What are the major challenges to communication with workers on a large construction site?
Effective communication is critical on a construction site or any collaborative work in order to achieve coordinated results, manage activities, and from a safety perspective, to ensure that everyone knows what needs to happen next and which dangers to avoid on site for example cranes that are being moved. The biggest challenges are the elements, including but not limited to dust, water, loud noises and range of reception. With the PTT products we overcome the said challenges as the devices are IP68 rated which means that they are dust, water and drop proof. The device’s speakers are loud to overcome the noise challenges on sites. Because our system work on the GSM 2G, 3G, 4G, LTE and wifi, the network range is not a problem.
How does the location of the site and the terrain affect the clarity of communication? Remoteness/ height/ depth
When you have a normal 2way radio system remoteness is a huge problem because of the set up of repeaters which is very costly. On the Instacom Push to Talk (from here onwards referred too as PTT) platform, we utilise the Mobile Networks Operators in South Africa which allows us a much denser coverage as opposed to a traditional two way radio systems. This means that typically 95% of South Africa is covered by cellular coverage. Instacom PTT is developed with a variable bit rate which in effect makes it an intelligent system that can switch seamlessly between GPRS, 2G, 3G, 4G, LTE and wifi while maintaining voice quality. This also allows you to install a temporary wifi network should a site have no coverage making it a world class communication system.
What would be the most important considerations when selecting communication systems and devices on a construction site?
The key considerations; durability of the devices and the loudness of the speakers, also the remoteness of the site. As long as there is data available the PTT will work. PTT radios can be charged with powerbanks if there is no electricity which is not the case with 2way radios. When looking at the nature of a construction site, a device needs to be selected that has protection against dust, water and/or other liquids and that can withstand a substantial drop from a height. Communication needs to be automated, real-time and instantaneous in order to fulfilled critical requirements, both in safety and operations of a construction site.
In terms of Safety – would the system of communication be important in terms of summoning emergency medical assistance i.e. evacuation?
If the emergency services is connected to your platform it will be essential and because you can talk to everyone at once you can also communicate to everyone on the ground to evacuate and where to evacuate to. There is also no delay in the communication that will also save time. Summoning emergency assistance would only be one of the benefits of having a robust and instant communication system on a construction site. The main safety benefit would be the ability to be able prevent or minimise accidents from occurring on a construction site through clear communication and coordination. The Instacom solution provides the ability to have multiple channels on one device and the ability to prioritise each channel in terms of importance and automatically switch between them.
Can the communication devices also be used to manage personnel in terms of access control or movement?
Instacom offers an all in one solution, which includes access control to sites, time and attendance, live reporting from your device and complete checklist or forms live from site and an always on panic button on the same device.
Should communication tools also focus on safely securing and guarding premises?
Security is of utmost importance at any construction site, because typically at any given time there will be high value equipment and supplies on a site. Instacom’s all in one solution offers a live guard patrol system that can be monitored remotely through a desktop interface, allowing the control room operators to contact police or other emergency services for assistance.
How important would it be to have reporting tools and data from the communication system in terms of job and performance analysis, disciplinary hearings etc…
It is very important to have evidence to support your facts when dealing with performance and hearings. Our system provides that information as it is a data capturing tool with all the information always available. Reports can easily be drawn to support any statements and claims as each transaction done on the device gives you time, date and GPS stamp
Any other information construction companies need to be aware of in terms of the systems of communication they may select?
Instacom is the market leading IoT solution within all workforce managing industries for communication and workflow.