In the developed world, we are privileged enough to be able to jokingly (but kind of a little seriously) consider WiFi as a basic human need.
A new announcement from industrial machinery manufacturer, Dewalt, suggests primo WiFi access will soon be par for the course on construction sites too. While Dewalt is an American company, the brand is readily available in Australia, so you’ve likely laid your hands on one of their power tools or machines at some point in your life. While their construction site connectivity infrastructure will be rolled out strictly in America to begin with, if successful it will likely make its way to our shores within the next few years.
A brief history of DeWalt
The company was founded on an invention that set the standard for the industry back in 1923. Before the advent of Raymond DeWalt’s invention—the radial arm saw—hand saws and table saws were the going tech for crosscutting timber. Pushing a long piece of lumber width-ways through a table saw is awkward. But, with a radial arm saw, the piece remains stationary while the blade is pulled through. The invention was such a game changer, there was no real competition for it until the mid seventies and the advent of the mitre saw. And it wasn’t until the early 2000s that it was completely eclipsed by newer innovations.
However, the legacy of the radial arm saw’s former glory lives on in Dewalt’s hunger, as a brand, to be the first and the best with new tech.
WiFi mesh technology: unique to DeWalt
The system has a number of different components which work together to create an intelligent connected web across the site. At the base of their concept is a mesh of WiFi points which they say have been “ruggedised” to withstand a construction environment. This will allow all tradies on site to have reliable, instant connection to each other so you don’t have to traipse all over the site to find the person you’re looking for. A critical gain for larger sites in particular. DeWalt’s vice president of marketing for connected systems, Tony Nicolaidis claims:
“DEWALT understands how vital the building and construction industries are to local and global economies. Leveraging technology, our goal is to provide solutions for gathering in-depth job site data for better decision-making by general contractors and trade contractors, thus enhancing productivity and safety.”
According to DeWalt, the WiFi component is just the first level of a multi-layered, end-to-end system they foresee will solve all sorts of construction site issues. The company will be rolling out an IoT (Internet of Things) platform, which will work in conjunction with their Tool Connect™ inventory management system to give all workers instant access to the location and utilisation of tools and machines as well as relevant data.
DeWalt has their invention locked down with a patent so, unless an Aussie company can come up with something sufficiently ‘same same but different’ or the fortitude to navigate patent licensing negotiations, us Aussies will most likely have to wait until DeWalt is ready to bring their invention here.