When Civil Engineering Meets IoT

When Civil Engineering Meets IoT
6 min read

A booster for the civil engineering industry
Data acquisition plays an important and extensive role in engineering construction. From monitoring changes in water pressure during soil consolidation, settlement during soil reclamation, to assessment of terrain deformation during tunnel construction, being able to accurately record a large amount of measurement data is critical to the success of a project.
Until now, data collection was largely done manually, with engineers taking key measurements on site—an approach that often slowed down productivity. Manual data collection is complex, imprecise, and time-consuming. Engineers not only have to deal with the harsh construction environment, but also face the risk that due to insufficient processing speed, site conditions may change during the reading process, resulting in inaccurate data. reliable.
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is a shot in the arm for the civil engineering industry. Using low-energy sensors to monitor the condition and environment of the infrastructure enables the remote collection of large amounts of data, which can then be consolidated and visualized through a secure online dashboard. The key advantages of the Industrial Internet of Things are obvious by effectively simplifying operations and obtaining information in real time: high speed, precision and efficiency.
The construction of the Eppenberger Tunnel in Switzerland is a good example of how IoT technology is currently being used to enhance the geotechnical monitoring process. The 3.1-kilometre tunnel was built to ease congestion on Switzerland's busy railway lines. E/S RS485/RS232
Building this type of infrastructure requires frequent and reliable geotechnical monitoring to detect any conditions that may affect construction work. To ensure the highest efficiency and accuracy of construction, the engineering team installed a wireless monitoring system outside the tunnel, including 55 load anchors and 5 extensometers, to collect geotechnical instrument readings required during construction.
The low-power wireless sensor system can provide efficient monitoring solutions for construction, and the sensors can be fully adapted to various existing geotechnical instruments. Importantly, the automated supervision of construction means that the need for manual readings and human controls is completely eliminated, greatly reducing the time and cost that could otherwise be spent on supervisory tasks.
The ability to collect data quickly is equally important when monitoring existing structures. A report last year by the American Highway and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) found that 58,495 of the 609,539 bridges in the U.S., or one in 10, had structural defects.
Measuring factors such as vibration, inclination and inclination, and recording this information digitally can provide engineers with important assistance in improving the safety and maintenance of critical structures. Sensors can be permanently deployed, or they can be loaded and removed from the field every time new data is needed. New technologies now offer a wide range of solutions for remote readings in structural monitoring and geotechnical monitoring, some taking place as far as 15 kilometers (9 miles) away – a critical requirement for pipelines, railways and tunnels, among others. It is especially effective for civil engineering projects with large area operations.
operational intelligence
While automating the process of gathering information digitally can greatly reduce manual tasks and associated costs, deploying sensor technology across multiple aspects of a civil engineering project can sometimes lead to "data overload" with large unconnected datasets.
So it’s not just about collecting data that can significantly increase productivity. Rather, it depends on how the data is analyzed and used.
The implementation of an operational intelligence solution enables data centralization. However, operational intelligence is not just about visualizing this aggregated information through dashboards, but hopes to go further in this regard. In other words, organizations that successfully leverage operational intelligence gain real-time insight into decision-making processes not only for immediate results, but also to develop predictive and preventive maintenance approaches that ultimately increase productivity.
Going back to our previous example of tunnel construction, the combination of wireless sensing technology and operational intelligence in such an environment demonstrates the process of turning data into decisions. The ability to utilize real-time data means engineers can better establish trigger levels for movement throughout the construction process.
In fact, the Operational Intelligence Network can even automatically provide warnings to construction through analysis of past and existing data sets, as well as machine learning capabilities. In the case of tunnel construction, if enough movement is detected, the project team can be alerted in sufficient time to make necessary modifications to the moving tunneling process and ensure construction continues as planned. CA-CC de un solo canal
Operational intelligence can also help civil infrastructure operators develop strategies for public safety and cultural heritage protection. Authorities in the historic Italian city of Florence, which attracts some 16 million tourists a year, are using a network of geotechnical sensors connected to a software suite to monitor the famous Ponte Vecchio. Sensors are deployed along the 32-meter-long medieval bridge, providing real-time information on the stability of the bridge and nearby land. If any unusual movement is detected, authorities officials are alerted and take immediate action in case public safety in Florence is threatened.
Eliminate manual readings
For civil engineering organizations, the digitization of assets has undoubtedly improved operational efficiency by automating oversight, all but eliminating the need for manual reading of data. However, the real return on investment lies in having the right platforms and processes in place to manage this data.
Analyzing and influencing decision-making with relevant operational intelligence strategies can improve project performance and productivity. By using data to better control labor, supply and structural analysis, civil engineering organizations not only reduce the time and costs associated with projects, they are also in a better position to assess risks and pre-plan countermeasures.

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