Vendors and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) from across the globe convened in Las Vegas earlier this month for the 2017 World of Concrete (WOC) exhibition, showcasing the latest machinery innovations and industry trends in heavy construction and construction bulk materials. From boots and batteries to drills and diggers, WOC offered something new for everyone.
In an industry where companies are challenged with balancing a variety of moving parts and equipment each day, the top takeaways from this year’s show were not necessarily the products. Rather, two overarching themes of digital connectivity and self-driving machines resonated most throughout the show:
The Rise of Connected Workflow
A major topic of discussion at WOC was enterprise resource planning (ERP) technology. Fleet owners today are seeking a “single pane of glass” view to connect disparate tools and technologies so they can better evaluate and improve asset fleet productivity and site profitability.
Through this single software platform, field and job-site activities are integrated with back-end office systems. Employees spend less time on completing resource-heavy administrative tasks like job orders, accounting, project management and inventory—with little to no IT or staffing investment required by the contractor, equipment manager or site manager.
Investing in GPS fleet tracking software that connect seamlessly to existing ERP solutions facilitates rapid data exchange, transforming streams of information into actionable insights. Fleet managers or dispatchers can analyze the results and make informed decisions to better manage their fleet’s activity.
A Future of Autonomous Vehicles
Automated technologies, like the remote control units and semi-autonomous devices on display at WOC, hold enormous potential for fleets—freeing up valuable time and resources to invest in other areas of the business.
These innovations have the potential to clear the path for enhanced automation: Autonomous vehicles. Some believe autonomous systems are a safer, cheaper way to manage mining and construction operations. Mining sites, especially those in Australia, are usually remote and are already highly regulated, making them a good place to test and train these self-driving machines, according to Herman Herman, director of the National Robotics Engineering Center at Carnegie Mellon University.
“The fully automated mine has long since passed the days of concept and evolved into a reality,” Cole Latimer wrote in Australian Mining in 2015. “If the industry is to survive and grow, on this planet and elsewhere, total automation of many of the processes is the way forward.”
Many fleets are getting a head start on the future of autonomous vehicles by using telematics platforms that offer the connectivity that are at the core of these emerging technologies. WOC gave us a look at what this future looks like – but it’s up to fleets to make it happen.
To learn more about the advantages of GPS fleet tracking, download the free ebook: The 10 Benefits of GPS Fleet Tracking.