Aug 21, 2020

Wearable Technology Will Grow in the Construction Industry

construction
wearables
smart watches
smart glasses
Emily Folk
3 min
The future of the construction industry is full of wearables. Here are some of the most promising examples.
The future of the construction industry is full of wearables. Here are some of the most promising examples...

 

What Wearable Technology Will Grow in the Construction Industry?

In the past, the construction industry has been slow to adopt new technology. That trend is starting to change now, with many construction companies diving headfirst into Industry 4.0, integrating more connected devices into the worksite. One of the most promising and popular aspects of this digital revolution is wearable tech.

By some estimates, the wearable tech industry will be worth $54 billion by 2023, more than double its 2018 figure. While that number covers far more than just construction, this industry is one where wearables are particularly valuable. The efficiency and safety benefits they provide are critical for a time-sensitive, potentially risky sector.

The future of the construction industry is full of wearables. Here are some of the most promising examples.

Connected PPE

One of the reasons why construction is perfect for wearables is because the industry already involves wearable equipment. High-visibility vests and hardhats are standard in the sector, so tech companies can make "smart" versions of these instead of pushing new items. There are already connected helmets and safety jackets on the market.

Sensors inside these standard PPE items can sense if workers are tired or overworked and may need a break. Alternatively, they could provide location data so managers can know where everyone is at any given time. These resources will both improve safety on the worksite and help teams achieve higher levels of efficiency.

Smartwatches

Smartwatches are perhaps the most popular form of wearable tech today, though you see them more in everyday use than in construction. As they've taken off in recreational spheres, they've started to see more use in professional settings. With smart wristband shipments surpassing 65 million units, their penetration into construction is inevitable.

At their most basic, these technologies give workers a mostly hands-free communication tool. They can offer more than just that, though, including health services like blood oxygen sensors and heartrate monitors. As technology improves, they may even allow workers to connect to and control other IoT devices like drones.

Smart Glasses

Smart glasses have yet to take off in the commercial sector, but they have significant potential in construction. These devices use augmented reality (AR) technology to overlay information in a worker's field of view. In the building industry, this could look like workers being able to see blueprints and designs in front of them as they work.

In time, these devices could come with additional gadgets built-in, like environmental sensors. Workers could use smart glasses with built-in spectrometers to ensure that an area they're building has proper lighting. Since artificial light exposure can affect health, this knowledge is crucial for developing better workplaces and residences.

Exoskeletons

Exoskeletons, or wearable robotics, are one the newest, but most promising wearable technologies for construction. These machines provide muscular and skeletal support for workers who need to lift or carry heavy objects. Not only does this allow workers to perform the same duties with less risk of injury, but it can help them handle even more.

Overexertion and similar injuries are the leading injury type that results in days away from work. Using exoskeletons for support would substantially reduce the risk of a worker getting one of these injuries from heavy lifting. As a result, construction workers can be both safer and more efficient for longer stretches.

Wearables Are Transforming Construction

Wearable tech has already disrupted the consumer market, and now it's starting to enter construction. In an industry where small mistakes can lead to dire consequences, both in efficiency and safety, the precision of wearables is unignorable. These technologies will transform the sector because the sector can't afford not to transform.

These four wearable technologies are just a sample of the things that could revolutionize the industry. With these tools, construction is finally entering the modern age, and can even step into the future.

Emily Folk covers topics in sustainability and green manufacturing. She is also the creator of Conservation Folks.

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Jul 29, 2021

BT and Microsoft unveil strategic partnership

BT
Microsoft
construction
Technology
Dominic Ellis
3 min
BT and Microsoft launch strategic partnership to accelerate innovation across enterprise voice, cyber security and industry-focused services

BT and Microsoft have launched a strategic partnership to accelerate innovation across enterprise voice, cyber security and industry-focused services in sectors from digital manufacturing to health.

BT has already been named one of the first development partners for Microsoft Operator Connect and Operator Connect Conferencing. The renewed agreement will allow BT to build on this relationship and offer its own branded global managed voice services directly through Microsoft Teams, with an approach that further enhances customer experience and creates new opportunities for growth. 

The strategic partnership will build on BT’s existing portfolio of cyber security services built on Microsoft technology. It will see the companies push forward with the design and launch of a new generation of managed security services to enable and protect the modern collaborative workplace. BT will work closely with Microsoft to develop distinct security propositions to defend customers’ operations across the cloud as well as its own IT estate.

Sustainability and collaboration on digital skills are integral to the partnership. BT and Microsoft will work together on further enhancing sustainability credentials within their supply chains and join forces on promoting digital skills in the communities.

“BT and Microsoft are at the forefront of innovation in global digital platforms and connectivity that will take technology and communication beyond limits,” said Bas Burger, CEO of Global at BT and executive sponsor of BT’s partnership with Microsoft. “This partnership will ensure all of Microsoft’s solutions work ‘Best on BT’ and support both companies’ commitments to improving digital skills in the community.”

Omar Abbosh, corporate vice president of industry solutions at Microsoft, said: “BT can use Microsoft’s cutting-edge tools to develop new communications services that meet the needs and demands of today’s customers. By aligning our visions for communication, connectivity, security and digital technology, Microsoft and BT will support real growth for businesses across the world.”

Microsoft's vision is to transform construction and built environment businesses with design innovation, a supply chain you can control, and a connected, safer, more productive workforce.

Microsoft recently unveiled strong results for the quarter ending June 30:

  • Revenue totalled $46.2 billion, up 21%
  • Operating income was $19.1 billion, up 42%
  • Net income was $16.5 billion, up 47%
  • Diluted earnings per share was $2.17, up 49%

For the year, revenues totalled $168.1 billion (up 18%), operating income hit $69.9 billion (up 32%), net income was $61.3 billion GAAP and $60.7 billion non-GAAP, and increased 38% and 37%, respectively.

“We are innovating across the technology stack to help organizations drive new levels of tech intensity across their business,” said Satya Nadella, chairman and chief executive officer of Microsoft. “Our results show that when we execute well and meet customers’ needs in differentiated ways in large and growing markets, we generate growth, as we’ve seen in our commercial cloud – and in new franchises we’ve built, including gaming, security, and LinkedIn, all of which surpassed $10 billion in annual revenue over the past three years.”

In a trading update last month, BT reported profit after tax £2m, down £446m, due to a "one-off tax charge in the quarter to reflect the remeasurement of deferred tax balances following the enactment of the new UK corporation tax rate of 25% from April 2023".

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