Communication is key to a safe and productive construction environment. One of the biggest challenges of effective communication on job sites is the complexity and size of the project, which inhibits being able to contact the correct people in a timely manner. Tracking devices have been a hot button issue in construction news for the last few years. Some examples include RFID tag sensors in hard hats, such as the one being used on certain job sites in Washington DC and time sheet applications, which allow employers to track their employee’s locations using the GPS on their phone’s or tablets.
Spot-r, developed by Triax Technologies, Inc, is a safety and tracking device that clips to each worker’s belt loop. The technology has recently integrated with Procore’s ever expanding Construction OS platform. Construction OS allows third party application developers to optimize their products with Procore’s platform for seamless operability, much like how applications are developed for Android or Apple platforms. Procore realized that they couldn’t develop all of the many apps construction companies are using these days, but they could offer a platform that allows construction companies to access all of those apps on one platform.
Spot-r relies on a wireless mesh network for communication to each wearer’s device, as opposed to GPS. The mesh system is essentially an interconnected series of wireless routers, which allows devices to automatically report situations and locations to a central location. An example could be a carbon monoxide sensor attached to the network. If there is a high level of carbon monoxide in section A of level 2 of a building under construction, an alert could be sent to a distribution network automatically, instead of waiting for workers in the area to report the alarm. Triax Technologies provides and installs mesh networks. DeWalt also made the news earlier this year when they announced their release of a wireless mesh network system designed specifically for construction sites.
In spot-r’s case, it used the wireless mesh network to create automatic reports of the amount and location of laborers on-site and has several key safety features. The safety features include, automatic detection of slips, trips, and falls, as well as an effortless safety issue reporting process. The sensor can pick up instances where a worker falls off of a ladder and instantly send an alert to the specified safety person on site with the worker’s location. Alternatively, if workers come across a safety issue or hazard, they can click and hold down one of the buttons on the device and it sends a notification to the correct person.
Spot-r is a pretty robust system aimed mostly at large construction sites. Pricing information is not readily available, but it seems that having a wearable sensor could lead to many lost devices over the course of a project that could cause some issues. The instantaneous data that the system provides would undoubtedly be great for employers and employee safety, but there are many employees who will view the device as big brother watching over them.
Here’s a look at how the device works: