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authors Garza, J.M. de la and Howitt, I.
year 1998
title Wireless communication and computing at the construction jobsite
source Automation in Construction 7 (4) (1998) pp. 327-347
summary For many years, the walkie-talkie has been synonymous with the construction industry. During jobsite project execution, there are three variables which can either hinder or facilitate successful results, namely, quality, quantity, and timing of information. Wireless data communications technology is capable of delivering just-in-time information within the `last mile' between the trailer and a desired location on the jobsite. This paper reports on a study which surveyed information needs at the jobsite, emerging wireless data communications technology, and assessed the extent to which wireless data technology can fulfill the information needs of the jobsite [J.M. de la Garza, I. Howitt, Wireless communication and computing at the jobsite, Research Report 136-11, Construction Industry Institute, Austin, TX, 1997]. We have organized jobsite information needs into the following ten categories: (a) requests for information, (b) materials management, (c) equipment management, (d) cost management, (e) schedule and means and methods, (f) jobsite record keeping, (g) submittals, (h) safety, (i) QC/QA, and (k) future trends. Each category was analyzed in terms of its appropriateness to take advantage of wireless technology. The four formats considered to transmit information wirelessly were: (a) live voice, (b) live video, (c) batched data, and (d) live data. Current wireless communication technology has been classified into the following five classes: (a) circuit-switched wireless data systems, (b) packet-switched wireless data systems––this class was further subdivided into specialized mobile radio systems and cellular digital packet data systems, (c) wireless local area networks, (d) paging systems, and (e) satellite-based data communications. A primer for wireless communications covering both fundamental and advanced communications concepts has also been included to enable a better understanding of the issues involved in making trade-offs while configuring a wireless jobsite communication system. The example presented in this paper shows how a contractor can define a subset of information needs by choosing from those already articulated herein and determine if a given wireless technology should even be considered as a viable way of meeting the information needs that such company has.
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