By Al Cervero, AEM Senior Vice President, Construction, Mining and Utility 

Data Competitive AdvantageDuring the last three months, I have engaged in a number of conversations with AEM members and their customers about the use of data in construction. I have also reviewed several approaches on the use of data for a service in other industries for presentations at the AEM Annual Conference and our Thinking Forward events.

It is coming. While many of our smaller members and those who have yet to connect their equipment do not see their role, it is not too late to review and brainstorm wild ideas (with interns?) about a future state where you help your customers with their business, regardless of the current data off your machines.

Handheld tools are now partnering with Internet of Things (IoT) specialists. There are tons of handheld tools on a construction site, and data, location, utilization, power capacity, age and more are useful and important information. Why not similar data on all machines? Can you coordinate with others to build a bigger value in a mobile software package app?

I have also heard people state the following: “Let everyone else spend the innovation dollars and pioneer the awareness and usage.” That’s one approach, but you still need to be personally connected to what is going on or you will miss the window of opportunity before the "hockey stick" adoption growth curve.

AEM provides a wealth of resources, most of which are free, so why not access our information and leverage it to your company’s advantage?

When it comes to smart city movements and the related predictions that 30 percent of the cost can be taken out of the industry, do you see where? Have you looked into working with construction start-ups and forging possible partnerships? What data could you adopt from a sensor somewhere in a smart city that would make your product more efficient or provide some sort of benefit? Have you challenged your suppliers, or have they challenged you with a value to a new technology or sensor?

Take wear parts, for example. Do you have a sensor embedded to let you or your customer know when they are 50 to 100 hours away from needing to replace something? How is a wear pad on your car’s brakes similar to an impact bar on a crusher?

The adoption in our industry has not yet reached the "hockey stick" growth curve, but we are well on our way. When you have a new concept, are going to market and want to share it with your customers, let us know if you need help researching your customer base, or if we can help in any other way.

Get connected, stay informed, reach out to customers and make your company more entrepreneurial.

See you at the curve!