Posted January 9, 2024

Leveraging telematics to improve construction

The requirement to gather data on equipment use and emissions is becoming essential to rental and construction companies as well as legislators and investors, in efforts to variously increase man-machine productivity, improve safety and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

by Dave Swan, SVP Products, Trackunit

Increasing pressure from government, investors, clients and the construction industry is a clear indicator that reporting and leveraging real-time data on construction sites is becoming an essential baseline for contractors and the rental industry that support them. Live data tracking allowing meaningful insights to be developed is a major step in leveraging telematics to improve construction.

The growth in the global construction equipment OEM telematics market, according to Berg Insights, will grow at a CAGR of 12.0 percent from 6.2 million at the end of 2022 to 11.0 million units by 2027. This demonstrates a healthy opportunity as customers demand higher machine efficiency and the evidence-based capability to prove the data they generate.

The wide variety of systems and their uses, together with increasing numbers of construction tech companies has brought a surge in the usage of portable and onboard technology onto the market.  According to researchers at Future Market Insights, the construction tech market (globally) will grow to be USD 24 billion by 2033.

Construction and rental expect this investment to enable companies to rationalize their processes. Manual activities, such as maintenance schedules and individual machine faults, should no longer be written down on paper. The automation of these tasks, which includes images of machine parts or damage, is reducing downtime on sites and speeding time to solution or replacement on sites and stock yards where this technology is in place.

Telematics is a real-time opportunity
Digitally linking off-highway vehicles (OHV), equipment, tools and the operator has created a real-time ecosystem, where a central resource links all these assets across the telematic network. Leveraging this telematic network to gather data from these various sources allows users to process and analyze the information and generate reporting tools that provide daily machine operating activity, real-time maintenance or safety reports on individual or groups of machines or operators.

It is important that the rental, construction partner or the internal tech team developing the data solutions understand that data is a critical business asset. Leveraging data must start from the business problem and what data is needed to solve a problem or create the solution from an idea.

This needs to be lead from the top of the organization to ensure data solutions help drive business benefits. It must be understood that data needs to be accessible and usable by business strategists, not just technicians.

Time-sensitive data has an intrinsic value and therefore solutions need to be able to respond to alerts as they appear to achieve the most effective result. Contacting the operator with data they may need, such as reducing over-revving while a machine is idle, or supplying real-time fleet emissions to customers and the authorities.

It is often said that construction is slow to change because every new project is seen as an individual project rather than a continuation of the construction operators’ business plan. In the digital world, that is thankfully changing. Fleet owners and site managers can now leverage live data to build site-specific processes supported by digital dashboards allowing real-time overview to the sites’ connected machines.

Trackunit’s Sites app is designed to offer efficiency to site managers as it expands automatic detection of equipment status sitewide. Auto-grouping, preset alerts and reports generated by machine’s arrival, departure and position on a site ensures users can integrate digital solution and minimize manual administration of their fleet connectivity on a rental yard or construction site. For rental companies, the Sites app makes it much easier to see what is on their yard, where equipment is and whether it is on its way out of in, saving time and increasing fleet efficiency.

Who heals the healers?
With thousands of IoT devices joining networks every day in rental yards and construction sites, key to rental companies’ operational effectiveness is understanding the health of the connected telematic devices. When devices or connections fail operators, fleet managers and OEMs need usable data quickly to take remedial action.

The My Network app provides data, via Trackunit Manager, to quickly identify and resolve device-related issues to improve machine u -time and maximize owners ROI. Whether an OEM, telematics program manager, rental or fleet manager or a service technician, My Network provides the data to reduce time to resolution by up to 75 percent using a self-service approach.

This approach allows users to drive the usefulness of equipment data and increase the extracted value of their telematics solutions by 5 to 10 percent. Using real-time actionable insights, users can drive continuous and proactive resolution of device issues 66 percent faster without the need for OEM or third-party support.

Leveraging three core aspects of the app, users gain relevant data in a highly visual format, including a complete overview of all important device KPIs to drive corrective actions, configure thresholds, warning limits and device types, depending on fleet requirements. Users can gain immediate visibility of the composition and distribution of the device installations from 10 unique perspectives, driving operational value. Users can drill deeper into the device data with a consolidated list view of all device-related information, with filters and sorting capability to highlight the devices that require immediate attention.

Leveraging and actioning the growing volume of data has allowed the construction industry and rental sector to take huge strides in the past few years. Investment in technology, which has been a key driver in the rental market, has created a deeper understanding of the needs and benefits of data in a vehicle and business setting. This greater understanding has also extended the useful life of equipment as well as increasing resell value and benefiting fleet valuations. Data continues to provide levers to implement more efficient processes, improve machine health and helps increase safety and security across sites it is up to organizations and individuals to utilize the opportunities it provides.