From connected hardhats, to smartwatches, and smart clothing, there are a number of uses for wearable devices on the construction jobsite. While this technology trend is still in its infancy, as technology providers are in the beginning stages of releasing construction-specific products, contractors may want to consider how such technology will impact the jobsite in the future.
Industry experts have long suggested technology like Google Glass has the potential to have a big impact in the construction industry, with the ability to provide data right out at the jobsite. However, research is continually showing there are other opportunities as well, such as for BIM (building information modeling), project management, and safety, among other jobsite processes.
Forrester Research, www.forrester.com, Cambridge, Mass., for example, predicts wearables will shift toward the enterprise in the next decade, providing big opportunities for construction, as well as other industries. Construction-specific technology providers recognize this trend and are beginning to release solutions to enable construction companies to gather and access data on these new devices at the jobsite.
JB Knowledge, www.jbknowledge.com, Bryan, Texas, provider of SmartBidNet, for example, has been developing a virtual-reality app for construction. The company says within two months after its release nearly 450 builders have downloaded the mobile app. The SmartReality app allows users to point a tablet or smartphone mobile device at printed 2D construction plan files and view the corresponding 3D model of the project on the screen, bridging the gap between project design and visualization.
While the company doesn’t specifically mention use of the app on a wearable device such as Google Glass, virtual-reality apps such as this and wearable devices will most certainly collide in the future, as the two go hand-in-hand.
Wearables have big potential in the construction industry going forward, but a number of contractors might still have questions regarding how to get started, which devices to consider, and how wearables are even connected.
n an effort to answer these questions and more Connected World magazine and Aeris Communications, www.aeris.com, Santa Clara, Calif., will discuss this rapidly developing market, as well as the game-changing potential of wearables, during part of a Webinar series focusing on the evolving M2M industry. The event—entitled “Eye, Wrist, Body … Where Is the Wearables Market Headed?”—will focus on the intersection of wearables and health and will take place on Wednesday, June 25.
Specific topics will include where the market will experience the greatest short-term adoption, as well as which types of connectivity these devices will use. For instance, although Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity dominate the industry today, will cellular-connected wearables be the future? Is 4G-LTE a viable option?
All this and more is what the construction industry also needs to consider when moving forward with wearable devices at the jobsite. The opportunities certainly exist to improve jobsite productivity, now it is just a matter of the industry taking the next step.