Smart technology has infiltrated just about every industry and impacts businesses and consumers in a variety of ways. Mobile devices allow faster and more flexible transfer of information, VoIP allows companies to communicate across the globe with ease and the Internet of Things helps devices work together in tandem. Now, wearable technology is poised to enter the business world – and construction firms are on the lookout.
Wearables might provide a few advantages to workers on the construction site. Hands-free devices can provide instruction or insight to workers as they perform tasks that require both hands, like operating power tools or connecting fasteners. Then there are the construction safety benefits – reminders to wear the proper PPE, alerts when equipment may malfunction, and so on. There is also the potential for devices like Google Glass to allow workers to perform jobs with greater accuracy.
Wearables could strengthen construction safety efforts
For contractors, nothing takes precedent over workplace safety. Above all else, it is essential that construction workers are outfitted with the most up-to-date protective wear and trained in best safety practices. To these ends, new technology might lend a hand.
Wearable devices do not have to be 'smart' technology – it could just be a smart way of combining technology and clothing accessories. A perfect example is the new lighted safety gear from Fhoss Technology, reported New Civil Engineer. Construction firms in the U.K. have already begun to adopt the innovative offering.
The technology company outfitted high-visibility clothing with a reflective tape that has a battery-powered core. That means the tape does not need ambient light to reflect and illuminate the nearby surroundings. For teams that work in low-light conditions, this is a welcome advantage.
"The lights at the bottom of the trouser legs glow, which means workers can see the area around where they are stepping," explained Andy Kimitri, CEO of Fhoss Technology. "Whereas it's much harder to see the ground you walk on if you only have a head torch."
Kimitri also pointed out that, according to their research, highway traffic can see the workers using the battery-charged reflective tape from further away, reducing the risk of a collision.
Smart helmets might outfit the next generation of construction workers
The DAQRI Smart Helmet recently began shipping to construction firms looking for new ways to help their staff perform. The helmet is industrial-grade, capable of withstanding the same rigors as standard construction helmets, with one major difference. The helmet has a protective visor that can display work instructions in the context of the job being done through DAQRI's 4D proprietary software, according to the press release. Using other wearables like smart watches or by touching the screen, users can interact with the display and communicate with one another.
"I have witnessed first-hand how human error can mean the difference between not just profit and loss, but life and death, and there is potential for 4D to vastly improve almost every process – from training new employees to assembling the most advanced machinery," Andy Lowery, president of DAQRI, said in the press release. "With the launch of the DAQRI Smart Helmet, we are one step closer to realizing our vision for the workplace of the future."
While this technology may change the game for construction firms, it will also require that these companies become better-versed in the world of IT. According to the new Construction Technology report from JBKnowledge, many small firms lack an IT department altogether. As smart technology becomes more integrated into not only construction companies but their clients, as well, it may become essential for these teams to research IT methods.