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Insights and best practices for construction management technology and project delivery

Enabling Social Distancing and Remote Project Monitoring on Construction Sites

Burcin Kaplanoglu
Executive Director, Innovation

Since late 2019, our Oracle Industries Innovation Lab, a simulated worksite for testing and exploring cutting-edge technologies, has also been an actual construction worksite, full of equipment, materials, and teams working to deliver a planned expansion of the facility.

Then, several weeks ago, the landscape shifted dramatically for our and many construction projects, as owners and contractors worked to come to grips with the impact of the growing COVID-19 health crisis.  

Since then, our project teams have explored new processes and practices intended to safeguard the health of workers and the general public, while also keeping the project moving forward with as little disruption as possible. In confronting that challenge, we recognized that we had a unique advantage in the Innovation Lab itself. The facility, based outside Chicago, hosts several technologies whose unique capabilities could be brought to bear on the new set of problems the pandemic presents.

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"Construction projects need innovation—now more than ever—as owners and their delivery teams deal with unexpected and evolving challenges. Oracle has implemented several Lab partner technologies, in combination with our own project management solutions, to manage the construction of the Lab." 

-Michelle Myer, Vice President, Americas Real Estate and Facilities, Oracle

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In this post, we’ll highlight a few of the solutions and use cases from our partner ecosystem that can help to address some of the current challenges around health, safety, and productivity for construction project teams.

Visual monitoring of construction sites

As contractors examine ways to limit onsite activities where possible, there is growing interest in leveraging remote visual monitoring in lieu of on-site inspections.

Reconstruct, an Oracle Industries Innovation Lab tenant and member of the Oracle PartnerNetwork, has developed a Visual Command Center that supports remote monitoring.

Reconstruct’s AI technology consumes data from reality capture devices—and integrated project management systems—to provide a visual “street view” tour. This enables project teams to remotely collect, measure, document, and communicate issues around progress, productivity, and risk on site. Data is collected from a variety of tools—drones, 360-degree cameras, laser scanning, light detection and ranging technology (LiDAR), and live cameras—to power the command center.
 
We’ve integrated Reconstruct and Oracle Aconex so users can connect a Reconstruct project to the corresponding project in Oracle Aconex. This integration enables users to transfer files directly from the Document Register in Aconex’s common data environment (CDE) to the Data Manager in Reconstruct. These files include images (including 360-degree images), videos, PDF floor plans, and 3D models.

For schedules, integration with Oracle’s Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management automatically pushes schedules into Reconstruct, and, in return, shares actionable progress updates into the Oracle scheduling solution in the cloud. Reconstruct also utilizes Oracle Aconex model coordination to enable reality capture and BIM overlay.

“There is a huge interest in safely keeping construction going,” said Reconstruct Chief Executive Officer Zak MacRunnels. “Many teams are now conducting field inspections and schedule reviews using new technologies to remotely monitor the progress, quality, and security of their projects.

“We also see project coordination being done from the safety of workers’ own homes, where they can review what is there vs. what should be there to sub-inch accuracy. This allows for social distancing and enables project teams to revise contractors’ work sequences to physically separate otherwise risky work interactions,” MacRunnels said.

Reality capture from a drone flight over 3D point cloud

BIM model over reality capture from a drone flight and 3D point cloud
BIM model over reality capture from a drone flight and 3D point cloud

BIM model over reality capture from a drone flight and 3D point cloud

At the Innovation Lab site, our partner Sensera Systems provides real-time monitoring and security with three types of rapidly deployable systems: fixed, pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ), and smart security cameras. The PTZ camera lets users monitor various areas of the site and zoom into areas of interest while creating panoramic images and time-lapse videos.

Security cameras use thermal sensing and edge-based analytics to sense motion, which triggers email/SMS/text alerts. In addition, fixed cameras are increasingly leveraged to enhance remote collaboration between stakeholders while also capturing images and time-lapse videos, to send to Reconstruct every five minutes.

Social distancing on construction sites

Our partner Smartvid.io, which processes images using AI to improve jobsite safety and mitigate risk, recently developed a solution to support social distancing on construction sites.

At the Innovation Lab project, Smartvid.io’s safety monitoring module is integrated with Oracle Aconex. Smartvid.io’s AI engine analyzes and tags images to identify various indicators of project risk related to safety, productivity, and quality. With this technology, Smartvid.io is now able to identify people working in a group and indicate when individuals may be too close to one another.

Users can open the mobile app and review in near real-time all photos tagged with “people in group” to identify potential issues and educate workers about what proper social distancing should—or should not—look like on the jobsite.

Contractors can use those examples for compliance reporting and training. “AI provides more safety coverage without sending additional people to the site and creates automated reports to help with mitigation plan documentation,” said Josh Kanner, chief executive officer of Smartvid.io.

Image processed with AI dated January 2020

Image processed with AI dated January 2020

In addition, we are working closely with Lab technology partner Triax Technologies, Inc. to bring its new Proximity Trace technology to the Innovation Lab. The Internet of Things (IoT) solution provides proximity distancing alerts and contact tracing through a wearable device affixed to a hard hat or worn on the body with a lanyard.

These devices emit a progressively louder alarm, alerting workers when they are too close to each other. This enables them to focus on their work, rather than worrying about their proximity to another worker or potential exposure to the virus. The alarm can also serve to change behaviors by reminding workers to practice safe social distancing.

In addition, in the event that there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 on a worksite, an employer can conduct contact tracing using historical data captured passively by the worker’s device to gauge who may have been exposed.

“In talking with our customers, we recognized a critical industry need to keep workers safe from COVID-19 exposure on the worksite, so we quickly got to work developing a solution,” said Robert Costantini, chief executive officer of Triax Technologies. “Our solution is designed to ease the burden on workers to maintain appropriate distances as part of new safety practices that very well could become the next normal.”

These use cases are just a few examples of how we are working to co-innovate with customers and partners at the Oracle Industries Innovation Lab. We strongly believe that innovation is a team sport–and is needed now more than ever as we all work to overcome new challenges together.

Read part two of this post, "Material Readiness Technology, Contactless Site Deliveries, and Autonomous Scanning Supporting Construction amid COVID-19."

Watch our on-demand webcast, "How technology is supporting social distancing and remote management with limited resources", featuring representatives from Oracle, Reconstruct, Triax, and Smartvid.io.

Explore the Oracle Industries Innovation Lab and our work to enable the worksite of tomorrow, today.

Oracle Construction and Engineering, the global leader in construction management software and project portfolio management solutions, helps you connect your teams, processes, and data across the project and asset lifecycle. Drive efficiency and control in project delivery with proven solutions for project controls, construction scheduling, portfolio management, BIM/CDE, construction payment management, and more.

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