Knowing exactly where valuable tools and equipment are in “real time” can be key to a successful construction project, as can protecting employees in an industry where accidents and injury are an ever present danger.
RFID (radio-frequency identification) technology has been widely used for tracking tools, equipment, materials and there are numerous GPS tracking systems available to track the location of vehicles coming in and out of the jobsite.
However, the advent of a new technology, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) or Bluetooth 4.0, has emerged and has much wider uses to improve the ability of construction businesses to keep track of a much wider variety of assets even down to individual tools and log and monitor activities on site and to improve health and safety.
GPS doesn’t work indoors or underground and RFID offers limited communication, whereas BLE is easily deployable in a wider range of locations, it’s very low power and is a lot more flexible when it comes to converging technology, making it a more ‘Future Proof’ investment.
BLE has the capability to track and monitor workers and assets more accurately, with the added functionality of being able to integrate into legacy back end systems to send audio and content to connected mobile devices (approx. 80% of all recent mobile devices). Adopted by IOS, Android and Windows operating systems, its low power and cost, as well as its robust and reliable communication means BLE is quickly becoming the technology of choice.
One such company, Iknaia (www.iknaiatracking.com), London, UK, has built a completely robust end to end solution combing BLE and Wi-Fi. Iknaia’s beacons present their location to their detectors in ‘real-time’. In addition the detectors can connect to mobile devices and send content specific to that device based on its proximity.
Julia McNally, Founder explains: “One of the difficult issues facing organisations planning to deploy new technologies is how they can all integrate and become completely interoperable with any existing and future technology. Iknaia’s solution offers a ‘future-proof’ IT environment. Our installation covers a wide range of solutions including full Wi-Fi mesh connectivity, offering public/corporate channels; Beacon scanning and detecting; integration with back end systems to push relevant content to connecting mobile devices.”
McNally continues, “in addition to tracking valuable assets we can control access to site areas, track workers location, check their health, send alerts to them, send content to their mobile devices and enable them to communicate back. BLE also enables us to add on so many extra features, such as payment systems, check-in applications, CCTV cameras and much more.”
Iknaia’s data is pushed into the cloud and presented on an easy to use online management console, optimised for all devices; PC, tablets and Smartphones.
With Apple and Google adopting beacon technology and developing applications using BLE, we’ll see a lot more uses for this technology in years to come.