Beacons in construction

Feb 20, 2015

Over the past year or so, there has been a flurry of interest in beacon technology and companies exploring how using beacons can further business objectives. Unfortunately, many companies have yet to understand the true potential of beacon technology and are still searching for innovative use cases for Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons. The use case of beacons for B2C marketing, targeted primarily towards consumers in the retail industry, has got the most attention and many do not realise the potential beyond the retail industry.

There is a huge potential for beacons to transform the way companies approach, operate and access business intelligence, to transform day to day activities. Beacon technology offers impressive potential to the enterprise, across sectors.

We’ve seen a huge amount of interest from the construction industry. It’s one of the most obvious places for beacons, as they can be placed anywhere and easily moved from site to site. It means that the right information can be made available, based on where employees are on site, so the right actions can be taken.

Due to the changing conditions on site, the position of beacons may change. For example, a beacon may be used at an entrance to a particular construction site. Once the work in the area is complete, beacons allow for the flexibility to be moved to another location to serve the same or similar function. As each individual beacon is linked to a specific task in the CMS, it means that the management of beacons are simple and will not affect its integration with the back end system. It makes using this technology on site far more seamless and far more efficient, as deployment can be adapted easily.

If implemented properly, beacons provide a security net for employees or others visiting the site. For example, a beacon can be placed in location where specific safety equipment is needed. The beacon can enable a safety notification to be sent to an employee, as they move into a specific location, or close to a particular piece of machinery.

Thinking beyond this, connecting beacons with sensors will allow companies to evaluate conditions on site. Integrating beacons with sensors can help to identify when an environment is no longer safe or suitable for construction workers to be in. At the moment, health and safety assessments are done manually. Having the ability to monitor and analyse working environments via smart sensors could help to more efficiently resource operations and provide companies with continuous tracking information.

For some construction sites, companies prevent employees from using a mobile phone or tablet on site for health and safety reasons. Wearable technology can work hand in hand with beacons, to provide end users with quick glanceable information that is relevant to them at that time. Wearables pair with mobile phones or tablets, which means that beacons can trigger the right information or digital tool (app) to be displayed in a safe manner.

There is great potential for the use of beacon technology in the construction industry to make day to day activities more efficient, assist with health and safety processes, as well as facilitate the collection of better business intelligence. The use cases are there, but with further understanding on how to harness the power of beacon technology, companies should begin to explore the possibilities.

Back to all articles