Information overload

11 July 2016

Ome 40 miles from Silicon Valley, Peter Hirshberg delivered a captivating presentation on infrastructure, innovation and the Maker City to the largest gathering of the tunnelling industry in history, as one of WTC’s keynote speakers.

One month later, in May CONEXPO-CON/AGG, the tradeshow for machine and equipment manufacturers held every three years, announced a new “Immersive Tech Experience Pavilion” for its 2017 show.

Covering some 75,000 square feet, Tech Experience is dedicated entirely to presenting new construction innovations and emerging technologies that will drive change and process improvement across the industry. Organizers say attendees “can actually step into the future and experience what’s new and next in the construction industry.”

Among the experiences this new pavillion is offering are emerging technologies for the jobsite; innovative wearables to enhance health, safety and productivity; cutting-edge skills for careers of the future; and new materials to enhance infrastructure.

CONEXPO staff says this venture is “advancing to a new level of thought leadership in our industry" and it's seeking members of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers to submit proposals to be a part of it. Adding an enthusiastic, “we’re looking for our members’ bravest and most innovative ideas."

The message is clear: the tech world is exciting, it is valuable and it is something the construction industry is ready to embrace-though it’s not entirely sure how. In one of the ITA-Tech sessions this April manufacturers presented on an array of data collection and transmission features for their equipment. The benefits are numerous, among them getting realtime information allows for more preventative action; there are advantages for training, health and safety, productivity, profitability and improving relationships with clients.

The options for collecting data are impressive but the sheer amount of information available to the industry is overwhelming. It is vital to find the most resourceful and efficient ways to organize and analyze data if the results are to be implemented in a useful way. Getting buried under a mountain of paperwork each shift, or storing construction data without ever reviewing it after finishing the project defeats the purpose of collection.

Everyone stands to gain from advanced data collection, and in this issue’s Technical Section, there is a guide for interpreting EPBM data. At the end of the day, no matter what improvements the industry makes in gathering, analyzing and sharing data, they are only valuable if it can be understood