Not a title designed to upset the IT department, just a reflection on the manner that Technology has pervaded most aspects of current life to become a practical tool. Think of a modern car, a highly sophisticated technology environment of interconnected devices interacting with, and responding to, wide range of events within a largely self-contained ‘enterprise’ system. It’s certainly not part of the IT role, nor are the Technologies necessarily the same, and there is no alignment with the Business functionality IT supports.
As the article your car may be the most powerful computer you own makes clear the functionality is focused on using Technology to ‘Read and Respond’, completely different in almost every way from the role of IT to provide internal administrative processes and transaction records. Using the increasingly popular terminology; Systems of Record equates to the role and technologies of IT, whereas Systems of Engagement feeding the data to Systems of Intelligence in Digital Business are something entirely different!
Computational power got cheap, programming got easier, and more engineers understood how to make use of these changes. An Apple Watch has more processing power than an Apple 4 Smart Phone, which in turn has more power than a Cray Supercomputer of the 80s. (http://pages.experts-exchange.com/processing-power-compared/ ). Add the boost in connectivity brought by the Internet, with acceptance in use by the population at large, and the resulting transformation in functionality equates to the arrival of ‘Digital’ in everyday life.
Amazing changes, that have resulted in us as individuals not seeing Technology as contained within the IT department. In fact, we have all got rather good at ‘innovating’, every time you load and start to use an App, it’s a personal innovation of some aspect of your life. Digital Technology is merely a convenient name for a group of new technologies, CAAST, (Clouds, Apps, AI, Services and Things), that in combination enable an activity to use technology beneficially.
Hardly surprising that much of the innovations are straight forward practical applications of the capabilities to everyday issues, like Triax Spot-r in the Construction industry. Big Enterprises might get headlines around Business Transformation, but transformation of industry sector working practices is much more widespread. These changes in turn get adopted to evolve current Enterprise activities, so the spread of the ‘Digital Revolution’ continues as a series of quiet success stories.
The success of Triax Spot-r, is an excellent example, less a Technology story and much more a practical capability to address a series of issues confronting ‘on the job’ management. In fact, deployment success is coming from construction workers and their management realizing how to get even greater value than the original business proposition.
Our networked devices worn by every worker on the site provide real-time location visibility and keep you informed of safety incidents as they occur. Quote Triax.
Technically Triax's Spot-r system integrates a number of the new Technologies in an imaginative manner. The combination of a proprietary wireless mesh network with wearable devices, (see photo of a belt clip), that includes an accelerometer, gyroscope and altimeter to give previously unavailable ‘real-time’ data. Triax Spot-r original basic proposition was to automatically check workers in-and-out of the job site and notify of potential and real site safety incidents picked up by its sensors, (slipping, tripping, jumping and falls), to aid site supervisors in fulfilling their legal obligations to manage a safe site.
Spot-r also provides the geolocation of potentially, or actual, injured workers to improve response times for providing aid. The inclusion of a self-alert button allows workers to report unsafe conditions, site hazards or other potential injuries in real-time directly from their work area. All good personal safety features to encourage workers to want to wear a Spot-r device.
Business value is delivered to site supervisors and managers by a cellular wireless connected mobile dashboard, (see photo), connected to the Triax cloud service. In addition to the direct real-time safety information all data is aggregated on each worker’s time & attendance, location, subcontractor activity, and any incident types.
An Open API allows developers to add further functionality and integration, such as with Procore Technologies' project management platform. Here integration automatically sends Spot-r worksite data, including man hours and safety incidents, to Procore for accidents, timecards, manpower and daily construction reports. Not surprisingly, Insurance companies appreciate Triax Spot-r as a means of cutting the cost of injuries on construction sites, and that offers site operators a further incentive in the form of lower insurance premiums.
Spot-r offers a classic win-win proposition for site operators, supervisors, managers, even the workers, and above all a valuable aid to fulfilling safety legislation compliance. It is made possible by a clever combination of the new Digital Technologies, it’s not part of Enterprise IT, and neither does it demand a business transformation. It’s a great example of the large number of adopt and deploy moves across many different industry sectors driven entirely around practical business cases by ‘hands-on’ business managers. The quiet and little publicized take up of Digital technology to provide tangible immediate improvement to existing operations.
A conversation with an early adopter site manager on a large New York site with 400 construction workers produced an enthusiastic endorsement, reeling of a multiplicity of ways that Spot-r was significantly improving operations. The outcome being that Spot-r was scheduled to be rolled out on all the other construction sites that his employer was operating. The benefits of a tangible increase in site and personal safety having even overcome initial Union and worker resistance to change common to the construction industry sector.
Not surprisingly Spot-r has attracted a lot of attention, with Business Insurance, an industry sector publication, selecting the product for an innovation award. The benefits are simple to grasp, deployment is straight forward and importantly with this type of low cost solution the message easily spread by Social media, including a youtube clip. Though a wide range of Building, Facilities Management and Construction publications have also been quick to covered the product and its contribution to safety and improved site management.
All in all Triax Spot-r makes an excellent example of the kind of practical implementation of Digital Technology that is the reality of ‘Digital Technology’. Straight forward direct improvements to current activities providing an evolutionary non-threatening way to gain direct benefit. Unlike the big strategic reports with their focus on large scale high risk business model transformations. As an example Construction Global publication featured in its July 2017 edition an in-depth study of the future of the construction industry by Balfour Beatty, a leading global construction company, entitled Innovation 2050. Clearly aimed at Board level strategic thinking it presented ten well thought through ‘big’ conclusions that would ‘transformation’ Building and Construction.
No doubt the conclusions are a necessary ‘wake up call’ to Board and senior management, but is it right to take the report as recommending Boards make immediate ‘revolutionary change’ through enterprise wide ‘Transformation’. A high risk path, and noticeably few, if any, of these reports offer direct recommendations for ‘practical’ deployment activities featuring particular products. It does seem much more likely that the Building and Construction sector, (and other Industry sectors), will evolve through a gracefully path of every increasing ‘evolutionary’ deployments identified by operational Business managers spotting opportunities.
That’s not to say there is no value in reports such as Innovation 2050, there is a need to make sure senior management is encouraging adoption, rather than hindering, with an eye to the future. In much the same way, the role of IT lies in making sure at an Enterprise level Technology works for the entire Enterprise overall and doesn’t support individual business deployments at the expense of the whole. The big picture of the longer-term impact of Digital Technology transforming markets into Digital Business is important, but equally so is keeping attention focused on encouraging ‘hands-on’ managers and supervisors to identify and deploy practical Digital upgrades.