Chapter Corner

Newsroom & Insights: July 2015

Wireless in a Wired World

Mobile technology, in particular, has great leverage in the realm of operating costs. Why? By definition, the world of operations is a collection of moving parts. And in that world of moving parts, getting information, people and things to move more efficiently is the daily task. It also happens that this is mobile technology’s crowning achievement.

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The Implementation of Distributed Antenna Systems

Today’s wireless users expect to communicate anywhere and everywhere – from parking garages to elevators to crowded stadiums. And because more than 90 percent of American adults own a cell phone according to the Pew Research Center – more than half of which are smart phones – wireless connectivity is not something that can be ignored. As people become more and more dependent on their phones, the need for wireless coverage has moved indoors, and capacity is key.

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Potential Applications of Unmanned Aerial Systems for Construction Management Tasks

Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), commonly known as drones, have been recently featured in the mainstream media for not so positive reasons. However, we argue that the many positive uses, including in the construction industry, can outweigh the negative ones. These aerial vehicles do not carry a pilot, can fly autonomously or be piloted remotely. This system includes a portable control station for the operator and one or more Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The UAVs can collect and process data through various sensors, such as video or still cameras, including far and near infrared, radar or laser based range finders, or specialized communication devices. Most UASs are capable of real-time data transfer between the UAV(s) and the control station; some have additional on-board data storage capabilities for enhanced data collection tasks. UASs can perform tasks similar to those that can be done by manned aerial vehicles, but often faster, safer, and at a lower cost.

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How to Immediately Improve Productivity and Profitability

You are not going to eliminate all your inefficiencies overnight. For one thing, improving efficiency is a journey, not a destination. In other words, there is always room for improvement. For example, new technology is designed to improve efficiency, however, there are inexpensive steps virtually every contractor can take that will produce very quick results. Quick-hitting actions are an essential part of the larger, long-term effort of improving productivity. First, in order to create a sustainable improvement process, people need to experience immediate rewards for their efforts. Far too often, improvement programs are too large and grandiose and take too long to bear fruit. In this situation, those individuals involved in the effort start to become frustrated and return to their old, comfortable way of doing things. Success is critical because nothing encourages people to keep trying something new more than success. The second important issue is that the immediate cost savings can be used to fund additional investments in the ongoing improvement effort, including possible training programs or technology.

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Important IT Trends Impacting Electrical Contracting

Electrical contractors, like many companies in the construction industry, confront numerous challenges as well as opportunities as they shift automating their businesses and incorporating technology. They face many decisions each year regarding selection of solutions and tools, forcing adoption among a sometimes reluctant workforce and simply trying to get a grip on a resource which seems to be in constant motion and whose very definition or role seems to vary. While everyone is working hard within their respective organizations, many external factors influence the landscape including evolving software, pressure from the owner and general contractor, expectations from suppliers, and finally, a more tech-savvy and capable workforce (reluctance not withstanding).

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Lighting Efficiency Standards are Changing Again

For most of history, lighting technology has been largely the same, especially when it comes to the standard incandescent bulb. But in 2007, as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA), the federal government set new efficiency standards for incandescent light bulbs.

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Installer of Tomorrow

Electrical contracting, like the rest of the construction industry, is in a state of rapid change. The increased demand for skilled labor in many parts of the country coupled with the evolution of building delivery systems, more complex building controls, the proliferation of preconstruction and prefabrication, new technology entering the jobsite and the owner’s demand for compliance to new code and standards changes are all contributing to the need to prepare our next generation electrical workers to meet increasing needs for productivity and expertise.

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