One of the biggest technological trends in the construction industry for 2018 could be the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT is the integrated network that connects smart devices together. Connecting these smart devices allows for the collection and assessment of data while also providing opportunities for automation. For example, the IoT can be used in the home to connect lighting, heating and security systems and to automate these systems to activate at specific, set times.
In the construction sector, the IoT is used in remote operation and monitoring, supply replenishment, construction tool tracking and in equipment service and repair. For example, connected monitoring tools collect, record and upload data on carbon dioxide levels, utility usage and on-site orientation routes. Once assessed this data can be used to optimise building conditions. If on-site traffic is regularly congested at a particular pinch point, this data can be used to develop a different route.
Sensor-equipped smart devices can also be used to remotely monitor high-end construction equipment. If this equipment begins to vibrate excessively, or fluctuate in temperature, an alert can be triggered by the device to dispatch maintenance workers. They can then repair the equipment before it fails, preventing costly delays to construction.
The IoT will have a huge impact on Building Information Modelling (BIM). BIM is a 3D modelling process used to plan and manage construction products. The IoT will revolutionise BIM by providing it with live sources of data before, during and after construction. This data will be integrated into the 3D models, transforming BIM into a central hub with far-reaching applications, from schematics through to building operations and maintenance.