The story behind jobsite connectivity and its importance.
The story of jobsite connectivity is one of progress, efficiency, and safety. Today’s construction sites rely on complex systems to coordinate everything from scheduling to hazardous materials management. By connecting all the tools, machinery, and personnel involved in a given project, workflows are streamlined, and potential issues can be identified before they become costly problems. Jobsite connectivity also increases safety for site workers by allowing remote monitoring of conditions and providing access to medical assistance or emergency teams if needed. Ultimately, having reliable connections between all aspects of a construction job helps manage costs, create better quality outcomes, and keep everyone on the site safe.
The current construction climate is full of opportunities, but only if it is properly optimized. Jobsite connectivity is key to this optimization, allowing for real-time data transfer between the project location and the home office, as well as an improved digital workflow. This post provides a comprehensive checklist of what to consider when scoping jobsite connectivity hardware, internet service providers, and field connectivity infrastructure. This way owners, contractors, and project managers can ensure they’re equipped with the right solutions so their projects are successful. Connectivity isn’t something to overlook – make sure your team has the tools they need for optimal performance!
✔ Days remaining until jobsite connectivity is needed?
If you have a tight deadline, it is best to establish just how much lead time you have up front. This will help you work toward your launch date and secure an initial solution for jobsite connectivity.
✔ How long is the project duration?
For longer projects, expect the network to grow in phases. A temporary internet solution can be replaced with a more permanent one as the project evolves. Project duration will also shape negotiation with internet service providers (ISPs).
✔ What is the jobsite address (Lat./Long.)?
Even though it may seem like a no-brainer, the address of the jobsite will determine whether traditional ISPs can provide an internet signal. It’s important to understand that just because a location has access to the internet doesn’t mean it will be suitable for network connections, especially if construction plans call for high speed data transfers and large capacity traffic. It’s always best to consult with an ISP representative in advance to make sure that the right resources are available before finalizing any decisions regarding installation of infrastructure onsite.
✔ Is the jobsite remote or hard to reach?
For jobsites that are remote or in locations that are otherwise hard to access, custom jobsite connectivity solutions may be necessary. Wireless ISPs, cellular, and other non-traditional internet providers enable contractors to bring high speed internet and other jobsite connectivity solutions to a project, ensuring all employees have access to the same level of technology regardless of their location.
✔ How large is the jobsite?
Determining the area of the jobsite in square feet or in acres will tell you how large of a mesh network will be necessary to blanket the field of work with connectivity.
✔ Will underground construction be involved?
Underground construction poses its own set of jobsite connectivity challenges. For example, wireless signals don’t penetrate concrete very well and access points may require hardwiring.
✔ What level of network security will you require?
The odds are, your network will share sensitive data including payroll records, building plans, permits, and other proprietary information. Options like Private LTE may be necessary to ensure a more secure network.
✔ How many users will need to access the network?
Getting a census together for network users will tell you more about how much bandwidth your network will require and give some insights on security.
✔ What are your network bandwidth requirements?
Proper bandwidth is essential when setting up jobsite connectivity, particularly if you are dealing with big files such as BIM and CAD designs. To get a grasp on needed bandwidth, it’s important to estimate the number of users and devices that will be interacting on your network in addition to the estimated file size. This will help you decide how much bandwidth you need to provide optimal user experience.
✔ Will you run IoT devices using the network?
Making worksites safer and more efficient can be as easy as implementing some of the latest Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Security cameras provide a reliable way to remotely monitor jobsites and transmit vital information back to site supervisors. Additionally, RFID tags take worksite security and inventory management up a notch by providing instant alerts whenever equipment leaves the premises, allowing workers to keep track of all valuable assets with just one glance.
✔ Is power available at the jobsite?
Internet access points and other network equipment require dedicated power and can be sensitive to unstable power sources. Temporary power from a generator, battery, or mobile solar kit may be necessary.
✔ Are there any nearby restrictions (airport, military, etc.)?
In certain instances, wireless communication can come up against restrictions from nearby infrastructure. For example, nearby airports may have height or frequency restrictions on radio systems.
✔ How will you handle asset disposition at project end?
Jobsite connectivity assets are expensive. Take time to account what budget bucket their cost will be deducted from and how you’ll disposition, refurbish, and place assets back into inventory.
✔ How will you monitor the network?
Who will be responsible for monitoring network performance and troubleshooting unexpected downtime? What tools will you use and what data will you need?
Analyzing Jobsite Connectivity Requirements
Developing a good checklist is an essential part of managing complex projects and processes. It ensures that multiple stakeholders have been included in the process by allowing each stakeholder to present their viewpoint or requirements for a successful outcome. Having a checklist upfront helps to ensure that all parties involved in the project are aware of their roles and responsibilities and understand how their efforts contribute towards the completion of the project. When a checklist is shared amongst multiple stakeholders, it also serves as an effective source of communication and helps to keep everyone on-track with clear goals, timelines, and expectations.
Identifying outliers when framing requirements for jobsite networks is important for contractors. Remote, hard-to-reach jobsites may come with unique requirements. Temporary cellular internet solutions might be your best solution when you’re in a pinch to light up a trailer with short notice. In any event, identifying outliers helps you understand more completely the specific needs of each jobsite and create custom solutions tailored to address those one-of-a-kind requirements. Taking this extra step not only improves your jobsite’s network performance and security, but also saves you time and money as well, since a correctly identified outlier prevents costly mistakes down the line.