Latest technology to improve Ontario construction and safety during the pandemic

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By Judy Lamzela

Special to Ontario Construction News

As more and more funds are invested in research and development, computer scientists and professionals are constantly tweaking and improving existing technologies to get the most out of them.

An article in Imaginovation says, to keep up with this crazy pace of development, you have to keep learning the latest technology concepts. Accelerations in technology are introducing an extensive digital transformation in the construction industry.

Technologies such as Artificial Intelligence are dramatically reshaping construction by driving away long-standing inefficacies and low productivity.

New possibilities have cropped up in the construction scene with sensors, hardware and software costs dropping on the one hand and efficiencies rising on the other. With innovations in technology, construction professions can expect more novel and valuable transformations, backed by augmented reality and virtual reality, drones, robotics and additive printing.

Here are some technologies that could have significant influence in the industry:

HD surveying and geolocation

Projects typically get delayed because of discrepancies in ground conditions. New techniques that incorporate high-definition photography, 3-D laser scanning and geographic information systems can improve accuracy and speed.

5-D Building Information Modelling (BIM)

BIM is a digital representation of the physical and functional aspects of a project, which forms a reliable basis for decisions during the project’s life cycle. With the use of 5-D BIM technology, augmented reality technology via wearable devices can be further enhanced, which will transform the construction industry.

Digital collaboration and mobility

Digitizing workflows have substantial benefits. This can greatly improve design management, materials management, scheduling, QC, crew tracking and more.

New building materials

New materials such as aerogels, self-healing concrete, and nanomaterials can lower costs and speed up construction, improving quality and safety.

Smart hard hats

According to Interesting Engineering, hard hats are used in a number of industries and are a very important protection device for construction workers but haven’t really changed since they were first invented and patented in 1919.

A Canadian communications company, Jannatec Technologies, based in Sudbury, Ontario, specializes in mining industry communications technology.

They have created the ENSO SmartHelmet. It is an all-in-one hard hat that improves safety, efficiency, and can be equipped with cameras, communications, lights and even includes contact tracing which is something very useful during the ongoing pandemic.

The ENSO SmartHelmet is like “a cellphone on your head,” says Jannatec project manager Mark Burnett.

He says the SmartHelmet improves communication and offers a broad range of services, including the capacity to fully function deep underground with higher visibility, LED 360 degree lighting, Radio frequency identification (RFID) tagging and proximity detection.

The proximity detection capability has recently been further enhanced to provide contact tracing for miners or construction workers who wear hard hats during the COVID-19 pandemic. The high-visibility LED lights on the helmets light up when they are within six feet of another worker and only switch off when the wearers move further apart.

As part of its tracking system, the contact tracing tech on the hard hat directly links to a database overground, so that information is stored about who was where at what time. This is not only important in keeping a safety tab on the wearer, but these days it is also integral in knowing whom to contact in case of a COVID infection case.

Burnett thinks of the SmartHelmet not just as a hard hat, but as an entire “multi-faceted platform”. Also, the entire helmet and its add-ons are charged using just one rechargeable battery which lasts an entire shift. The helmet is customizable for each company’s needs. Pricing starts at CA $100 and US $78.

Automated lead acquisition

Consider automated lead acquisition services such as DataBid. If you are still manually checking websites or cold calling for new project opportunities or using sticky notes for project updates it might be time to invest in the technology to automate these tedious tasks.

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