Utilizing hybrid technologies in a mixed technology fleet can be a struggle. To streamline activities and maintain efficiencies requires careful planning and plenty of research. Many construction firms are working with mixed technology fleets due to:
- Starting with one set of technology and deciding to move in a different direction
- Partnering with another contractor with different technologies
- The ability to take advantage of previously owned technology
Today, we will take some time to discuss how Construction Technology Partners (CTP) can help you work through these challenges.
The Difficulties of Construction Technology
With so many manufacturers available for resources, you will inevitably encounter these difficulties and need solutions to work through them. Each manufacturer partners with multiple brands and their associated technologies.
These manufacturers and brands understand the need for technology to be a factory option at the very beginning to integrate into their businesses and meet your needs. The expectation is that more and more manufacturers and brands will continue to enter the market, creating more competition. The problem this can present is – as more brands enter the market with proprietary technologies, the more fragmented the market becomes, and the more difficult it is to integrate these technologies into a single fleet.
As a business, you periodically purchase equipment. For example, let’s say that every ten years, you are buying ten new trucks. Naturally, you’d like the best price possible, so you go out to the market with a Request For Proposal (RFP).
The RFP specifies everything you require. Unfortunately, you cannot require specific technology, for example, John Deere equipment if it belongs to another company. The result is, the most favorable proposal will possibly respond with technology and equipment that is different from your current equipment. Do you accept that bid, or do you stick with the technology you currently have and accept a higher bid?
Compatibility Concerns With Mixed Technology
As we touched on earlier, compatibility of mixed technology is essential in the construction industry. Without compatibility, you lose efficiency and even compromise safety.
Radio incompatibility is often cited as the greatest hindrance in the industry. Radio equipment in construction is traditionally either Ultra-High Frequency (UHF) or Spread. However, new technology is entering the market that allows the option to use either UHF or Spread technology interchangeably.
Construction Technology Partners has solutions to allow radio systems to speak to one another work properly through technology and conversion processes. We receive the information in one frequency and re-broadcast it out as another. Our technology converts radio signals while other technologies available include converted signals over the internet or cellular. There are pros and cons to each conversion solution. The type of machines and what you are trying to accomplish determines the appropriate solution.
UHF utilizes radio frequencies between 300 megahertz (MHz) and 3 gigahertz (GHz). UHF is more universal across manufacturers and brands and has a more extended range. However, it can be more challenging to set up and understand, and can also be more susceptible to feedback.
Spread Spectrum Radio
Spread Radio utilizes frequencies that hope between a small frequency range, but are manufacturer-specific and can vary as such. Therefore, compatibility is often a concern between manufacturers.
There are four components of each project, and together they create a project file. These four components are linework (2D mapping or 3D mapping), surface (finish-grade or sub-grade), alignments, localization, or calibration.
The data is similar, while the file types can be different. The solution is to export as one file type and import as another file type. For example, if data exports out of a file into an XML file type, it can be imported into another system and converted to the appropriate file type.
Software is in many ways a matter of preference, but can also be dependent on the hardware you are using in your fleet as the hardware ties to specific software. Questions to consider when purchasing software are:
- Which software is easier to use with all of the functionality for your needs?
- Which is better to work with, and which do you get the best support?
Support for your products is critical.
- Is there local support available, and what are your options?
- Is there 24/7 online support available?
Working with a mixed fleet, you will need to know how compatible your technology is and local support options. In addition, you will want support that can improve your efficiencies and give the best support possible.
Successfully Managing A Mixed Technology Fleet
Managing a mixed technology fleet is possible and can provide several efficiencies if done properly. First, however, be sure to do your research upfront to know if your technology can integrate with newer or otherwise branded technology. Before committing, do your homework and set up processes to work through the mixed fleet challenges. Your procedures should include defining everyone’s roles in the process.
At Construction Technology Partners, we specialize in helping you effectively understand how new and emerging construction technology can drive productivity and grow your business. We work with all brands, so you can get the most out of your technology investment. Think of us as your one-stop shop for machine systems, site setup, training and data solutions.
As our industry rapidly grows, the skilled labor shortage increases too. But schedules stay just as tight, and there’s still an expectation of the same quality. The sad truth is, if you don’t keep up, you’re going to be left behind. Construction Technology Partners will help you get the most out of your technology investment, so you can reduce your risk of onsite problems, increase the likelihood of your projects being completed on time and stay competitive. Contact us today, and let’s talk about how we can help you stay ahead of the game.