Smart helmets. Total worker visibility.
Tracking asset location at construction sites
Labour accounts for a huge amount of total construction-project cost – up to 65%. Yet it’s still something that many construction companies struggle to manage effectively. One key to efficiency is having visibility into the flow of workers, materials and tools.
But how do you track assets on construction sites, where there’s no stable power and no chance of installing wired infrastructure during construction? Getting that location data on construction sites has been a challenge, one that WakeCap has solved with Wirepas wireless positioning technology: a fully wireless solution with years of network and sensor battery life.
Wirepas Massive provides total visibility
WakeCap’s IoT solution involves fitting construction helmet harnesses with a lightweight ratchet mechanism, about the size of a walnut, that contains a sensor.
As an integral part of every worker’s essential protective gear, WakeCap devices are not susceptible to damage, loss, or forgetfulness. They reliably and securely transmit location and movement information – but only while on the jobsite, ensuring privacy. The keys to the WakeCap solution’s success are that it leverages an unremarkable add-on to a piece of equipment that everyone must wear, and requires no maintenance for over a year.
One vital element is the Wirepas Massive self-managing IoT network. Since construction sites rarely have wireless coverage, IT cabling, or reliable power before building completion, getting connected is a challenge. Wireless networks are based on mains-powered routers, so WakeCap realised they need to be able to connect things wirelessly – without running wires for power or cabled infrastructure.
Only Wirepas has devised a solution that combines low-power routing and years of battery life for extended wireless coverage. With Wirepas, wireless devices can form a consistent wireless network cross construction sites. Once WakeCap anchors (wireless devices running Wirepas firmware) are placed throughout a construction site, supervisors can view and track worker location and movement with 100 per cent accuracy to within a few meters – useful information to have at all times, but especially during emergencies.
HOW IT WORKS
Unobtrusive hardhat-mounted tracking shows on-site location
The WakeCap human resource management solution adds a crucial ‘worker location’ layer to advanced planning tools already in use. It consists of WakeCap sensors, a Wirepas Massive array installed on-site, gateways, and WakeCap’s cloud-based WakeCap Analysis Platform. Each worker has a sensor in their construction helmet, which must be worn while on-site.
Sensors are contained in short cylinders approximately the size of a walnut located at the back of helmet harnesses. The cylinders not only contain sensors, but they also act as ratchets to tighten or loosen the fit of construction helmets. Sensors are powered with long-life batteries that last approximately a year.
As soon as workers enter the construction site, WakeCap assigns a timestamp and begins tracking location and movement. These are triangulated between Wirepas nodes and data is transmitted from node to node, through gateways using commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) ultra-low-power 2.4 GHz hardware via the Wirepas Massive protocol. Gateway devices push encrypted data through a standard network connection or SIM card to the secure WakeCap cloud, where information is recorded, analysed and presented on dashboards for immediate use.
Wirepas Massive minimises power consumption and does not require elaborate radio-frequency planning or installation. Each sensor acts as a relay to communicate with the next, even between floors, over frequencies opportunistically chosen for their availability. Every additional sensor makes the signal stronger, enabling massive scalability.
Correct course constantly, preserve project profits
When construction projects end on time, it’s good for everyone. Construction companies don’t incur labour overruns, which preserves margins, and end customers get the use of new facilities sooner.
The WakeCap solution is part of a massive shift occurring in the construction industry centred around technology. Major firms are moving from planning ‘what should happen’ to accurately identifying ‘what did happen’ by implementing targeted solutions that complement elaborate project-management software like Oracle Primavera, Autodesk® Build, and Procore. These solutions give major contractors the insights needed to adjust, streamline and keep projects on track at all times.
As margins decrease, keeping on track is more important than ever. WakeCap helps general contractors and building owners to keep projects on track in many ways: by automating attendance, streamlining other administrative processes, and measuring worker productivity through various custom KPIs. These measurements reveal inefficiencies impeding job-site performance, but they also show the immediate impact of adjustments. Thanks to Wirepas Massive wireless technology, WakeCap deployments are fast and easy: wireless coverage grows side-by-side with the structures being built.
WakeCap provides a level of accuracy and knowledge regarding worker attendance, location and movement only achievable thanks to Wirepas’ low-power, long-battery life, self-propagating solution. The insights WakeCap delivers enable Project managers to make adjustments every week, or even every day. Thanks in large part to Wirepas Massive, the WakeCap system is affordable, foolproof, maintenance-free, and provides a clear path to return on investment.
As WakeCap personnel will tell you, Wirepas Massive simply works. WakeCap’s future technology roadmap is clear as well, since Wirepas is solidifying its platform as part of the next-generation 5G suite of standards on the 2.4 GHz band. This gives Wirepas a next-generation-IoT imprimatur that signals interoperability, observability, higher security and lower power usage.
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