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Augmented Tracking Promises Improved Material Management, Construction Safety

Major construction projects are massive undertakings involving thousands of parts and materials. Keeping an eye on the countless details is critical to safe, effective work and positive outcomes.

Smart glasses look like the next step in refining and improving that process, especially on large construction efforts that could demonstrate the technology’s value.

In traditional construction management, the flood of paperwork associated with equipment and materials can slow things down. But imagine the possibilities of using smart glasses to scan arriving trucks’ material lists using preplaced QR labels or Bluetooth beacons. Using smart glasses is a faster, hands-free way to upload and update a digital checklist into construction management software, speeding up the check-in process and reducing the risks posed by physical handling.

A BETTER SENSE OF ‘WHERE’

Once materials are on the job site, the next challenge is managing the equipment laydown areas. It’s easy to see how geotagging assets in the laydown area is likely to be faster and more accurate than depending on plan documents and paperwork. It also improves the ability to track down materials that might be poorly packaged or whose markings have deteriorated because of weather conditions.

From a construction safety perspective, smart glasses have the potential to cut down the number of times materials are handled, significantly reducing the risk of a safety incident.

A BETTER SENSE OF ‘WHEN’

Streamlining the material check-in and tracking process also could lead to more accurate scheduling, reducing the hours needed to not only manage the materials but also to refresh the project schedule. Minimizing the human interpretation element of forecasting durations will improve accuracy and help keep the project moving along.

The same labels and beacons could help in material management for pieces that have yet to arrive at a job site or got lost in transit. Being able to pinpoint a geotagged asset on a map could speed reaction and reduce the effort needed to track down a piece identified as potentially defective that may already have been installed.

All of these innovations, both directly and indirectly tied to smart glasses technology, will help optimize productivity and minimize time lost to confusion, misplaced materials and paper shuffling. And the reduced need for physical material handling can only help alleviate construction safety risks.

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Holly Shores
Written by Holly Shores

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