How BLE technology has changed tool and equipment tracking for the construction industry
Improving efficiency and reducing human error are two key goals of any smart construction business, and technology is an essential tool in pursuing those goals. That’s why we’re so excited about Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology and its potential for transforming the construction industry, starting with BLE-enabled asset tracking.
Most of us have used Bluetooth for years to connect our phones, tablets, computers, and other devices. But its use as part of more complicated systems, like tool tracking systems, was limited by how quickly it consumed battery life. According to Align's new white paper, BLE fixes that problem, dramatically expanding the possibilities for its use in construction. From tracking tools to managing workforce productivity and safety in the field, the technology has the potential to usher in unprecedented levels of visibility that can arm managers with data accuracy and timeliness they have never had before.
For instance, Align has integrated DEWALT’s TOOL CONNECT™ Bluetooth functionality with our intuitive asset tracking solution, which enables users to automatically synchronize their DEWALT tools, tags, and chips to their Align inventory, eliminating the need to scan tools, equipment, and consumables manually. Managers can also track how and when tools and machines are being used (or not used, in the case of machines sitting idle on a job site). All this item information, including tool records, job costs and billing, inventory quantity, transfers, service and calibration, and even reporting, is automatically captured in the Align system for easy access enterprise-wide.
BLE integration also helps inventory management by automatically tracking the day-to-day minutiae of construction operations, from the initial purchase of any item through its entire life cycle to its ultimate retirement and disposal, along with the myriad of interactions, data points and events attached to the item at any moment in time.
But tool tracking is just one of many areas where BLE has the potential to revolutionize the construction industry. For example, Align’s white paper (linked below) points to a study from Singapore that used BLE tags to monitor the locations of tools AND workers (who volunteered to be tracked) on a construction site. The overall objective is to improve construction management through better manpower allocation and safety management.
It also has practical and potentially lifesaving uses, Align’s white paper continues. For instance, BLE could be used to notify workers when an inspection is required for the tool they’re using, give them safety reminders such as “check the straps on your harness,” and even alert them to avoid taking spark-prone tools or equipment into a place where natural gas is present.
If a single word can describe the impact of BLE, it’s efficiency, leading to greater productivity. Want to learn more?