Compared to other industries, construction is often lagging behind in technological development. The introduction of 5G mobile solutions promises to change that, as we begin to take advantage of all it offers.
We at Construction Guide are always looking for new ways to revolutionize our practices. 5G mobile solutions are shaping up to be the next big thing, but how will it change the construction industry for the better?
The first important point to mention is that 5G is up to 30 times faster than 4G mobile internet. In short, it’ll allow site operators to do more, faster. Whatever the application, simply having faster connection speeds is enough on its own.
Combine this with dedicated construction apps, rugged 5G-enabled smartphones, and improved data collection, and you’re already well ahead of current technology.
While technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) aren’t specifically related to 5G, its faster connection speeds make them much more usable on construction sites.
AR is very data heavy but has numerous uses in construction. On site, we can use AR to map out building plans to detect potential mistakes and issues before construction even begins. This allows contractors and architects to collaborate on amendments before ground is first broken. As you’d expect, this will save a lot of time and money.
The same is true for AI. While we can already make use of it in offices, construction sites are a different matter. With access to 5G networks, contractors can bring AI on-site for things like risk management, planning, safety, worker scheduling, project management, and more. These applications already exist within the construction industry, but 5G means they’ll be easier than ever.
Internet of Things (IoT) refers to devices connected over an internet network. Doing so allows them to share data and optimize working processes. It’s popular in factories, healthcare, and agriculture, but has a lot of potential for construction.
With IoT over a 5G network, construction sites could become a large hive on interconnected devices. This helps to improve performance, assess risk, and reduce operating costs. Imagine the benefit of connecting construction and safety machinery to the same mobile network.
Data collection and analysis defines almost every industry, and construction is no exception. Whether we’re talking project data, safety compliance, or communication between project managers and stakeholders, data is vital.
The more data you can collect, and the faster you can do it, the smoother your project can be. Everything from order status to sign-offs can be combined into a single high-bandwidth network to the benefit of every party involved.
While we already collect and assess this data, 5G will allow us to do it faster than before. It’ll also improve data visibility for both site workers and management teams off-site. This will facilitate easier communication and collaboration, which means a smoother project.
Combining 5G connectivity with cloud technology will give us almost infinitely scalable networks suitable for projects of any size. So, whether it’s a small-scale build or a large-scale full-gut renovation, it’ll be easier than ever before to implement the best technology for your needs.
Similarly, adding in IoT technology adds to this and means sensors can detect and share information in real time. This data-rich, visual information helps with more accurate decision-making, which both reduces cost and risk.
All this might seem too perfect, so is 5G mobile connectivity all it promises to be? Yes and no.
In the early stages, standardizing devices across site will be time-consuming and expensive. Current technology isn’t 5G-enabled, and we’re still lacking on devices and sensors that can use it. But this hopefully won’t take long to change and implement.
Also, because 5G has much shorter wavelengths, it needs far more antennae than 4G connectivity. While this isn’t a massive deal, it does mean signal drops faster than with current devices.
More antennae and devices means greater security risks for all that data we’ll be processing. Luckily, implementing secure technology isn’t difficult, particularly if we move towards a blockchain security model.
Integrating 5G mobile solutions into the construction industry holds plenty of promise. Of course, it’ll take time to truly understand the full benefit, as the suggestions above are only just scratching the surface.
Here at Construction Guide, we’re excited to see the difference faster connection speeds has on the future of technology in the construction industry. After all, it’s about time we’re due an upgrade.