Construction Machinery as a Service

02.08.2021 by Annalena Rauen
Sharemac employees on a construction site

Construction companies could improve the utilization of their construction machinery significantly, putting it to optimal use. But to do so they would require a transparent overview of the location and utilization of their machinery and equipment.

From wheel loaders and crawler excavators to vibrating plates, a number of valuable machines and appliances will be in use on construction sites, but they are not always optimally utilized. By sharing, some of the high investment costs could be recouped. Construction companies could be networked with each other to facilitate transparent appliance management. This idea led to the establishment of the startup Sharemac.

Know Where the Excavator Is

The problem is that many construction companies do not know in detail how fully their machines are utilized, precisely where they are and when they will be needed again. The solution is to connect them digitally and make their location and utilization transparent on a cloud platform. To provide it Sharemac developed the Smart Asset Manager (SAM), software that maps the entire process chain on a construction site. The data required is supplied by IoT telematics modules with which construction machinery can be equipped and retrofitted. Telekom’s comprehensive consulting services enabled Sharemac to find the right way to provide the networking and it was able step by step to expand its business model.

Reliably Connected by LTE-M

Sharemac soon made additions to its initial requirement profile for the wireless module, which was to show a machine’s current location. It now wanted to record its operating hours and motor status too and opted for LTE for Machine Type Communication as its data transmission standard. LTE-M, the machine network for the Internet of Things, transmits small amounts of data reliably and energy-efficiently over the cellular network. This wireless standard also provides the bandwidth required for transmitting extensive machine data (see info box).

LTE-M offers these advantages

LTE-M is based on the LTE wireless broadband standard and was specially developed for IoT applications. Its strong points include good building penetration to reach connected devices in warehouses or basements. LTE-M is designed to transmit small to medium-sized data packets and provides the bandwidth and latency required. Thanks to roaming LTE-M can already be used internationally and thereby ensures the full mobility that is especially important for logistics. For more about LTE-M read our Mobile IoT Guide.


 

Sharemac has meanwhile expanded its business model significantly. The current Sharemac IoT telematics box for large machines like excavators or cranes is equipped with an LTE-M SIM card and reads data such as position, operating hours and motor status. Smaller appliances are connected by means of LoRa beacons or NFC/QR/RFID tags. The data is evaluated and processed for the customer using Sharemac’s SAM software. Construction companies are now locating and managing their machinery and equipment directly via the software.

Management Platform for Billing and Rental

The manufacturer-independent software is available for site managers and everyone involved in the construction project. They record operating hours for billing, assign cost centers, organize transportation and receive an overview of the utilization of their machinery. A project calendar provides an overview of current and planned construction projects. A geofence theft alarm is also one of the software’s functions. If a connected forklift truck, telescopic handler or trailer leaves the site outside of working hours the systems sends an automatic alarm to the operator.

This all-inclusive package consisting of an IoT solution and project and equipment management, Sharemac says, is a unique selling proposition. A further objective is to collaborate with manufacturers to integrate the wireless modules into construction machinery.


 

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Annalena Rauen
Annalena Rauen

Marketing Managerin IoT

Back in 2016, Anna worked on IoT topics at Deutsche Telekom for the first time. Since then, she has been supporting customer best practices in a wide range of industries – always focusing on the benefits that the Internet of Things can provide. Her IoT blogposts describe real use cases and the value these innovations add to market players, their business models, and even entire industries.