There's no question that computer vision is having a massive impact on the construction industry. Innovative construction companies are seeking out new ways to solve their traditional business challenges and improve everything from safety and coordination to productivity.
What is Computer Vision?
Computer vision is a state-of-the-art technology that gives sight to AI. Together, computer vision and artificial intelligence are like having an extra set of eyes looking over every aspect of a project.
The concept of Big Data—constantly collecting information and analyzing it in real-time—is revolutionizing the way construction companies manage projects and maximize financial gain. Implementing computer vision and AI in construction leads to a more productive and safer working environment for employees - from the general contractor to the trades and sub-contractors. It also increases efficiency, unifying every aspect of a construction project.
Computer vision is also more affordable than you think. Construction companies often believe this technology is something only large general contractors can adopt, but with an affordable computer vision (CV) platform like alwaysAI, a construction company of any size can start leveraging CV for tremendous ROI.
Let's take a closer look at some of the best computer vision applications for construction.
Monitor and Increase Productivity Without Tracking Workers
One of the biggest concerns for builders today is finding ways to increase productivity and get projects done faster. At the same time, maintaining the privacy and protecting workers' identities is essential. Computer vision provides innovative solutions to these concerns, enabling construction companies to increase efficiency in real-time.
CV allows companies to track the movement of workers and machines in real-time so that supervisors can improve the productivity of the construction process. Live monitoring and analysis through things like heat maps offer deeper insight into how work is executed and where potential problems may occur.
Computer vision applications with the alwaysAI platform also provide a simple and intuitive API (Application Programming Interface) to protect privacy by automatically blurring faces, entire persons, or objects. This feature allows construction companies to track work without tracking workers. Fixed camera systems track the number of people coming on-site and then track patterns of movement. This helps identify bottlenecks in the construction process and highlights areas where improvements can be made. For example, if the placement of material storage needs to be moved to reduce unnecessary travel across the site.
The real-time data generated by CV improves analytics and enables the creation of dashboards to visualize project data. Analytics can also trigger alerts when something is out of compliance. By having a visual representation of how a project is progressing, managers can make more informed decisions and correct any problems before they become bigger issues.
Improve Safety Management
Safety is crucial in a construction project. A recent study revealed that construction worker deaths from injuries at work jumped by 41.4% between 2011 and 2019. Smart safety applications powered by computer vision can help combat these unnerving statistics.
One safety application of computer vision is to create a “safety score.” Workers entering a site can be tracked while still protecting their privacy. The application can detect if they are wearing PPE, hard hats, and vests. The CV system can then generate an average safety score from the number of people wearing the necessary PPE. If someone is detected not wearing PPE, a real-time message can be sent to a supervisor to check for compliance.
Computer vision can also identify potential safety hazards on construction sites. For example, it can be used to detect unsafe work practices or identify areas where workers are at risk of injury. Safety apps evaluate images of construction sites against safety parameters and help construction managers ensure that their projects are compliant with workplace safety regulations. Advanced features can also monitor and control access to the identified 'safety hazard zones'.
This gives construction workers peace of mind that they are working in a safe environment. A safer site also means that construction contractors can sell more projects. When safety data is presented to project stakeholders, contractors can demonstrate their capability to prioritize safety and reduce costly accidents.
Improve Project Management
Managing the subcontractors and workers on-site can be challenging. Disputes often arise between supervisors and subcontractors regarding how much work was done or when people were on site. Bringing AI into project management provides a single source of truth for all project labor, allowing companies to manage everyone more efficiently.
With computer vision deployed on-site, general contractors can know exactly:
- When particular trades were on site
- The number and types of trucks entering the site
- How many workers were present
- What materials were used
- How much work was completed
That information is then made available through easy-to-access analytics dashboards, helping supervisors better manage progress and resolve disputes that arise. An improved project management system helps avoid overcharging from subcontractors and speeds up payment days by providing better documentation.
Track Progress and Measure Quality
The combination of powerful 3D/360 cameras and computer vision allows project managers to not only create accurate digital models of construction projects but also to analyze progress and quality in real-time.
Computer vision applications can integrate with BIM (building information modeling software) tools to intelligently analyze if construction progress is meeting milestones. Sophisticated algorithms detect if the proper building materials were used and identify potential construction defects.
The precise, real-time monitoring data is compared with blueprints and models to ensure compliance. This information can also be used for future projects to create better estimates and demonstrate an excellent track record to future project owners.
Report Project Costs
Computer vision automates the process of detecting, measuring, and analyzing objects in photos and video. The technology can identify potential problems with a construction project early on, significantly lowering the project's overall cost.
CV provides real-time information on material stores and equipment performance to achieve sustainable profitability. Supervisors can automatically track the inventory of building materials and receive alerts in advance of shortages that could cause delays. This allows construction companies to track if the right amount of material is being used and how much is being wasted.
Companies can also leverage CV to achieve a new level of predictive maintenance. The technology monitors equipment in real-time to ensure it’s meeting productivity requirements and detects potential risks for damage or failure. This greatly reduces the potential for downtime and work stoppages.
Watch this short video to learn how computer vision is being used across construction and manufacturing enterprises.
The Bottom Line
Computer vision applications make construction projects more productive, efficient, safe, and profitable. CV is all about accelerating projects, and providing actionable real-time data on all their components. This data eliminates potential disputes with other stakeholders and helps quantify track records to win more projects.
Computer vision with the alwaysAI platform is easy, comprehensive, and affordable—it is built for any company looking to upgrade their tech toolkit. If you're interested in learning more about computer vision applications for construction, be sure to request a demo at alwaysAI and register for a free account today!
alwaysAI® provides developers and enterprises a comprehensive platform for building, deploying, and managing computer vision applications on IoT devices. We make computer vision come alive on the edge - where work and life happens. The alwaysAI platform offers a catalog of pre-trained models, a low-code model training toolkit, and a powerful set of APIs to help developers at all levels build and customize CV apps. alwaysAI® has an easy deployment process and a state-of-the-art run-time engine to accelerate computer vision apps into production quickly, securely, and affordably.