What is Site-Wide Connectivity?

As little as five years ago, the focus on connectivity for infrastructure projects was about getting your office connected so that your project teams could share project information, access company applications and generally communicate with the outside world. Step forward to 2023 and connectivity to the office is just the start of what is needed. Teams can now leverage a  diverse range of technology on the modern infrastructure project to increase performance, eliminate risks and streamline work across the entire project area.

Whether it’s connected and autonomous plant, security cameras, environmental sensors, surveying equipment or wearable safety technology, connectivity is essential if the safety and efficiency benefits of modern construction tech are to be realised for your projects.

Defining Side-Wide Connectivity

Site-Wide Connectivity refers to the ability of different devices and systems within a particular geographic location, such as a building or campus, to communicate with each other, access network resources and the outside world.

Site-Wide Connectivity in construction refers to the integration of various systems and technologies across a construction site, enabling efficient communication and data exchange between different stakeholders. It is also often used to support the operation of mission-critical systems, such as security and surveillance systems, and to enable the integration of different types of devices, such as computers, tablets, and smartphones.

Site-Wide Connectivity can enhance the use of digital tools, such as Building Information Modelling (BIM), Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and cloud-based platforms, to improve collaboration, reduce errors, and streamline processes. The goal of Site-Wide Connectivity is to increase productivity and enhance the overall quality of the construction process.

What Is The Alternative?

On most large construction projects, the quantity and diversity of contractors and teams on-site at any time can be huge, and as such, the complexity of the communication and connectivity requirements are directly proportionate.

In our experience, this has created significant issues for the end customer, with connectivity being owned and distributed amongst the different stakeholders on site. Suppliers end up vying for bandwidth and setting up multiple, convoluted networks that are not centrally managed.

This can be a particular challenge in remote areas, where the communications infrastructure is particularly poor and demand is high. The outcome of this challenge is often an impact on performance and efficiency where new techniques and technologies cannot be effectively distributed and managed at the point of need (in terms of bandwidth and traffic demand).

How is Site-Wide Connectivity Achieved?

There is often no simple answer to the challenge of providing Site-Wide Connectivity. What is needed is a comprehensive understanding of available technologies and how these can be integrated to suit the needs of your project.  This integration needs careful planning and can involve the deployment of several constituent parts, including a range of Wide Area Network (WAN) local area network (LAN) technologies and techniques to facilitate communication between devices. This connectivity solution needs to be structured and managed so that each constituent part of the network can be configured based on the criticality of operations and bandwidth requirements.Some of the main applications and functional considerations for site-wide connectivity are:

  • Building Information Modelling (BIM): BIM provides a digital representation of the construction project, allowing different stakeholders to access and collaborate on the same information in real-time.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) devices: IoT devices, such as sensors and wearables, can be used to monitor various aspects of the construction site and provide real-time data to relevant stakeholders.
  • Cloud-based platforms: Cloud-based platforms provide a central repository for project information and allow stakeholders to access and collaborate on the information from any location.
  • Mobile applications can be used to access information and communicate with other stakeholders, even when working in remote locations
  • Automated systems: Automated systems, such as connected autonomous plant, can be integrated into the construction process to increase efficiency and reduce the risk of errors – but may require high bandwidth and low latency to operate.

Automated systems: Automated systems, such as connected autonomous plant, can be integrated into the construction process to increase efficiency and reduce the risk of errors – but may require high bandwidth and low latency to operate.

Features and Benefits of Site-Wide Connectivity

Site-Wide Connectivity is important for a variety of reasons, including allowing different devices and systems to share data and resources, enabling efficient collaboration and communication between users, and providing access to centralized services such as file servers and internet connectivity.

We’ve seen our major construction clients succeed on their complex projects in the following ways by deploying site-wide connectivity.

Improved collaboration:

Site-Wide Connectivity enables real-time communication and collaboration between different stakeholders, improving the coordination and efficiency of the construction process

Increased accuracy:

By supporting the use of digital tools and automated systems, Site-Wide Connectivity reduces the risk of errors and increases the accuracy of information.

Enhanced project management:

Site-Wide Connectivity allows project managers to monitor the progress of the construction project in real-time, improving their ability to make informed decisions and manage the project effectively.

Improved safety:

Site-Wide Connectivity allows for real-time monitoring of various aspects of the construction site, improving safety by identifying and addressing potential risks.

Increased productivity:

Site-Wide Connectivity streamlines processes and reduces the time and resources required to complete a construction project, resulting in increased productivity.

Better resource allocation:

Site-Wide Connectivity allows for real-time monitoring of resource usage, improving the allocation of resources and reducing waste.

Hindsight - Insight - Foresight

The importance of Site Wide Connectivity is often not fully understood until after the event, where digital processes fall over and we rely more on people and paper. With Insight into the benefits it is hoped that Customers have the foresight to realise that Connectivity is the backbone of great delivery and having this distributed Site Wide can bring huge benefits for major projects. Before assessing the cost-benefit analysis of site-wide connectivity it’s important to review the specific issues encountered and the downstream impact of those issues.  A simple 3-step process may help illuminate the need for site-wide connectivity.

Situation Analysis

A review of the current site connectivity processes is a great place to start. How do things work at the moment and what roles and responsibilities are involved in the communications and connectivity infrastructure for a new site or project? 

Problems Encountered / Predicted

Whether it’s downtime, resources or plant not being allocated correctly or simply the fact you can’t synchronise to cloud project management resources fast enough because there are too many mobile devices trying to listen to Spotify… listing out the problems helps identify and illuminate the issues and potential solutions.

Implication Assessment

The implications of the problems you’ve encountered are in the KPI-based impact and for site-wide connectivity issues, these should link directly to the potential benefits listed above. You need to consider how are the problems affecting:

  • Collaboration
  • Quality/accuracy
  • Decision-making
  • Project management
  • Safety
  • Productivity
  • Resource Allocation

How Onwave Can Help…

From the above, you can already see the extensive benefits a site-wide connectivity and communications strategy can bring to your construction projects. We’ve been delivering site-wide connectivity to the construction industry for 10 years, working with major contractors such as Morgan Sindall, ISG, Kier, BAM and Costain on some of the most comms-intensive, demanding and remote sites. We’ve helped the industry mobilise over 4,000 projects during this time.

We’d love to help you take your connectivity to the next level to unlock the benefits of site-wide connectivity. Give our experienced, construction-focused team a call to discuss your project.

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