Tag Archive for 'Internet Of Things (IoT)'

Triax Technologies Launches Social Distancing and Contact Tracing IoT Solution, Helping Keep Workers Safe During COVID-19 and Beyond

Triax Technologies, Inc., launched an IoT-based solution that addresses a need arising from the COVID-19 pandemic – helping keep workers safe on the worksite, through safe distancing and contact tracing. It’s now being used on construction sites. 

Proximity Trace provides alerts, via a wearable device, when workers in construction, manufacturing and other industrial environments are too close in proximity based on recommended social distancing practices. In the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19, it also enables companies to trace data captured passively by the worker’s device to identify who might have been exposed.

This is also a focus of major players, such as Google and Apple, which just announced that they’ve teamed up to develop COVID-19 contact tracing technology for the general public. Their effort, however, will use Bluetooth technology based on smartphone location data, which could raise privacy concerns.  

Proximity Trace Helps Organizations Minimize Exposure for Workers and Aims to Get Them Back to Work More Safely

In response to the need for greater worker protection during the COVID-19 pandemic, Triax Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of Internet of Things (IoT) worksite technology, recently announced a new IoT system, Proximity TraceTM. The new solution provides proximity distancing alerts and contact tracing through a wearable device for workers across many industries, including construction, heavy industrial, energy and manufacturing. It offers added protection for essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and helps companies get workers back to work safely, while addressing recommended social distancing practices.

“In talking with our customers, we recognized a critical industry need to keep workers safe from COVID-19 exposure on the worksite, so we quickly got to work developing a solution,” said Robert Costantini, Triax Technologies CEO. “We leveraged our experience in IoT technology and workforce safety monitoring to address companies’ urgent needs for workers to maintain appropriate distances, to perform historical contact tracing for any employee testing positive for the virus, and to assist companies in getting their workforce back on the job as they implement new safety protocols. Our solution is designed to ease the burden on workers to maintain appropriate distances as part of new safety practices that very well could become the next normal.”

The Proximity Trace devices are affixed to a hard hat or worn on the body with a lanyard and emit a progressively louder alarm, alerting workers when they are too close to each other. This enables them to focus on their work, rather than worrying about their proximity to another worker or potential exposure to the virus. The alarm can also serve to change behaviors by reminding workers to practice safe social distancing. In the event that there is a confirmed case of COVID-19, an employer can conduct contact tracing using historical data captured passively by the worker’s device to identify who may have been exposed. Traditional methods of contact tracing rely on workers’ memories and whether they can identify by name other workers they were in contact with during a given time period. With more reliable information, companies can decide who needs to be in mandatory or precautionary quarantine per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, and whether the site can continue to operate safely without the need to shut down the entire operation.

“Worker safety is our top priority, so we were thrilled to hear that our technology partner Triax developed a solution to address the social distancing and contact tracing problems the industry is facing during COVID-19,” said Jason Pelkey, senior vice president, Chief Information Officer, Gilbane Building Company. “We’re rolling this out at our active sites and we’re excited about the role it could play in keeping workers safer at those sites as well as non-essential sites as we begin returning those to full operational status in the months to come.” 

Proximity Trace was designed to support appropriate social distancing guidelines as outlined by government agencies. It can be used alongside an organization’s internal policies on social distancing and other safety guidelines. 

Proximity Trace doesn’t use Triax’s proprietary mesh network, but rather communicates separately to a cloud dashboard specifically designed for contact tracing. The product is undergoing field testing and key feedback from early customers will be incorporated into production for commercial availability. 

Triax is a proven leader in the field of industrial wearables. Its flagship Spot-r technology has been deployed, maintained and managed in construction and industrial settings, with customers leveraging hundreds or thousands of the IoT devices on individual worksites. 

About Triax Technologies

Triax Technologies, Inc. develops and delivers a fully connected IoT worksite platform through a proprietary communication hub designed for construction, energy, heavy industrial and other challenging IT environments. Its flagship Spot-r system elevates worksite visibility, safety and security while minimizing risk by connecting workers, equipment and management through a scalable, minimal infrastructure network, wearables and other sensors, and a cloud-based dashboard. By providing real-time, data-driven visibility into site access, worker and equipment location, manpower and safety incidents, Spot-r enables intelligent, actionable insights, helping firms streamline processes and work safer and smarter. The company is privately held and based in Norwalk, Conn. 

More information can be found at: https://www.triaxtec.com/.

Five Manufacturing Trends to Watch in 2020

By Mike Schmidt, AEM

Both the immediate and long-term future of the manufacturing industry will be defined by the development of several ever-evolving and cutting-edge trends and technologies. Many of these trends and technologies are poised to have a significant impact in 2020 and beyond, so it’s critically important for manufacturers to develop a keen understanding of what they are, how they will grow over time, and how they will impact those within the industry – both this year and in the future.

With that in mind, let’s look at five manufacturing trends to watch in 2020:

Wearable Technology

The rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) in industrial applications has given way to the increased prevalence of wearable technology in the manufacturing industry. Manufacturers of all types and sizes are increasingly looking into – and investing in – wearable devices with different sensors that can be used by their workforce.

According to a recent article from EHS Today, electronic features found in wearable devices allow for organizations to monitor and increase workplace productivity, safety and efficiency. In addition, employers are now readily capable of collecting valuable information, tracking activities, and providing customized experiences depending on needs and desires.

Improvements in bio-sensing now allow for health parameters such as body temperature, heart rate and blood oxygen levels to be monitored. Furthermore, employers now have the ability to leverage the data they obtain to complement welfare programs and reduce healthcare costs.

Factors leading to the increased adoption of wearable technology include portability, convenience, operational efficiency, and much more. Consumers use the technology for fitness and health tracking, mobile notifications at a glance, and even contactless payments. The business world has taken notice, and wearable technology is quickly becoming a fixture in manufacturing.

An article from Manufacturing.net notes that potential applications in the manufacturing sector include safety awareness and injury prevention, training, process improvements, situational awareness, augmented reality, remote management, as well as authentication and security planning.

Manager Technical Industrial Engineer working and control robotics with monitoring system software and icon industry network connection on tablet. AI, Artificial Intelligence, Automation robot arm

Predictive Maintenance

Effective equipment maintenance is central to the success of any manufacturer. So it goes without saying that the ability to predict impending failures and mitigate downtime is incredibly valuable. Predictive maintenance offers that and much more. Ultimately, it gives manufacturers the means to optimize maintenance tasks in real time, extending the life of their machinery and avoiding disruption to their operations.

Seebo outlines predictive maintenance for Industry 4.0 as a method of preventing asset failure by analyzing production data to recognize patterns and identify potential issues before they occur. Predictive maintenance for Industry 4.0 is a method of preventing asset failure by analyzing production data to identify patterns and predict issues before they happen.

Predictive maintenance isn’t without its challenges, however. In order to successfully build a predictive maintenance model, manufacturers must gain insights on the variables they are collecting and how often certain variable behaviors occur on the factory floor.

It’s absolutely critical for organizations to possess knowledge about each specific machine and a strong data set of previous failures in which they can review. Manufacturers also have to make decisions around lead time, as the closer to failure the machine is allowed to go, the more accurate the prediction.   

5G/Smart Manufacturing

The fourth Industrial Revolution isn’t coming. It’s already arrived. Smart factories are becoming the norm in manufacturing, and they rely on connected devices to leverage technologies like automation, artificial intelligence, IoT and more. In addition, these devices are capable of sensing their environments and interacting with one another. As factories of the future continue to grow and develop, manufacturers need to realize that they must be able to adapt the networks that connect them – efficiently and effectively.

According to a recent article from AT&T, 5G networks offer the industry opportunities to create new revenue streams. Along with energy and utility, the manufacturing industry stands to benefit the most from the rise of 5G. A report from Ericsson states that “the expected addressable market in 2026 will $113 billion, a substantial 7 percent potential revenue growth from current service revenue forecasts.”

The factories of tomorrow will rely greatly on sensor technology, and they will prominently feature connected tools, utilizing data to guide the tasks of the workforce. According to AT&T, 5G’s high capacity, wireless flexibility and low-latency performance make it the perfect choice to support manufacturers in these efforts.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

When it comes to using augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) in manufacturing, the possibilities are endless. Whether it’s helping make processes more efficient, improving product design and development, or maintaining machinery more effectively, these technologies are capable of becoming game-changers in the coming years.

Virtual reality allows its users to move around a 360-degree virtual world and – in some cases – even interact with it. When using virtual reality, real, physical surroundings are no longer a factor. And, thanks to advancements in technology, the virtual world is now being reproduced better than ever before. Augmented reality differs in the sense that its users are required to be at a specific location to augment their experience of reality, while those who use virtual reality are completely immersed in a virtual world.

According to an article from PwC, manufacturers are becoming more adept at finding ways to incorporate these technologies within their organizations in an effort to drive a future defined by digital connectivity. And, says PwC, one in three manufacturers have adopted – or will adopt – virtual reality and augmented reality in the next three years.

Cybersecurity

The importance of cybersecurity in manufacturing cannot be overstated. More and more connected devices are being integrated into organizational processes each day, so it almost goes without saying that the manufacturing industry needs to develop a keen understanding of how to best deal with them.

As the industry becomes more connected with time, equipment manufacturers and their customers will be impacted in a number of ways. For example, even the simple act of charging a mobile device in a nearby USB port may lead to dire consequences. As a result, companies must be diligent in their efforts to educate employees on the potential consequences of their cyber activities.

The ability for a manufacturer to effectively protect itself today hinges upon its willingness to take the following two key steps: address organizational concerns and implement a clear and effective cybersecurity strategy.

Cybersecurity is – and will – remain a major concern for companies of all types and sizes. With malware attacks on the rise and many organizations having been negatively affected by the increased prevalence of ransomware, companies (both literally and figuratively) can’t afford to overlook cybersecurity as a top priority in 2020 and beyond.Looking for more information about the latest trends and technologies impacting the manufacturing industry in 2020 and beyond? Visit aem.org/think and subscribe to the AEM Industry Advisor.

This feature appeared in the February 2020 issues of the ACP Magazines:

California Builder & Engineer, Construction, Construction Digest, Construction News, Constructioneer, Dixie Contractor, Michigan Contractor & Builder, Midwest Contractor, New England Construction, Pacific Builder & Engineer, Rocky Mountain Construction, Texas Contractor, Western Builder

Catching Up to Keep Up

By Greg Sitek

By now you’ve had a chance to face the fact that we are well into the new year 2020, which is also the start of a new decade, the second in this the 21st Century. One of the many things that has change in recent times is the speed at which thing evolve or change. Many people look at the construction industry and think that it is slow to change. Although it may appear to be it isn’t.

Granted, much within the industry doesn’t change — the equipment used doesn’t “look” like it has changed but equipment owners and operators know that it has. Construction equipment is more efficient and more productive; requires less maintenance; is more comfortable in all kinds of weather and all kinds of climates; it has machine controls to assist the operator; some can be operated remotely, and the list goes on.

Typical hand held construction tools have changed evolving from the once standard corded tools to battery powered versions that deliver as much if not more productivity without the hazard of electric cords stretched a jobsite. Lighting has improved radically not only on the mobile equipment but also on the hand-held and on the jobsite. 

If you think about it, there has been a lot of change with the equipment, tools, safety devices, lighting, signs, communications, data and information collection and distribution, design and engineering and management.

Along with these changes have come an endless list of acronyms. If nothing else, our world has gone acronym crazy. Some of them have become a part of our jargon and we know instantly what they while others take time to figure out and still others need someone to explain them to us.

BIM is one of the acronyms that has become more common. What is BIM? Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a process that begins with the creation of an intelligent 3D model and enables document management, coordination and simulation during the entire lifecycle of a project (plan, design, build, operation and maintenance). (Autodesk.com)

What is BIM used for? BIM is used to design and document building and infrastructure designs. Every detail of a building is modeled in BIM. The model can be used for analysis to explore design options and to create visualizations that help stakeholders understand what the building will look like before it’s built. The model is then used to generate the design documentation for construction. (Autodesk.com)

What is the process of BIM? The process of BIM supports the creation of intelligent data that can be used throughout the lifecycle of a building or infrastructure project. (Autodesk.com)

Another acronym that has become popular is IoT — The Internet of Things is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. Wikipedia

We ran a few article on IoT in the ACP magazines and on this website. The most recent, Construction Enters the IoT Age, was posted on December 15, 2019 (http://www.site-kconstructionzone.com/?p=17582). According to market research firm, IDC, worldwide IoT spending will surpass the $1 trillion mark in 2022. It’s already disrupting many industries – from gathering sensory data on agricultural crops, trucking routes or the state of consumer appliances, to monitoring patient heart rates in healthcare. Construction has joined this IoT revolution. A study released by Dodge Data and Analytics, in partnership with Triax Technologies, found that nearly three-quarters of contractors surveyed believe IoT will help them control occupational risks, and about half expect it to reduce risks to the public, as well as financial risks and those related to property damage and construction defects.

Another article, The Future of Construction from DEWALT — Introducing the New Age of Jobsite Connectivity, was posted on May 31, 2017 (http://www.site-kconstructionzone.com/?p=14373). This article looks at the use of IoT to help contractors with asset management on the job. 

What’s next? How about, PBA – Project Business Automation. Project Business Automation (PBA) defines a new software category that integrates the fragmented project application landscape into one system, allowing information to flow freely throughout the enterprise, which means radically better and timelier insight and business management capabilities.

Project Business Automation is changing how project business gets done. It takes companies from a disparate and cumbersome collection of manual processes and business applications to a unified, holistic approach to their business. It takes a revolutionary look at the project business and enable entirely new capabilities that drive substantial improvements in efficiency, visibility, and control that ultimately lead to better project outcomes. ( http://www.adeaca.com/    )

Watch for articles on PBA in future issues of the ACP magazines. Meanwhile, to get caught up and/or keep current with changes in the industry take in some of the 203 educational session at the upcoming CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020, March 7-10, LasVegas NE.

This editorial appeared in the 2020 issues of the ACP Magazines:

California Builder & Engineer, Construction, Construction Digest, Construction News, Constructioneer, Dixie Contractor, Michigan Contractor & Builder, Midwest Contractor, New England Construction, Pacific Builder & Engineer, Rocky Mountain Construction, Texas Contractor, Western Builder

Construction Enters the IoT Age

Uses Data-Driven Visibility to Improve Safety, Reduce Risk on the Jobsite

By Ian Ouellette, Triax Technologies

Construction projects are on the rise across the country – from the growth of mixed use buildings in urban areas, to major renovations taking place in higher education and K-12 institutions. How can contractors and those responsible for building maintenance ensure the safety of workers, occupants and the general public during such disruption? Many are turning to Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to gain greater visibility and control. 

According to market research firm, IDC, worldwide IoT spending will surpass the $1 trillion mark in 2022. It’s already disrupting many industries – from gathering sensory data on agricultural crops, trucking routes or the state of consumer appliances, to monitoring patient heart rates in healthcare. Construction has joined this IoT revolution. A study released by Dodge Data and Analytics, in partnership with Triax Technologies, found that nearly three-quarters of contractors surveyed believe IoT will help them control occupational risks, and about half expect it to reduce risks to the public, as well as financial risks and those related to property damage and construction defects.

So how is IoT helping to reduce risk, while increasing productivity on the construction site?  

Improving Worker Safety on the Chaotic Construction Site

Construction remains an inherently challenging environment, with heavy materials, machinery and equipment, as well as multiple subcontractors and tradesmen all working at once. 

Along with these challenges, a serious labor shortage is forcing general contractors to hire from an increasingly limited pool. Being short-staffed comes with its own safety and operational risks, and when builders rush to complete a project, corners may be cut, safety procedures may be overlooked, and more accidents may happen. 

Given this environment, it’s no wonder that it ranks among the highest industries for worker injuries. But, in addition to the potential for injuries, safety incidents on the jobsite can have significant business impact, leading to lost time, decreased productivity and employee morale, along with rising insurance costs.

To improve safety across the project chain, owners/developers, contractors and subcontractors, are increasingly turning to IoT data, gathered in real-time from sensors worn by workers or tagged on equipment, to gain remote visibility into what is happening. How many workers are on site by trade and sub; how many safety incidents have occurred on site; where did they happen and who was nearby, are all key questions that need to be answered. IoT technology and analytics are helping to answer these questions and more, replacing assumptions with real-time data. 

In addition, wearable devices are not only showing the available manpower and location of your workforce, but it also can help detect and document worker falls, provide tools for workers to report hazards/signal distress in the field, and communicate the need to evacuate in real-time, from anywhere on the site.

Contractors armed with real-time jobsite data aggregated from IoT-based devices can better understand – and if needed, change – worker behavior, safety procedures and how work is managed onsite to take a more proactive approach to safety. Instead of locking insights into paper logs or files based on subcontractor, project or region, IoT-enabled, real-time safety data analysis allows construction companies to share these project insights with other key stakeholders and apply learnings to the next project, enabling continuous refinement of safety practices and procedures.

Keeping the Public Safe

With construction projects on the rise across healthcare facilities, schools and mixed-use buildings, it’s not only the safety of workers that needs to be addressed, but also the security of the general public and occupants of buildings.  When workers are equipped with IoT-based wearable sensors that are compatible with access control technology, it can ensure compliance with regulations by granting entry through a turnstile only to workers with up-to-date training and certifications as well as authorization to be on site.

Further, with beacons placed at areas that are off limits to workers, such as student restrooms, patient hospital rooms or completed apartment floors, projects managers can see in real-time if a worker is near one of these places of interest.

Managing the Financial Risk 

Since time really is money when it comes to construction projects, IoT technology is solving another critical need by helping contractors manage financial risk. It enables them to keep track of, and effectively manage, the many moving parts on a jobsite – including people, equipment, tools and more, to keep projects on time and on budget. 

Contractors are beginning to use analytics, driven by data captured from IoT sensors, to improve efficiency on the jobsite, better forecast projects and keep them on track. For example, by putting sensors on equipment and tools, contractors can reduce the time wasted in tracking them down. This is a sorely needed capability considering that an average construction worker spends about 20 percent of their time waiting for materials, equipment, or information, according to a study by the Department of Construction Science and Management at Clemson University. 

As with many other industries, IoT is becoming the must-have technology in the construction tool belt. It holds great promise in providing the data-driven insights that can improve the efficiency of a construction site, and the safety of workers and the general public. As it continues to take hold and evolve, we can expect to see new uses, integrations and innovations that will help usher in a safer and smarter approach to construction.