Technology has been a focus of exhibitions and industry shows for a few years now, bringing new capabilities and aids to all kinds of work and equipment. From accurate location to improved control and management, technology has brought new ways of operating and new levels of control. But one area of technology that has really come to the fore within the last year that could really change the way we all work is data.
Data collected from machines through telematics has been refined to the point where it can now become a key part of jobsite management operations, and a central component of optimizing site performance. The latest developments are central data hubs that collate the data coming from all machinery, that will initially aid in ensuring maintenance needs are taken care of correctly, but will swiftly expand into a much broader purpose.
The initial phase allows manufacturers to contact owners and dealers that work needs doing on a specific machine, to highlight issues before they lead to breakdown and allow for service continuity and forward planning, as the systems gain in capability, for operators it means reliable equipment and no nasty surprises on site.
However, the data being collected by manufacturers can do much more. While all are still in the process of establishing data levels and how they will approach the use of all of this information, some things are already being shown on a small scale that can transform site operations. One of these is idle-time data, where analysis of the data can allow a manufacturer to highlight areas where a machines jobsite path could be changed for more efficiency, or even suggest a different machine for the task if the data suggests under or over use.
For jobsite operations, this remote analysis can produce significant change, offering a broader, yet much more accurate, analysis of the working environment than has ever been available before. By having such detailed information and accurate analysis, the way a jobsite operates can be adjusted and changed by remote observation, allowing for better, cost-efficient and safer operation over time.
For many, this reliance on data can seem a little strange, some may even see it as a threat, as if they are being watched at all times while in their cabs. While it is easy to dismiss data collection in this way, as the systems mature and capabilities grow, the benefits for any driver or operator will be significant. The right machine for the job every time, accurate jobsite planning that makes the workday easier, and improved safety as a result of more accurate planning can all come from such systems.
How we work is always changing, that is one of the things that make the job so good, but this change should bring many benefits to everyone on any jobsite, the power of data will really drive us forward.