Jobsite Information Management — Is Software Eating Construction?

Marc Andreessen is an internet pioneer who helped create the first widely used web browser, Netscape. In 2011, he noted that “software is eating the world” in a Wall Street Journal article, evidenced by changes in many businesses across multiple sectors. Construction is not immune to this trend and as the connected jobsite slowly starts to become reality, we are seeing the rise in the importance of jobsite automation software.

The most visible of the impacts of software in construction is project management. Project Management software focuses on some key information functions in the construction lifecycle. These functions include document management, scheduling, and financial management, and safety. Some now work to extend into field management with functions such as time tracking or subcontractor management.

All of the functions that Project Management software systems address are generally centered on documents and workflow between team members. But there is another important piece that is required to fully realize the potential of the automated jobsite in construction: real-time jobsite information.  Once a design is complete, and a project plan is put in place, it is imperative to execute on the construction of a project. It is this phase that determines the actual outcome of the project in terms of cost, schedule, safety, and quality. It is this phase that makes the design and the plan a reality.

Jobsite Information Management (JIM) is what we will call the function to manage information coming from the actual jobsite during the execution phase. This jobsite-execution information is different in nature than that managed by the Project Management system. The workflows and value provided by JIM serve the functions of project execution and can significantly affect project outcomes in terms of cost, schedule, safety, and quality.

Data Managed by JIM

The types of real-time information gathered from the jobsite during execution phase include:

  • Materials and Assets – understand when they arrive onsite, as well as their utilization
  • Photo documentation –if issues arise there is recorded information available to evaluate
  • Visual Monitoring –remote, real-time visual monitoring
  • Personnel workflows – understand their productivity, efficiency, and validate their cost
  • Safety compliance – review incidents and ensure compliance with policies onsite
  • Security – monitoring to support asset and staff security

This data is collected in real-time across the jobsite through a variety of means. Cameras and Drones can be used to capture photo documentation. Materials, assets, and personnel can be tracked using electronic tags. Real-time visual monitoring for remote diagnostics and project monitoring are provided by fixed cameras or mobile devices such as smartphone and tablet applications.  Security monitoring is provided through a combination of cameras and sensors.

Insights, Actions & Organization

JIM serves several critical functions for the project team including:

  • Identify critical issues suggested by incoming site data to support safety compliance
  • Provide materials status information to support schedule management
  • Provide asset utilization information to help control costs
  • Share information across a team according to workflow rules
  • Automatically organize collected jobsite data
  • Detect safety and security events; document and notify team members
  • Remote expertise and diagnostics

JIM works to provide insights to the project team using information filtering, searching, and analytics for automatic detection of events. It supports rapid action by automatically detecting events and jobsite status in real-time and relating that event or status to the project plan and communicating it across the team.

Analytics can operate on all JIM data sources to automate detection of events, and classification of incoming information. For example, safety and security events can be detected automatically, reducing the manpower required to assure compliance with safety protocols and documenting events. 

Jobsite data is automatically archived in terms of project phases and milestones and plans to streamline as-built documentation. An example of this is companies starting to automatically organize project imagery in 3D using the BIM model.

Real-time visual monitoring can be used to deliver remote expertise and diagnostics to keep a project on-track and lower cost.  When project issues arise, the best expertise can be brought in remotely, like telemedicine, to diagnose and plan corrections in real-time, helping maintain schedule and project quality.

A Proposed JIM Architecture

In addition to managing the required incoming data, and supporting the project team functions above, a successful JIM must also address some additional requirements to be a viable solution for the automated jobsite. These include:

  • Cloud-based – allows the simplest deployment at the lowest cost, and flexible access
  • Integrated – must seamlessly integrate with other construction software functions such as Project Management and BIM
  • Mobile – must be fully accessible by the project team on-the-move
  • Scalable and flexible – to support various project types and sizes
  • Multiple data sources – support inputs from various types of sensors and inputs on the jobsite

JIM in Action

Sensera Systems provides clients with the ability to utilize JIM through the use of Sensera’s Jobsite and Security Cameras coupled with the robust tools inside of SiteCloud.  SiteCloud provides a rich set of features to view and manage archived images and video.  The web-hosted application allows project manages to have secure storage and backup of project data, video streaming, time-lapse videos, in addition to providing real-time security alerts. SiteCloud allows for multiple users so that information can easily be shared with stakeholders of their projects. Plus, SiteCloud offers software integrations with Autodesk BIM 360ProcorePlanGrid, as well as an array of other construction focused programs and an API to allow integrations with custom applications to meet a client’s exact requirements.

Benefits of implementing JIM through Sensera Systems include:

  • Photo documentation – review images and videos of incidents on your jobsite in SiteCloud from any-where on any device
  • Share information easily across team members
  • Integrated tools- connects with a variety of Project Management software
  • Remote visual monitoring – less back and forth from the office to the jobsite
  • Personnel workflows – increase employee productivity and efficiency
  • Safety compliance – make sure your jobsite maintains OSHA standards
  • Security – monitor asset and ensure staff security with real time alerts

Learn more about how Sensera Systems cameras can positively impacting your projects by scheduling a demo.

Manage Captured Images and Automate Photo Management

CAPTURED IMAGES
Sensera’s SiteCloud users have an improved way to find and manage the images they capture on their camera and with their Sensera SitePOV Mobile App. Name, tag and caption any number of images for better visibility and management in SiteCloud. Whether you want to tag a series of pictures for project milestones or detail an incident at a site, our new tools will do just that. With greater picture management also comes the ability to search images via keyword or date range so you can quickly pull up what you need. Use the “Captured Images” list to view, search, name, tag, and caption any number of images for better visibility and management. Read more

AUTOMATE AS-BUILT IMAGE CAPTURE & PHOTO MANAGEMENT
Sensera’s SitePOV mobile app extends your SiteCloud software and cameras by providing a powerful, mobile photo management tool to your entire team. Capture construction progress images on the fly from around the site with a smartphone or tablet, while having management of those images fully automated by SiteCloud. Users can capture images anytime and they will be uploaded and organized instantly into your SiteCloud account alongside your fixed camera time-lapse images. No more fumbling with cloud folders, email or SD cards. Read more

You can also:
Enable project updates vie E-mail or Autodesk BIM 360
Annotate, compare, share, or archive your POV-Series images
Automatically create separate time-lapse videos from those of your installed camera
Allow your entire team to take a la carte images from your site for automatic organization within SiteCloud (Site Name, day, and time)

A BIG YEAR and it’s only the beginning!

We made tremendous progress on our 2017 goals to expand our product line and to improve our infrastructure to better serve our customers. We are grateful to you for trusting Sensera with your site camera business and we work each day to earn and keep your business.

NEW PRODUCTS
In July we released the new MC78 and MC26 models – both are based on our “second generation” improved hardware design. The new design provides simpler setup and mounting, and improved solar charge performance. At $1999 the MC26 represents a breakthrough price-point for 100% solar/wireless jobsite camera – providing a great tool for smaller projects or those wanting to get started with site cameras.

Our new 2017 camera body

GROWING THE TEAM
Our team nearly doubled in 2017! Selene Sanchez joined the Sensera team in August in the newly created position of Customer Experience Manager. Selene and her team are responsible for ensuring that you get the best possible support and experience with Sensera products, while helping Sensera deliver on our promise to provide valuable, high quality customer service.

We also expanded our manufacturing facility by 50%, providing room for continued rapid growth, and continued quick deliveries of cameras.

The Sensera Team 2017

NEW INTEGRATIONS
In November we participated in Autodesk University where our new SiteCloud / BIM 360 integration was highlighted at two keynote talks and displayed in the exhibitor area. For those of you using BIM 360, this integration will simplify workflows for archiving your project imagery.

Autodesk University 2017

WELCOME NEW CUSTOMERS
Most importantly, we welcomed 350 of you (new general contractors) as customers in 2017! This included leading contractors of all sizes, in all regions of the country — including market leaders like AECOM, Bechtel, Skanska, Kiewit and PCL. The tremendous acceptance of Sensera camera solutions has helped make Sensera the fastest growing construction site camera maker!

JUST THE BEGINNING – BIG 2018 AHEAD!

We’ve started 2018 with a bang and the release of new camera systems: the MC88 with beautiful 16MP resolution and 4K time-lapse videos, and SiteWatch-PRO2, our second generation site security camera.

We also released a new mobile App – SitePOV. Many of you requested a better way to manage photos that are taken by your team at different times and locations across your sites. We heard this and created SitePOV to address just this need. Entire teams can capture images across the site and have them instantly, and automatically uploaded into your SiteCloud and later archived. No more messing with thumb-drives or PC folders. Also, enjoy SitePOV’s unique feature for taking time-lapse sequences by hand.

We believe that 2018 will see significant progress toward the goal of making construction more efficient, profitable, safe, and repeatable. Technology will play a role in delivering this reality. And Sensera will continue to work to lead in delivering the best construction technology solutions.

As we enter 2018, Sensera begins our journey to evolve from providing best-of-breed site cameras to offering a range of construction automation solutions. We believe there are many opportunities to help you deal with labor shortages, improve project efficiency, on-time delivery, and cost reduction.

We will continue to innovate and meet YOUR needs for practical, affordable, powerful construction automation systems and services.
Some more specific trends we see coming for 2018:

Use of multiple cameras to capture all project viewpoints – With the lower costs and simplicity of Sensera site cameras we are seeing leading construction firms get more value from site monitoring by strategically placing cameras to capture all project viewpoints. The flexibility of 100% wire-free camera solutions means more flexibility in camera placement to capture project details.

Integration of multiple image capture sources – you will see imagery captured from fixed site cameras, drones, SitePOV mobile apps, crane cameras, and other sources organized into a single photo documentation of the project – all automatically, saving time and improving results.

BIM Integration – Sensera now captures imagery with full “georeferencing” (GPS coordinate and look-angle). This allows for future integration with BIM models so that project managers can compare as-designed with as-built in a simple and powerful way.

Site Safety and Security – monitoring technologies like cameras can also meet important needs in site safety and security. We expect to see more focus on these applications, in addition to documentation and sharing of progress. Specialized real-time safety monitoring applications can also be integrated with cameras to provide a whole new level of compliance monitoring and safety management for the jobsite. For example, SmartVid.io has AI software that can monitor images from Sensera’s SiteCloud cameras to determine safety violations automatically – all via Autodesk BIM 360. These types of integrations simplify workflows and provide you more value from your automation solutions.

We look forward to a fantastic 2018 with you!
David Gaw
CEO
Sensera Systems