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Construction remains one of the least digitized industries—with many projects taking 20% longer to finish and going up to 80% over budget. Amidst these losses, you’d think that modernizing resource planning and infrastructure would be a no-brainer; but many companies are struggling to identify exactly what the tools for modernization are.

However, the industry is at a turning point, where long-term winners will be determined by their ability to reap ROI from limited resources and containing costs amidst rising margins. To ensure a company’s survival, here’s a step-by-step introduction to how the Internet-of-Things (IoT) can drastically improve office and field operations.

To start on the road to digitization, establish a base edge device layer to begin gathering data from assets. These are devices that connect to smart sensors and location trackers that can be discreetly installed on your assets and vehicles—providing the foundation for gathering data throughout their cycle of use. The provider should have experience with optimizing installation as well as providing the necessary customizations to streamline data gathering and analysis to gain actionable intelligence.

If a company lacks in-house IoT expertise, it should invest in a third-party telematics and software provider to manage the massive information that will be gathered. Chances are, the company’s infrastructure has been in place for decades. Rather than relying on personnel with varied experience in device lifecycle management and security to manage the digital transformation, a provider with a full portfolio of asset management software, cloud platform and intelligent devices can help scale the digital workflow across multiple asset types.

The following IoT service levels are available for construction companies. 

Leveraging PaaS to streamline IoT adoption

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) combines IoT devices and micro-services with solutions experts to deploy digital workflows inside andoutside an organization, such as equipment rental operators or third-party application developers.

Companies that can benefit from PaaS include dealers that don’t have IoT devices or a cloud platform in place, that need to package data for sharing between vendors and providers in their network. With PaaS, they can integrate devices and micro-services with a telematics cloud to provide data that enables internal and vendor applications, optimizing operations and workflow, and service delivery.

A scalable, reliable and flexible IoT cloud platform is important, especially when any downtime can lead to project delays and even loss of customers. With PaaS, enterprises can maintain systems-wide oversight over a revolving door of employees, contractors and vendors, without maintaining compliance for thousands of devices and distributed infrastructure. 

Speeding up ROI via SaaS

 While a PaaS subscription is an efficient way to modernize operations, some companies may need an even more robust solution to reap the benefits of digitization. These are businesses with minimal IT infrastructure and limited in-house expertise to revamp or upgrade operations. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is an end-to-end platform that is deployed by an IoT solutions provider for those who are ready to reap the full benefits of going cloud-native. This can be a time-consuming undertaking without expertise in telematics, so here are a few tips for those investing in SaaS.

Focus on the top five areas where IoT solutions can have the highest business impact, rather than trying to digitize all operations at once. Many companies promise to match all of a company’s end-to-end needs. Beware of these. Instead, find a partner who is flexible to tailoring solutions that meet the company’s specific needs.

They need to have an understanding of the industry as well as the solution depth and breadth to address all or a majority of the company’s digital workflow needs. Choose a best-of-breed solutions provider with a proven track record, who can provide proof of concept for specific business units.

There won’t be a straight road to digitization via SaaS, and the biggest barrier is unclear communication between different departments, which may have drastically different workflows. For SaaS to be successful, applications should be vetted among its users and a robust architecture must be in place to ensure that adoption goes as smoothly as possible. 

Why choosing the right platform matters

IoT enables the ability to make smart and strategic decisions at scale. Asset managers can leverage data to avoid unnecessary resource burn, misuse or even theft. Site managers and operators can complete projects on time while minimizing bottlenecks to progress. With constant connectivity, companies evolve their service lines, improve service delivery and response times and deploy better safety features. They can also contain waste and maintain equipment more efficiently—forecasting when assets are due for a tune-up or at risk of breaking down.

Rather than deploying a holistic solution at great cost, identify the top business areas that are causing the most inefficiency in your business. Then, challenge vendors to provide proof of concept to tackle those target areas. After choosing a solutions provider, the possibilities are endless with IoT and edge computing.

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