BAM Nuttall’s first deployment of PLINX
Knowing what is happening, at any given time, on your construction site is a manual process – requiring eyes-on or paper records. Pressure on margins, manpower and increased competition are driving the adoption of digital technology to improve productivity and generate decision-supporting data.
The real-time digital twin of the construction site is now a reality – but network connectivity is a barrier!
“The real-time digital twin of the construction site is now a reality – but network connectivity is a barrier!”
Technology developers don’t always consider the very poor connectivity and constantly changing needs experienced on the construction site. When they do, they may provide a proprietary private network to connect their smart technologies – resulting in sites installing multiple networks to function which can be complex and expensive. But what’s the solution?
BAM Nuttall is exploring this problem at its remote 5G Testbed site on Shetland because 5G has the potential to solve this problem – one network connecting all smart technologies and facilitating data collection and access. The PLINX Protect People/Places system is one of those smart technologies – keeping workers away from hazardous zones around the site like deep groundworks, moving plant and live electrical works (read more here: BAM Nuttall’s first deployment of PLINX)
However, operating 5G private networks on live construction sites raises additional challenges. There are two main problems:
How relevant are other applications of 5G?
- 5G networks are typically installed in static locations – construction sites are constantly changing as the project progresses and so the location of the network masts may also need to change to maintain good coverage. Commercially available technologies cannot be easily moved and require an installed power supply – they are just not designed for the construction environment.
- On other private 5G networks, network-compatible Smart technologies (e.g. in factories) are selected, installed and remain in one location. However, on construction sites plant and workers move on and off site and are moved between sites. This often means that bespoke modems may not always be compatible with a site’s 5G network.
This is where PLINX comes in. Compatibility between smart technology and network is crucial to robust, reliable operation.
“Compatibility between smart technology and network is crucial to robust, reliable operation.”
PLINX’s Connect5G networks are designed specifically for construction sites – so that you need only one network AND it can be moved according to your site needs. And because PLINX is also a Smart Technology provider, we have developed the PLINX Modem5G that can be integrated into any Smart technology solving compatibility issues. Because we believe that collaboration is central to solving these problems, PLINX has its 5G Technologies For Construction available for test at its home at Malvern Hills Science Park.
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