific to the monitoring of buildings, connected sensors communicate to owners performance trends over time, giving insight to future problems or future solutions, ultimately leading to easier and scalable decision making. With one of the most common future concerns for all industries being increasing operating costs, it makes sense that businesses will look towards greater productivity and preventative monitoring through IoT technology.
IoT and SMT:
So where does SMT fit in? SMT has been adding Internet, monitoring, and connectivity to the construction industry for the past eleven years. By using active cloud based monitoring systems on walls, roofs, foundations and other building elements, our sensors monitor and produce data related to the building enclosure, in order to give owners insight to the longevity and health of their prized asset. More specifically, by monitoring the performance between the roof membrane and ceiling, or between the outside wall cladding and interior surfaces, SMT allows building owners to ensure the safety of occupants, see problems before they happen, (such as moisture and condensation issues), and monitor results to develop future solutions based on data trends.
Due to the importance of remote structure monitoring and data acquisition, SMT investigation electronics have been installed in buildings and/or research scenarios for forensic, mock-up validations, historic walls monitoring, wood frame wall construction, curtain wall monitoring, and even for specific environmental installation conditions to ensure properly deploying construction products. In fact, a recent project undertaken by SMT was the world’s tallest wood frame structure, UBC Tallwood Building, where our sensors are being used to monitor both the settling and compression of the 18 floors of all wood structure, but also the moisture performance from the factory, through transportation and site storage of the prefabricated cross laminated timber. By having real-time data on current building conditions, SMT helps take out the guesswork of when something is necessary, and can avoid inefficient costs for smarter decisions across multiple industries: construction, manufacturing, roofing, and more.
Through installing SMT sensors and IoT systems, such as our Conventional Roof Building Intelli - Leak Detection System, contractors and manufacturers have been able to quickly see damaged roofing membranes during construction, enabling them to complete timing repairs minimizing water below the membrane and entrapped in the assembly. In some cases, the contractor is able chargeback the “other” party that has done the damage, and reduce the deployment costs on their end. In addition, through Night Seal Monitoring, organizers know exactly where moisture has passed, increasing efficiency and therefore cutting costs further. Due to the quality assurance during construction and maintenance shown through our monitors, this then allows the membrane’s life to be extended and renewed into the future.
Despite all the benefits of IoT, how do companies know that it is the right investment? While IoT in the construction industry is just picking up, a recent report done by the McKinsey Global Institute predicts that by 2025, IoT systems will generate $4 trillion by 2025, in just the low scenario. 70% of the predicted generated economic value will be from construction and manufacturing systems. As well, a statistic found on Statista.com shows that both the industrial/manufacturing and construction/infrastructure industries segments are predicted to grow by almost double in the worldwide IoT market. While McKinsey estimates that construction is currently amongst one of the least digitized industries, they also state that IoT is one of the coming trends shaping the field as it becomes increasingly more digitized in the future. This shows that there is huge growth potential in the market, and can allow for businesses to capitalize on the trend now, leading into the future.
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