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Telematics combines telecommunications and informatics and is commonly used to monitor assets such as vehicles and heavy equipment by using GPS and onboard diagnostics to record movements on a computerized map.

The rigid deadlines and thin margins of construction projects demand an efficient and rapid delivery rate. Telematics proves to be significantly useful here as it helps to establish a connection between vehicles and equipment to maximize productivity and asset utilization on the construction site.

How Does Telematics Work?

With telematics, equipment can be monitored by a tracking device through an in-built GPS and onboard diagnostics. GPS tracking presents the companies with precise information about the vehicles on site. Issues like speeding, rash driving, and excessive idling, which can increase the vehicle’s running and maintenance costs, are closely monitored.

Application of Telematics in Construction
Image Courtesy: ForConstructionPros

Telematics runs mostly on data. The assets are connected to the cloud for surveillance. The telematics devices collect data and send it to a data center in a packaged format, which is then decoded.

Real-time monitoring collects this data to be shared with the company. The data or report received contains information regarding the machinery and is sent to the supervisor or manager on their computer systems or mobile devices.

Telematics in Construction

Telematics in the construction industry can be categorized as on-road and off-road. The on-road construction telematics systems encompass the movement of people, the movement of materials, and the movement of vehicles. In contrast, off-road construction telematics includes monitoring of equipment on site.

Telematics systems provide thorough information regarding the numerous equipment used in the construction industry. They assist companies in monitoring the status, location, availability, condition, and performance of construction machinery.

Through telematics, every equipment owned by a construction company can be supervised to avoid delays and cost overruns. The telematics software provides the companies with a wide range of information, such as equipment idle time, engine hours, fuel efficiency, maintenance schedule, safety alerts, locations, and productivity.

The companies can choose to get daily, weekly, monthly, or real-time reports, and appropriate steps can then be taken based on these reports to enhance productivity and maximize utilization by reducing the downtime of the assets, thus saving costs and delivering better customer service.

Advantages of Telematics in Construction

Telematics systems connect the entire service workflow, from portable assets and workers in the field to the back office. Telematics, in combination with analytical systems, can be extremely beneficial for any construction company by increasing productivity, managing the budget, and ensuring better visibility.

The transparency that the system provides boosts the working speed as the faults and issues are instantly detected. The telematics system offers a number of advantages, which have been discussed below:

1. Equipment Utilization

Telematics helps in assessing exactly where and how much a machine is being used. This information allows the company to decide whether the machine allocations are sufficient or inadequate. Equipment hoarding or shortage is therefore identified and managed on time.

This aids in analyzing the number of machines required at a job site, which, in turn, helps in adjusting the fleet size to meet the company’s requirements and reduce the cost of equipment rental.

Use of Telematics in Construction Equipment
Image Courtesy: Volvo

With utilization reports, companies are better positioned to decide which assets should be deployed and re-allocated. Such practices help keep the jobs on track and complete them within the stipulated deadline.

2. Site Management

Telematics system is also integrated with maintenance management systems, which can help in scheduling and performing precautionary maintenance and repair for the assets.

Telematics system can send alerts when a piece of machinery is performing below its optimum capability. This would notify the user of a failing component and point toward the requirement for maintenance, repair, or replacement of some parts of the equipment. By identifying performance issues early on, equipment’s life can be extended, and labor, as well as repair costs, can be reduced.

3. On-Site Safety

GPS alerts and geofencing used in telematics systems send signals when a piece of equipment moves away from its designated position. The same equipment can then be recovered easily by using real-time tracking, resulting in increased recovery rates.

Alerts can also be sent when pieces of machinery are used by any unauthorized person outside of work hours. Moreover, active monitoring of the equipment’s health, performance, and quality can help prevent potential accidents on job sites.

4. Complete Customization

End-users can customize the system according to the requirement of the job. They can set several alerts for different pointers. For instance, alerts can be scheduled when a particular milestone is reached, when equipment is being overused, or when the job site is financially constrained.

5. Reduced Fuel Consumption

Telematics systems let one identify the machines left idle and the machines being used, which helps in identifying the source of fuel wastage. Idle time and engine revolutions per minute (RPM) are the factors responsible for fuel-efficiency.

Telematics can then be used to auto-shutdown a machine when it reaches an idle time. Recovery practices are implemented to reduce fuel misuse and increase efficiency. It can also extend engine life and reduce maintenance costs.

6. Site Reporting

This feature enables site managers to monitor the availability of team members on site. It can be especially useful on very large sites where it isn’t easy to keep track of the workers’ whereabouts—knowing who’s on site, their time of arrival and departure, their proximity to hazardous areas, etc. can help establish safety within the site.

7. Increased Productivity

With real-time, accurate, and better knowledge of where, when, and how the equipment is being used, job site productivity can be enhanced manifold. Insufficient performance by the operators can be better managed through training, whereas instant alerts about maintenance and repairs can save on costs as well as increase the life of the machines.

Telematics for Construction Equipment
Image Courtesy: ORBCOMM

Telematics systems save a large amount of time and money invested by the companies for constructing a building. When every possible hurdle can be overcome by instant identification of the same, companies can work structurally and efficiently.

The entire workplace stays connected through the cloud by the use of telematics systems. This has proven to improve productivity and work efficiency because of better visibility and transparency between the job site and the office.

The Future of Telematics

As construction businesses are on the rise, especially in developing regions of Asia-Pacific, there is a high demand for efficient performance under strict deadlines. Companies are looking for ways to implement transparency to better manage their equipment on site. Utilizing telematics together with analytical systems have shown multiple benefits, which presents the future of telematics to be quite promising.

However, there still are possibilities for some advancement in the system. Telematics dashboards can modify the way data or utilization reports are presented. Data would be well-structured and more streamlined. The addition of resourceful insights can help in taking swift actions to save money and enhance efficiency.

FAQs

What is telematics?

Telematics is the branch of science combining telecommunications and informatics, it is commonly used to monitor assets such as vehicles and heavy equipment, by using GPS and onboard diagnostics to record movements.

What are the advantages of telematics in construction?

The advantages of telematics in construction include:
1. Equipment Utilization
2. Site Management
3. On-site Safety
4. Complete Customization
5. Reduced Fuel Consumption
6. Site Reporting
7. Increased Productivity

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