Imagine a jobsite where every piece of equipment and tool is connected to a central database that allows construction executives to track who used what tool and when. While this may sound like a futuristic-type of jobsite, the truth is this technology is readily available for the industry today.
For construction companies that are watching every dollar and cents, keeping a close eye on tools can provide significant value to the bottomline.
As construction companies are beginning to create more high-tech security at the jobsite, there are multiple options for specifically securing tools. In particular, Web-based applications can track, locate, and monitor the location tools using advanced connected technologies.
For example, ToolWatch, www.toolwatch.com, Englewood, Colo., a provider of software to track and manage assets, recently announced its tool-tracking system is available in the cloud—which allows construction companies to store tool and equipment data in the cloud, as opposed to on the construction company’s server.
Ultimately, solutions delivered via the cloud reduce the IT burden on the construction companies, as the information is stored and managed by a third party.
ToolHound, www.toolhound.com, St. Albert, Alta., has been offering a subscription-based model of its tool-tracking software for quite some time—allowing contractors to access software via a secure data center that automatically backs up data and provides maintenance and support services.
Most recently, ToolHound announced the release of its ToolHound RFID (radio-frequency identification) SecureCrib solution, which allows workers to obtain and return tools without a tool crib attendant.
The SecureCrib Kiosk allows workers to check out tools using a touchscreen computer and an RFID reader—which scans all items the worker possesses and displays items on a computer screen. This technology allows the site manager to have up-to-date inventories of tools and equipment, which can help prevent tools and equipment from becoming lost or removed from the jobsite.
RFID technology allows construction companies to keep track of supplies and materials at the jobsite using an RFID transmitter, which can store data about a particular item, and a tiny antenna, which communicates the data to readers via radio frequencies. This technology is becoming more widely used in the construction industry, as a tool to keep an eye on equipment and construction materials.
Another—very different—way to keep an eye on the jobsite is through advanced Webcam technology. Companies like OxBlue, www.oxblue.com, Atlanta, Ga., provide construction camera services to help monitor the jobsite.
OxBlue recently announced its iPhone/iPad application now allows users to view time-lapse movies directly from handheld devices, which will allow construction professionals to check on jobsite progress or track back to find out where a problem occurred.
While this technology is not tracking each individual tool, it is providing a broad view of the jobsite. In particular, the ability to access the videos via mobile devices gives construction executives a view of the jobsite at all times.
When it comes to tool-tracking software, ToolWatch’s iPhone and Android apps have a few features that can help beyond just keeping an eye on tools.
With ToolWatch’s iPhone and Android app, a construction worker can ‘start the clock’ when they begin using equipment and stop billing for its use immediately when finished, according to Don Kafka, CEO, ToolWatch. This can help construction companies save a significant amount of money.
These are just a few example of how technology is helping keep a closer eye on the jobsite. Other applications, such as location-based services, can help construction companies create a more secure jobsite. Maybe it is time you consider what types of technologies can help you connect your jobsite.